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NIGHT CLUBBED

26-04-2007

Birmingham’s £5 million superclub Oceana in Hurst Street has been issued with a “severe warning” after a clubber died on the premises - and has been forced to sack it’s head bouncer. Edward Cameron reports from the city’s licensing committee.

It’s one of Birmingham’s newest nightspots, and was launched in a blizzard publicity last November - but already Oceana, has had a rap over the knuckles and sacked its “premises supervisor” after a security bungle led to a clubber’s death.

On Tuesday West Midlands Police persuaded councillors on Birmingham's licensing panel to impose tough new controls on the venue - which is part of a national chain and has a "sister" club in Wolverhampton..

Officers from Steelhouse Lane said they had repeatedly had to intervene following fights and reports of drunken behaviour.

But it was the tragedy of February 3 which led to the club stripping Ian Knight of his role as premises supervisor (ie chief bouncer) - a move the police would have demanded if Oceana hadn’t done it themselves.

The panel heard how at half past midnight a man was thrown out of the club by security staff through the rear fire exit. But the exit led into a locked car park, leaving the man no way out but to climb over the security fencing.

As he tried to do so he fell, hit his head and died from his injuries.

As PC Abdool Rohoman put it: “The fire exit should only be used in a serious incident, possible life or death. To eject someone into a secure car park where there is no means of escape cannot be justified.”

Now the club has to implement a laundry list of procedures to make sure it will never happen again, including having different sounding alarms on all the fire doors and having extra personal licence holders (ie extra bouncers) on site

The police added that they considered the 11 points were proportional because several meetings had already taken place with Ian Knight and the club’s owners.

The police praised the owners for replacing Knight ahead of the decision and the licensing panel gave them a ‘severe reprimand’ - which we think is a polite way of saying “a complete and utter bollocking”.

Best and worst nightclubs in the West Midlands - past and present? Go on your know you want to. Join the Mightclubs thread in the Arts and Music Section of our messageboard.

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