Factory fight: Manchester bouncers sacked over assault

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Media caption,
Manchester club bouncer fight "left man with brain bleed"

Bouncers from Manchester's Factory 251 nightclub have been sacked after an 18-year-old rugby league player was assaulted outside the club.

St Helens academy player Joe Sharratt suffered a serious head injury and is in a stable condition in hospital.

His mother Jane Sharratt told the BBC that he had a bleed on the brain but was now "sitting up and talking".

Video footage shows Mr Sharratt being thrown to the ground before door staff repeatedly punch his friend.

Greater Manchester Police has appealed for witnesses to the attack at 03:20 GMT on Sunday. It has also asked Manchester City Council to carry out an expedited review and to suspend the nightclub's licence.

Factory said it "immediately terminated the service contract" with the security contractor Professional Security and would be closed on Monday night.

The security contractor also confirmed that it has sacked the staff involved.

Image source, St Helens
Image caption,
Joe Sharratt played just hours earlier for Lancashire Academy against Australian Schoolboys

Mr Sharratt's friend Leon Cooper, 18, can be seen getting punched several times in the footage.

The pharmacy student at Manchester University said they were escorted out of the club following a "pushing" incident inside.

He said he became involved in swearing with one of the bouncers before one of the door staff ran at Mr Sharratt, and then several bouncers "started jumping on" him.

Describing the attack, he said: "I tried to help him but they were just hitting me.

"I wasn't trying to attack them...I was just trying to get to my mate."

He added: "I didn't even realise how many times I had been hit.

"You can see in the video I'm just trying to get to him [Mr Sharratt] and they're whacking me even though I'm not punching them at all."

He said he had suffered bruising to the side of his body, swelling to his head and had coughed up blood since the attack.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Factory 251 nightclub which is housed in the former HQ of Factory Records

A statement on the security company's website stated: "We can confirm that Professional Security has terminated the contracts of all of the security personnel involved in this incident.

"We are also working closely with the local authorities, police, and the Security Industry Authority to ensure that appropriate action is taken swiftly against all of these door supervisors."

The company said it was "appalled by the behaviour of the door supervisors...which contradicts everything that we strive to achieve".

In a damning report to the city council's licensing committee, police stated there were concerns about "serious disorder" and "extreme violence", and were concerned nobody at the club contacted police.

It states the way the club dealt with the incident pointed towards a "lack of duty of care".

The report goes on to say a member of the public was "left with a bleed on the brain" that could have "ended up as a fatality" and adds: "The fact that the premises didn't bother to contact the police is extremely concerning.

"This would suggest either a worrying level of incompetence at best or, more seriously, a possible attempt to cover up the incident."

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Mr Sharratt had played for Lancashire Academy against Australian Schoolboys just hours earlier and has been tipped to represent England Youth.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Sharratt's parents, Jane and Brian, said their son was recovering and "making a few jokes...which is a really good sign".

They said Joe was a "lovely lad" and getting the call about the incident was "probably the worst nightmare".

A St Helens spokesman said: "Joe is of impeccable character and is an upstanding member of our Academy system.

"He is a top academic achiever with a very bright future ahead of him alongside his rugby league prowess."

Factory, which opened in 2010, said: "Having viewed CCTV footage and the video circulating on social media, we can only say that we are shocked by what we have seen."

The Princess Street club is housed in what was once the headquarters of the Factory Records label that represented Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays and The Hacienda nightclub.

Ch Insp Cherie Buttle said: "With a mobile phone at everyone's fingertips, filming something is often the first thing people think to do but please, pass this on to us so we can fully investigate this matter."

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