Repeated DJ announcements that people should leave a nightclub was “the most significant factor” in the deaths of two students in a crush, says a jury.
Clubbers were urged to vacate the building or risk missing their coaches as they were told messages including “all hotels are booked up, you’ll get left behind” and “the driver is … going to leave you”.
Revellers clambered over each other to escape the Lava and Ignite venue in Northampton as more than a dozen announcements were made between 3.10am and 3.50am on 19 October, 2011.
There was a log-jam of people rushing for doors as coaches came to collect clubbers from the Wickedest Wickedest R’n’B event and take them home, an inquest heard.
Amid “manic” scenes, Nabila Nanfuka, 22, and Laurene-Danielle Jackson, 19, both from London, were killed.
Both were found unconscious inside the club with Ms Nanfuka’s cause of death given as traumatic asphyxia and Ms Jackson as cerebral ischaemia – a lack of blood flow to the brain – and traumatic asphyxia.
Around 1,600 people were at the venue and cloakroom staff stopped taking coats and bags, so clubbers threw their belongings over the counter, and many items were not properly ticketed, the inquest heard.
Some items took up to 10 minutes to get back at the end of the night, assistant coroner Belinda Cheney said.
The foreman of the jury said: “We believe the safe exit from the club was not adequately considered by the promoters and the club.”
She said 14 announcements were made in 30 minutes and this was “the most significant factor that caused the overcrowding in the vestibule and the crush on the stairs”.
A fire alarm also went off at 3.49am which added to the number of people trying to leave with one witness saying revellers were “left screaming, crying and moaning”.
Ms Cheney said she hoped club promoters and venues would “learn lessons from this tragedy”, as she reached a narrative verdict for the deaths.
The Crown Prosecution Service previously determined there would be no criminal charges brought against anyone following the incident.
Source: Sky News