Crane nightclub in Digbeth 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 Tuesday’s (24 January) Birmingham City Council Licensing Committee meeting.
The Birmingham city centre club had its licence revoked at the hearing following the death of Cody Fisher who was stabbed on the premises. 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.
Footage showed ‘suspected overdoses at club’
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.”
‘No medical cover’
Shaid Ali, a licensing officer at the council, claimed Crane was not enforcing their own zero drugs policy and had “refused to increase” medical cover at their events.
Mr Ali told the meeting he contacted RTC Medical Solutions, a private medical events company that supplied coverage to Crane, via an anonymous tip-off. The company told Mr Ali the last event it provided assistance was 3 December.
The company had recommended four first responders and an ambulance to attend the venue, but Damian Eston, the owner of Crane, requested only two first responders to be stationed at the nightclub.
RTC Medical Solutions had “repeated on several occasions by email, phone and face to face” the need for coverage to be increased, and said the level of medical cover in their opinion was “unsafe for them to continue”.