Northampton

Nightclub crush inquest: Police faced panic and hostility

The two Lava Ignite victims
Image caption Nabila Nanfuka (left) and Laurene-Danielle Jackson died of injuries received during the crush

Police officers faced panic and hostility as they tried to help hundreds of people trapped in a nightclub crush, an inquest has heard.

Nabila Nanfuka, 22, and Laurene-Danielle Jackson, 19, were killed at the Lava and Ignite nightclub in Northampton in October 2011.

PC Steven Neal told he was dragged under a crowd of people.

"I've never seen anything like it in my life; it was absolute carnage," he told the inquest at Northampton County Hall.

"People were screaming, the noise was deafening. It was the screaming - you couldn't hear yourself think.

"I fell on the landing and my utility vest was hanging off. Everyone was panicking. Someone was shouting at me 'do your job, do your job'," he told the inquest.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Police say they faced hostility from the crowds as they tried to help them

The inquest has already heard that people got trapped in the cloakroom area as they rushed to leave the club to catch their coaches home.

A paramedic said she had to stop resuscitating Ms Nanfuka because people were trying to get into her ambulance.

Sasha Tinston said she had to fight to get through the crowd and described the situation as "volatile", saying people were "very emotional."

"In the ambulance I conducted CPR, I put a pad on Nabila, shocked her, and continued CPR.

"Nabila's boyfriend, cousin and friends wanted to know what had happened, they were climbing on the ambulance.

"I had to stop CPR to get people off the ambulance," she said.

Another police officer, PC Daniel Ash, said people were shouting in his face as he tried to move through the crowds, saying things like "what about my coat, what about my mobile phone?".

"There was some hostility towards me, my uniform was grabbed, " he said.

Retired police inspector Barry Sobers told the jury at Northampton County Hall that "people were quite hysterical".

He said the crowd on the stairs was so noisy that he could not hear anything from his control room.

Ms Nanfuka, from Neasden in north London, was studying a leisure and tourism degree at the University of Northampton. She died at Northampton General Hospital on 19 October.

Ms Jackson, from Wembley, was studying psychology at Kingston University and died at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital on 6 November.

Both were found unconscious on the stairs inside the club and died as a result of asphyxia.

No criminal charges have been brought against anyone following the crush.

The inquest is expected to continue into next week.

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