Met denies it wants to shut down O2 Academy Brixton as council mulls licence decision

The Met has denied it wants to shut down the O2 Academy Brixton despite trying to stop the venue’s current operator from continuing to run it.

Gerald Gouriet KC, representing the Met at a council licensing hearing at Lambeth Town Hall, said police simply believed that Academy Music Group (AMG) should not operate the 4,900 capacity venue.

The O2 Academy Brixton has been shut since December last year after two people died in a fatal crowd crush outside an Asake gig.

Gabrielle Hutchinson, 23, a security worker, and mum-of-two Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, a nursing graduate, died from injuries they sustained in the incident. A 21-year-old woman injured on the night remains in a serious condition in hospital.

Speaking yesterday, the second day of a two-day licensing hearing to determine whether AMG should be allowed to reopen the O2 Academy Brixton, Mr Gouriet KC said: “The police do not wish to close the Academy. That’s simply not the case. The police have brought a review of the licence because they think the Academy Music Group shouldn’t be the licensee.

“That’s what was being discussed this morning in closed session. I hope no one carries from this room that the police are trying to shut down the academy.”

AMG, whose licence to operate the O2 Academy Brixton is currently suspended, has applied for permission to reopen the venue. It claims it has beefed up security and health and safety at the vanue following the fatal incident in December 2022.

The Met has applied for AMG to be stripped of its licence to operate the venue. If this was granted, the O2 Academy Brixton would in practice remain closed indefinitely unless a new operator came forward to run the venue.

A Lambeth council licensing committee will announce its decision on both applications in the coming days.

The council’s own licensing team has said it supports the reopening of the vanue based on new security and health and safety measures that AMG has said it will put in place.

Almost all of the Met’s case against AMG was heard in private, with the public and press banned from attending. This is because there is an ongoing police investigation into the incident in December 2022, which could be prejudiced by the disclosure of evidence to the public.

Representing AMG, Philip Kolvin KC read a list of 29 reasons that supported the company being allowed to reopen the music venue.

These included the fact that AMG had never previously had a death at a venue it ran, had never had a licence suspended before and that it had made changes to avoid a repetition of an incident like that which took place on December 15, 2022, occurring again.

Mr Kolvin KC added: “My client is saddened that the Met view them[selves] as at loggerheads with us but we are not at loggerheads with them. The door is open when the Met choose to step through it.”

Pictured top: The morning after the fatal crowd crush in December last year (Picture: PA)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.