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Ryan Passey murder: Stourbridge Chicago's nightclub was 'negligent', say family of stab victim

By Richard Guttridge | Stourbridge | News | Published:

The family of a man who was murdered at a nightclub have accused the venue of being 'negligent' on the night he died - as it was allowed to re-open by licensing bosses.

Ryan Passey, and police outside Chicago's after the tragedy

Police said the search policy at Chicago's in Stourbridge was 'inadequate' when Ryan Passey, 24, was stabbed.

Detectives said they had seen no evidence from CCTV of anyone being searched entering the club on August 5 but club bosses insisted customers were searched out of view of the cameras.

Chicago's was also criticised by Mr Passey's family for refusing to rule out re-opening before his funeral.

The nightclub has been told it can re-open but ordered to tighten security in the wake of the fatal stabbing and will now have to use metal detection wands to search customers.

MORE: Ryan Passey murder: We’re heartbroken at losing our loving lad

Police said they were not satisfied with the current policy of one in six people being searched.

Concerns were also raised about revellers letting friends into the club through fire exits and people leaving the club and not being searched when they returned.

The High Street was cordoned off after the attack

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Hundreds attend Stourbridge vigil for Ryan Passey

Mr Passey's aunt Sue, who attended a licensing hearing at Dudley Council House alongside his devastated father Adrian, delivered an emotional speech in which she claimed security at the club was not good enough on the night the amateur footballer, from Quarry Bank, was knifed.

She said: "Ryan was only 24 when he lost his life in Chicago's while out with family and friends.

"I believe Chicago's didn't follow their licence on that day and didn't prior to that. I don't believe they were doing any checks.

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"Ryan had never been in trouble with the police and was a passionate footballer. He had just saved enough money to buy his first house.

Ryan Passey, who was aged 24, with his girlfriend Paige Marsh-Roberts, 19

"I also believe Chicago's was negligent in its responsibility, not only to keep Ryan safe but to keep the public safe."

Ms Passey also said the family had been insulted at seeing posters advertising Chicago's as the 'best place to party in town' yards from a tide of floral tributes which were not taken down following the tragedy.

Charles Streeten, acting on behalf of West Midlands Police, said: "The procedures in place were inadequate, in particular in relation to search.

"The police have proposed a series of stringent conditions designed to prevent anything like this happening again.

"One of the big problems police identified was in relation to search. Police viewed two hours of CCTV and didn't see anyone being searched."

Dudley Council's licensing committee approved a number of conditions that the club must follow when it re-opens, at the request of the police.

At least every other customer must be searched with a metal detection wand, fire exits must be alarmed to ensure nobody is sneaking into the club, while a female member of door staff must be on duty at all times to ensure weapons are not 'passed on to girlfriends'.

Drinks will no longer be served in glasses or glass bottles over fears they could be used as weapons.

James Rankin, acting on behalf of Deltic, which owns Chicago's, on High Street, said: "There is a tendency sometimes in moments like these to seek to apportion blame.

"In truth, what happened that night could have happened anywhere.

People attend a vigil for Ryan Passey earlier this month

"I accept with the benefit of hindsight the procedure in place that night were inappropriate. But it was appropriate at the time given there was no history of offences."

Ms Passey was irritated by the Chicago's representatives refusal to confirm they would not re-open before her nephew's funeral. It has not been confirmed when the service will be held as his body has yet to be released by the coroner.

Mr Rankin said: "We have to know a definite date. We can't have it open-ended.

"We can't say to staff you might be able to come in on September 30. We think two weeks is appropriate."

Ms Passey replied: "The coroner stipulates what is happening. The funeral is out of our hands."

Kobe Murray, 19, of The Broadway, Dudley, has been charged with murder and is remanded in custody.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
@RichG_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton

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