Shut down Croydon nightclub 12-20 allowed man to walk in and out of Tim Westwood gig with knife

Croydon Guardian: The 12-20 club in Crown Hill, Croydon The 12-20 club in Crown Hill, Croydon

A nightclub ordered to close yesterday had allowed someone to walk in and out with a knife in full view without being stopped by door staff.

The decision to revoke the licence of the 12-20 club - formerly known as Shooshh - was made by Croydon Council’s licensing sub-committee on Monday who cited growing violent disorder at the venue as one of the main reasons to take away its licence.

A 26-year-old man was stabbed at a Tim Westwood club night in the early hours of Easter Monday on April 21 which prompted an application from the police to close the premises down.

In a shocking revelation, Gary Grant, a lawyer acting on behalf of Croydon police, told the hearing that CCTV footage showed a man carrying a knife in and out of the club in full view of the cameras but it did not get picked up by staff.

On the same night a mass brawl took place inside the club, in Crown Hill, Croydon town centre.

About 20 men were swinging belts at each other which then spilled out onto the street.

One man has been charged in connection with the stabbing, where the victim suffered a punctured lung. Two other men have been charged in relation to the violent disorder.

In the licensing hearing, Gary Grant, acting on behalf of Croydon police, said the management of the club was woeful and incompetent making reference to the club’s owner Luke Mayle.

He said those associated with gangs and violent crime targeted the club as they knew it was a weak link.

When reviewing the CCTV footage from the incident, police found "many known violent criminals" were at the club and said it highlighted the door staff had no control over entry and exit of customers.

Questions marks were raised over the door staff with Mr Grant referencing a report compiled by licensing officer Stephen Moore.

Mr Moore visited the club days before the stabbing and said the door crew were dressed up in combat fatigues and body armour, something he had not seen in Croydon for seven years.

Club owner Luke Mayle blamed the security team for letting the incidents occur.

He said: "The blame lies with the security in my honest opinion. It their responsibility to search people and they failed to do that.

"It is regrettable what happened as we had checks in place such as extra door staff."

In the club’s defence, David Dadds, representing the venue, said police visited the area an hour before the stabbing occurred but did not sense any trouble was brewing.

The officers said a revisit needed to be made before the end of May.

Mr Dadds also said police failed to provide Mr Mayle with enough intelligence when the risk assessment was compiled on the Tim Westwood gig.

He said someone had been stabbed at a gig in Hounslow and questioned why the police did not raise the event to high risk instead of medium risk.

It is expected Mr Mayle will appeal the decision but the club has to remain closed for the time being.

After the case, Chief Inspector Duncan Slade said he took no pleasure in closing the club down.

He said: "We do not like closing down licensed premises. Where, however, we uncover examples of management which fall as far below those required as in this case, we are duty bound to bring these to the attention of the Licensing Authority.

"Given the serious consequences of these failures in this case, we took the view that revocation was justified and the Licensing Authority agreed."

Jetro Lopes, of Lancing Road, Croydon was charged with attempted GBH with intent, violent disorder and possession of an offensive weapon on 21 April.

Alex Domingo, 23, of Smock Walk, Croydon was charged with assault, violent disorder and possession of cannabis on 7 May.

Alfie Gillam, 23, of Houlder Crescent, Croydon was charged with violent disorder on 9 May.

A Crown Court date is yet to be set for all three defendants.


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