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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Alahna Kindred

Inside crowd 'carnage' at O2 Academy Brixton as hero worker describes 'incensed' stampede

A hero who was working at a concert where a crowd surge left two dead has described how he rescued two from a stampede of people into the venue.

Mark, not their real name, was working at the O2 Academy in Brixton, South London on Thursday night for the Asake concert.

It is unclear why there was a large crowd outside the venue, but the chaos led to two people dying in hospital, and one who is still in critical condition.

The Afrobeats artist had been booked to play at the venue on Sunday, Monday and Thursday - with the first two shows going ahead without incident.

Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, died in hospital (Metropolitan Police / SWNS)
Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, died following an incident at the O2 Academy in Brixton (Metropolitan Police / SWNS)

Mark described the moment things started to escalate when the crowd became "uncontrollable" and how he pulled two women from the sea of people who had breached the front door.

Mark, who had worked the same show on Sunday and Monday, told The Mirror: "All three days were set up the same in regards to crowd control.

"The Sunday, Monday and Thursday were all replications.

"I would have been at the main entrance near the Nandos and at around 9.30pm there were shouts to close the front doors, and that is the protocol for a security risk.

Police officers outside Brixton O2 Academy (PA)

"When I looked down I saw about 300 people running up the road and that is grounds enough to secure the venue and it is standard to shut the doors.

"Anybody coming after, they wouldn't have seen that part. They would have just seen loads of people just outside the door. They came running up.

"Those saying 'the barriers were moved to kettle us' is not what happened. The barriers were not moved."

Mark also said that the number of people grew rapidly and the crowd got out of hand.

Gaby Hutchinson was named as the second victim (Metropolitan Police / SWNS)

He said: "Because of the crowd disorder, the numbers grew quite rapidly.

"There was agitation at the doors and we explained [to the crowds] that we can't check you all out we need to try and get some order.

"Then it started becoming 'we're getting in'. At this time there was hostility towards security and it wasn't uncontrollable but it was growing fast.

"The dog handlers were pretty much swamped. The dog handlers aren't allowed to take off the muzzles but they can bark and get crowd control.

"There are so many of them and the dogs were then given access into the building to be placed in the holding area and they came to the inside of the front doors to act as a deterrent.

"The crowd were incited or incensed. They appeared to have one goal - to gain access."

Mark said he went into the building and ended up on the other side of the front doors.

He said: "They are fighting to get the doors open, and I got inside and could see what was transpiring from behind the doors.

"I thought to myself 'if these doors open people are going to get seriously hurt'".

Police are still investigating the circumstances of what happened (AFP via Getty Images)

Security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, and mum-of-two Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, were recently named as the two who died after being rushed to hospital.

A second woman, 21, remains in critical condition in the hospital.

Mark has described it as a "senseless loss of life".

Mark said: "You try and rewind and see what went well and what didn't go well - but I don't know why they were running up the road.

"It's really sad and quite traumatising. I personally pulled two people out of the crowd. They were both females and fell in front of me.

"I literally grabbed one by the arm and pulled her out of the crowd. I scooped down and pulled her up and literally pushed her to one side.

"And she was like 'thank you, thank you, I couldn't breathe'. I don't want to think about what would have happened.

"These people are passing away from multiple injuries. It is a senseless loss of life.

"No one was listening and no one was following instructions. It was destined to be carnage.

One remains in hospital in critical condition (Zuma Press/PA Images)

"When those doors opened it was like water coming through. The doors are like 10 feet wide and it was just nuts, it was crazy.

"The glass was even cracked from the pressure on the doors. Even when it got cracked you would think they might have moved back - they were determined to get in."

Mark described the scene of people rushing through the doors.

He said: "Once those doors opened the flow of people into the building was uncontrollable.

"I saw the breach and I had people running past me - if you trip over, you fall or if you are pushed down then you got a problem.

"People were trampled in the stampede. There was no regard for safety, and they had one goal - to get into the building.

"When the police turned up, they stopped the flow of people in and while clearing people out I could see some getting put into the recovery position and others were getting CPR.

These are the chaotic scenes outside the venue (PA)

"It was just so unnecessary.

"You can't have people running into the venue without being processed and searched."

Distressing footage that was shared online shows a large crowd outside the venue as one clip also showed a police officer pushing a woman down some stairs.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said the force is still trying to establish what happened on Thursday night.

Officers are reviewing CCTV, and phone footage, speaking to witnesses and conducting forensic examinations.

Police have set up an online page for the submission of photos, videos and information has been set up and asked anyone with such material to use that facility.

The police cordons outside the venue have been removed, but cordons remain in place inside the building while officers continue to examine the scene.

Police also said they have made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct - as is standard national practice following all incidents where police have been in attendance and members of the public have died or been seriously injured.

A spokesperson for Ticketmaster said they could not offer a statement while the investigation is ongoing.

A spokesperson for the Brixton O2 Academy said: “O2 Academy Brixton is fully supporting the ongoing police investigation.”

Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove, policing commander for Lambeth and Southwark, said: “It is devastating news that a second person has lost their life following the events on Thursday.

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