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Family of security guard killed in music venue crush planning legal action

The family of a security guard killed in a crush outside a south London music venue is planning legal action to “find out the truth”.

Lawyers for relatives of Gabrielle Hutchinson have sent letters before action to the owner of the Brixton O2 Academy, Academy Music Group (AMG) Limited, as well as security firms County Enforcement Limited and AP (ASP) Security Limited as they claim they have faced a wall of silence.

Gaby, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, were killed when fans without tickets tried to force their way into a show by Nigerian artist Asake at the venue on December 15 2022.

Gaby’s mother Christine Hutchinson said: “We will never let this rest. We are determined to get answers to ensure there are learnings from this and that nobody else attending or working in a similar environment has to endure what we have over the past 14 months.

Brixton O2 Academy incident
Rebecca Ikumelo died when crowds surged into the O2 Brixton Academy in December 2022 (Metropolitan Police/PA)

“We have so many unanswered questions and we hope that by taking this action we can find out the truth and hold those who are responsible to account.

“At no point since Gaby’s death has anybody from Academy Music met us to discuss what happened or asked our thoughts on safety measures to be introduced to protect the public from this happening again.  As a family, we are not reassured that a tragedy like this will not happen again.”

The venue was closed in the wake of the crush but was given permission to reopen late last year. It will start hosting gigs again in April.

About 1,000 people were outside the venue on the night the pair were killed and police found “large-scale disorder” with crowds eventually pushing the doors open.

When the doors were breached the crowd poured into the lobby towards the auditorium and surged over people who had fallen to the floor.

AMG said it had developed new safety measures at the venue in the wake of the tragedy, including stronger doors, a better queuing system and more secure ticketing.

Brixton O2 Academy incident
The scene outside the venue on the morning after the crush (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The family’s solicitor Patrick Maguire said: “Fifteen months on from the incident, the family has been met with a wall of silence from those corporations who they feel have caused and contributed to the death of their beloved Gabrielle.

“We have now initiated a civil case against those in charge of the venue and those who were operating the security arrangements on that fateful evening.

“The family are seeking accountability from those who failed in their duty to protect Gaby and others who were killed and injured as a result of the shambolic and chaotic security procedures in place that night.”