Police have released the first pictures of a woman who died two days after sustaining injuries in a crowd surge outside a concert in south London.
Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, was one of three people critically injured after a crush at a show by Nigerian artist Asake at the O2 Academy in Brixton on Thursday. Some fans had attempted to gain entry to the venue without tickets, causing security guards to lose control of the crowds.
The Metropolitan Police said Ms Ikumelo, from Newham, east London, had died in hospital on Saturday, while two other women, aged 21 and 23, remained in a critical condition.
The family of Ms Ikumelo paid tribute to her “care, kindness and love”. In a statement released through police, relatives said: “Rebecca was a graduate of nursing. She was an adorable mother of two children who loved working with kids.
“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’.”
Tributes to Ms Ikumelo flooded social media after the police statement. One relative, Temitope Olodo, paid tribute to the death of his “favourite niece”.
On Facebook, he wrote: “Today my favourite niece, Rebecca Tosin Ikumelo, died from injuries sustained from the Asake concert saga... O Tosin! You are so full of life and very protective of me. You have a smile that brightens up the room! I am so sad.”
Several others posted messages, including author Toni Tone, who wrote: “She was a beautiful woman who radiated positive energy and was dedicated to being the best version of herself for her kids. She also did so much to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorder.”
Ms Ikumelo was the mother of an autistic boy and a younger daughter. She told the Daily Mirror earlier this year that she left work as a nursing associate to care for her son when he was diagnosed in 2020 shortly around the age he was due to start school.
She shared advice for parents on raising an autistic child on social media platforms including YouTube and TikTok, gaining more than 13,000 followers on the latter.
Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi criticised the safety measures at the Brixton venue, saying: “It is very clear ticketing and security procedures have not performed as they should have for this incident to have occurred.”
On Saturday, Ms Eshalomi added: “I visited the site this morning and I’ve been dreading this news ever since the incident and hoping it would never never come.
“My thoughts and prayers to Rebecca Ikumelo’s family and friends. Such a tragic loss of a young 33-year-old with so much life ahead of her. My prayers to the other two women who remain in a critical condition.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan also shared a tribute to Ms Ikumelo, and said City Hall was in contact with venues and authorities across London “to ensure nothing like this happens again”.
“I am heartbroken by the tragic death of Rebecca Ikumelo – who has very sadly died following the awful events on Thursday night in Brixton,” he tweeted. “Rebecca had her whole life ahead of her and on behalf of all Londoners, I would like to extend my condolences to her family and loved ones.
“My thoughts remain with everyone affected by this dreadful incident. It’s vital that the investigation into what happened concludes as soon as possible.”
Asake has said he is “devastated” and “overwhelmed with grief” over the death of Ms Ikumelo. In a post on Instagram, he said he had spoken to the 33-year-old’s family and will continue to do so.
The incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, a standard practice following incidents where police have been in attendance and members of the public have been seriously injured.
Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove, policing commander for Lambeth and Southwark, said an “urgent investigation” was under way. Speaking at the scene on Friday, Ch Supt Wingrove said: “I’d like to extend my sympathies to all those who have been affected. Having seen some of the really upsetting images on social media, our thoughts are with them.”
Scotland Yard previously said that a woman had been arrested for assaulting an officer over the incident, and that investigators were looking at footage on social media and from body cams.
“We are working incredibly closely with our partners and community members and would like to thank them for their support so far in the investigation,” Ch Supt Wingrove said. “We would also like to thank people for coming forward with information.
“We have set up an online page for the submission of photos and videos. There were around 4,000 potential witnesses present at the time of this incident and we want to urge any members of the public with information to come forward.
“We need your information as we try to establish what happened as quickly as we can.”
The Metropolitan Police said its specialist officers are supporting Ms Ikumelo’s family. Post-mortem tests will be carried out on Sunday.