Inquest: Brent women were crushed to death in nightclub stampede in Northampton
- Credit: Archant
Two women from Brent died following a stampede in a nightclub in Northampton caused when revellers rushed to catch their coaches back home, an inquest heard.
Student Nabila Nanfuka, 22, from Neasden, and Laurene-Danielle Jackson, 19, from Wembley, were crushed on the stairway inside Lava and Ignite after people pushed forward creating “a domino effect”.
Jurors at the inquest at Northampton County Hall heard the stampeded happened as dancefloor DJs announced clubbers’ coaches were leaving on October 8, 2011 at about 3.30am.
Miss Nanfuka, who was studying a leisure and tourism degree at the University of Northampton died the day after.
Miss Jackson, was studying psychology at Kingston University and died on November 6.
Before ex-general manager Mr Fitzgerald began his evidence recollecting the night which claimed the lives of two students, the coroner had told him: “You don’t have to answer any questions which may incriminate you.”
Then, during Mr Fitzgerald’s evidence, assistant coroner Belinda Cheney asked: “Once the crush started, why wasn’t the music turned off or the DJ announcements stopped?”
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Ben Compton QC, representing Mr Fitzgerald, said: “I’m going to ask him not to answer that.”
Ms Cheney then asked why he thought the cloakroom had been “so busy that night”, with Mr Compton again issuing the same advice to his client.
Mr Fitzgerald’s barrister later told the 10-member inquest jury: “My legal advice is not to answer any further questions because of the uncertainty of prosecution in this case.”
On the night the manager described the atmosphere at the Wickedest Wickedest skank music event as “great”, although a high turnout made it “very busy”.
However, as dancefloor DJs announced clubbers’ coaches were leaving, Mr Fitzgerald moved upstairs to the landing at about 3.30am where a large crowd was trying to get down the stairs to the exit.
He said: “I was trying to make people slow down and the pressure was great.
“I brought up additional doormen and restrained the crowd to some degree, at the top (of the stairs).
“We were concerned someone would have an accident.
“I got moved by the crowd.”
He described trying to “talk to them”, and “calm them” but ended up “getting completely stuck by the wall”.
In the chaotic scenes, the crush developed killing the two women and injuring 28 people.
The 10-member jury heard police CCTV analysis showed as many as 1,687 people were in the club.
A police investigation also discovered that the clicker devices used by door staff to take an accurate headcounts were found “reset to zero”.
The club has since closed down.
A verdict is expected today.