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Martin Guttridge-Hewitt
19 December 2022, 12:13

Two people die, one remains in critical condition, following crowd crush at O2 Academy Brixton

Authorities have launched a website for public videos, photos and information to be submitted

Brixton Academy Asake crowd crush

Update 19/12/2022 5 30 PM: A second person, Gaby Hutchinson, 23, has died after being injured in the crush at London's O2 Academy Brixton on Thursday, BBC News reports. Hutchinson was working as a security contractor on the night, and died in hospital in the early hours of Monday, 19th December. A 21-year-old woman remains in a critical condition in hospital.

A woman has died following a suspected crowd crush at London's O2 Academy Brixton on Thursday (15th December), which left a total of eight people in hospital, two of whom remain in critical condition. 

33-year-old Rebecca Ikumelo, a mother of two from Newham, east London, died as a result of injuries sustained when a "large number of people" reportedly attempted to force entry into the venue during the final night of a sold-out, three-night residency by Afro-pop star Asake.

Ms Ikumelo's family released a statement via the Met, describing her as an "adorable mother of two children who loved working with kids", going on to say she was "well respected in the family for her care, kindness, and love."

"Her parents call her Tosin (short for Oluwatosin) meaning 'Lord Is Worthy'," they added. 

Academy Music Group, which owns and operates the Brixton venue, also published a statement: "We send our heartfelt condolences to Rebecca's family and friends, and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this devastating news at this extremely difficult time."

Metropolitan police officers were alerted to the rapidly escalating situation at around 9 35 PM on Thursday 15th December, with first responders arriving on the scene within minutes. Videos have been widely circulated on social media, depicting a larger than expected crowd forming outside the venue, stretching from the building's entrance down the road outside. 

In a statement, the Met police said: “Officers, London Ambulance Service (LAS) and the London Fire Brigade attended and found a number of people with injuries believed to have been caused by crushing.”

An investigation into the incident is ongoing, and a web page has been launched for the public to submit information, relevant videos and images that may help inquiries.

"I am overwhelmed with grief and could never have imagined anything like this happening," Asake said in a Twitter post on Saturday. The artist had already made a statement in advance of the show asking fans not to come unless they had a ticket. "My team and I are still awaiting the full debrief back from the venue management and the police to determine what exactly led to all the disruption caused and ultimately to Rebecca's passing."

Florence Eshalomi, Labour MP for Vauxhall, said in a statement posted on Twitter: “It is very clear ticketing and security procedures have not performed as they should have for this incident to have occurred.

“We need answers about exactly how this happened and safeguards against it in future. This will be fully investigated by Specialist Crime detectives, supported by Lambeth Council’s Licensing Unit.”

Earlier this year, DJ Mag published a feature looking at how organisers can make venues and events safer and protect attendees from crowd crushes, published in the wake of 2021's Astroworld Festival tragedy.

Image: (C) Luke Dyson & Sophie Harbinson