Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA
A security guard has become the second person to die after a crush at the O2 Academy Brixton last week.
Gabrielle Hutchinson, 23, was working as a contracted security contractor during a Thursday performance of Nigerian Afrobeats singer-songwriter Asake.
Police were called to the scene in south London at around 9.35pm after reports that a large number of people were trying to break in. They found a number of people with “injuries believed to have been caused by a crush”.
Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, from Newham, east London, also died after the incident, and police said a 21-year-old woman remained in critical condition. The three women were in the foyer of the 4,921-seat hall.
Ikumelo, a mother of two, had a degree in nursing and regularly posted on TikTok about parenting an autistic child.
Metropolitan Police Superintendent Ch Colin Wingrove said on Monday: ‘It is devastating news that a second person has lost their life following the events on Thursday. I want to express my sincere condolences to Gabrielle’s family at this incredibly difficult time. »
Detectives from the Met’s Crime Specialist Command are working on the investigation, which the force describes as large and complex. Officers review CCTV and phone footage, speak to witnesses and conduct forensic examinations.
Police cordons outside the site were removed, but the cordons remained in place inside the building as officers continued to examine the scene.
A witness who attended the performance and asked to remain anonymous said that when the crowd was told to leave, they were given no specific instructions on how to do so. “After people left, as people were leaving, they were still having a hard time leaving because there was a massive stampede outside,” they said.
“The side doors were now open, so I was able to exit through the side doors. Thank God I didn’t get caught up in that. It wasn’t until maybe 15, 20 minutes later that I saw the side doors were now open.
“I left and my journey home went well – I wasn’t aware of any of this until I saw it a few hours later – and it made sense to me. You just had more people heading for the main exit, from multiple directions.
An online page has been created for submitting photos, videos and information, and the Met has asked anyone with such equipment to use this facility. There were around 4,000 potential witnesses present at the time of the incident, the Met said.
The force made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, as is the norm after incidents where police were present and members of the public died or were seriously injured.
Sadiq Khan said: “I am devastated by the death of Gabrielle Hutchinson, the second life to be tragically lost following the appalling events of Thursday night in Brixton.
“On behalf of all Londoners, I would like to send my sincere condolences to her family and loved ones at this extremely difficult time. Gabrielle, like Rebecca Ikumelo, had her whole life ahead of her and had every right to come home in safely after his shift at Brixton Academy My thoughts are with everyone affected by this terrible incident.
The Mayor of London urged anyone with information to submit it through the online portal. He said: “City Hall is in close contact with the venue and the authorities in London to ensure nothing like this happens again and I will not rest until we have the answers that everyone affected by the tragic Brixton incident need and deserve.”
In a statement, O2 Academy Brixton said: “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Gabrielle Hutchinson. We continue to be devastated by this tragic situation and fully support the ongoing investigation.”