Lava Ignite staff 'lost control' before crush death

Staff at a Northampton nightclub where a woman died in a "stampede" had lost control of the premises, police told a licensing panel review.

Northampton Borough Council suspended the licence at Lava Ignite after councillors heard "serious disorder" broke out during an event on Wednesday.

Nabila Nanfuka, 22, of Neasden, north-west London, was crushed to death.

The club's owner, Luminar Leisure, has launched an investigation into the incident.

Eight other people were injured as people rushed to get out of the club. Two are in a critical condition in intensive care at Northampton General hospital.

A member of the event's promotions team has been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

Trapped in lift

University of Northampton leisure and tourism student Miss Nanfuka was taken to hospital where she died soon after her arrival.

Luminar Leisure chief executive Simon Douglas told the licensing panel he was deeply saddened by the death.

He said the firm had launched its own investigation into the incident and was fully co-operating with police and local authorities.

Image caption Nabila Nanfuka was studying leisure and tourism

A solicitor acting for the company told the meeting the firm believed an announcement from the DJ saying that coaches were leaving prompted a crush which led to Miss Nanfuka being killed.

At Northampton's Guildhall, PC David Bryan, licensing officer at Northamptonshire Police, told the council's licensing committee police were at the club in St Peter's Street during the event as there were significant crowds both inside and outside.

The licensing committee heard people panicked due to overcrowding.

He said the force took a call from a group of people who became trapped in a lift.

The situation inside escalated due to the crowds and the club lost control of the premises and capacity, he said.

The event, called DNA Presents Wickedest Wickedest, started at 21:00 BST on Tuesday and was due to go on until 04:00 on Wednesday.

Emergency services were called at 03:37.

One witness, James Adetula, 21, said a "stampede" had begun as people made for the exits when they were told their buses were leaving.

Video appeal

PC Bryan said police had not been made aware of the event, which had been advertised nationally, with revellers coached in from across the UK.

Flyers distributed by organisers wrongly advertised that it was being supported by Northamptonshire Police, he said.

Police refused to comment on the number of people thought to have been in the club but said its capacity was 1,600.

Julie Seddon, Northampton Borough Council's director for environment and culture, said the licensing committee had decided that "due to the severity of the incidents reported, the loss of life and the number of serious injuries, the only viable course of action was to suspend the premises' licence".

She added: "This is an interim decision and a full hearing into the licence will be held within the next 28 days."

Northamptonshire Police has urged anyone who took mobile phone video footage or photographs during the night to upload them via the force's website.

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