Crane nightclub in Digbeth has had its licence revoked following the death of Cody Fisher who was stabbed on the premises.
Birmingham City Council Licensing Committee today (24 January) suspended Crane’s licence to operate as a nightclub.
Councillors voted on Tuesday afternoon to revoke the venue’s licence after the death of Mr Fisher, a 23-year-old player for non-league Stratford Town. He died after being stabbed on the dance floor at the Digbeth venue on Boxing Day.
The decision means that following petitions by West Midlands Police and local businesses, the nightclub is now set to remain closed.
Three men have been charged with Cody’s murder.
Kami Carpenter, aged 21, and Remy Gordon, aged 22, were charged with murder and affray on December 31, 2022.
Reegan Anderson was detained on 12 January in connection with the death of Cody, who was fatally wounded at the Crane club on 26 December.
The club had its licence suspended for 28 days following the tragic incident on Boxing Day.
Police had described “chaotic” scenes of staff clearing drugs from the dancefloor on the night of the stabbing.
Announcing the decision after a seven hour meeting, councillor Diane Donaldson, said: “Following the application for an expedited review made on behalf of the chief officer of West Midlands Police, the subcommittee hereby determines that the licence be revoked and the interim step of suspension imposed.
“The subcommittee meeting of 30th of December 2022, shall remain in place pending the determination of any appeal.
“The subcommittee requires the premises to resubmit the licence holders evidence bundle in its intended redacted form such that it can be published without delay by 13:00 hours at the latest.”
The decision by those sitting on the council’s licensing sub-committee was made following a summary review of Crane’s licence, at the request by West Midlands police, who are investigating the circumstances of the fatal incident. Crane said it would assist “in every possible way” with the ongoing police investigation.
The club opened on 15 October 2022 after Birmingham city council granted the premise its licence last June. The owner of Crane, Damian Eston, had previously run dance events in Birmingham, including the Electric Carnival.
During the meeting, PC Ben Reader confirmed that West Midlands Police asked for the most serious sanctions, which would be for the club’s licence to be revoked.
Abdul Rohomon, representing Lab 11 – another nightclub in Digbeth – said businesses in the area felt “anguish and anger” at the reputational damage Crane had caused, in particular as Digbeth is undergoing major regeneration.
Crane operated in an environment where public safety was at “grave risk”, West Midlands police said, as evidence about unsafe medical coverage, prolific drug use, and reputational damage was heard during the meeting.
Gary Grant, a barrister acting on behalf of West Midlands police, said the management behind Crane showed a “reckless blind eye to what was going on in their venue or simply didn’t care”.
Mr Grant said a review of the venue’s CCTV showed widespread use of nitrous oxide – otherwise known as laughing gas – within the premises and “hundreds of discarded drug bags” containing white powder.
In particular, the footage showed at least three customers being carried out by friends or staff on suspected overdoses, with one victim described as “dribbling out of her mouth and barely breathing”.
He said: “The licence holder is putting before you how professional their procedures are, how experienced they are, and how well they did on the night.
“Compare and contrast, please, those assertions and the reality, because the reality is that the knife got in, nitrous oxide in commercial canisters got in, and was used to supply others.
“A young man lost his life in this venue. Bearing in mind everything you’ve seen, read – heard both in public and private sessions – may I pose this question to you.
“Will you be comfortable with your son or daughter or loved one, attending the next event at this venue? In fact, if the hypothetical gives you pause for thought and concern, therein lies the answer to this question.”