New bar planned for Stourbridge nightclub where Ryan Passey was stabbed

A Stourbridge nightclub where an aspiring footballer was tragically stabbed to death two years ago could reopen as a bar.

Ryan Passey died after being stabbed at Chicago's in Stourbridge
Ryan Passey died after being stabbed at Chicago's in Stourbridge

Ryan Passey, 24, died after being stabbed in Chicago's in August 2017.

Ryan Passey

But Justice for Ryan campaigners have revealed that the former nightclub could be converted into a new night-time venue called Soda Lounge. Chicago's closed its doors for good in February 2018, after more than 3,500 people signed a petition calling for the club to close.

Kobe Murray, of The Broadway, Dudley, denied murdering 24-year-old Mr Passey and was cleared of murder and manslaughter by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court.

Mr Murray told the court he had a knife in his hand and 'pushed out' to fend off an attack – accidentally stabbing Mr Passey.

Bosses at Soda Lounge already run a successful bar in Cardiff and said they intend to bring a "casual dining experience to the daytime as well as a vibrant bar to the evening". They say they are aware of the history at the venue and will ensure they deliver "a safe and welcoming environment".

Respect

A spokesman for the Justice for Ryan campaign group, posted on Facebook: "The building will always be the place in our memory where our Ryan was brutally murdered and that can never change.

"In our discussions with the new owner we have asked to respect Ryan’s memory and the family’s wishes not to include a dance floor and we have also requested that they operate and maintain strict security and safety checks for all customers.

"We would not want any other family to lose their loved one as we did.

"We have also requested that a permanent memorial plaque be installed outside the building, so people can still remember Ryan and lay flowers, candles etc on special occasions such as his birthday, Christmas etc.

"We would of course have preferred that the building be used for more community or charity purposes, something that would impact positively on our local community.

"Ultimately, we understand that one person is responsible for Ryan’s death – and that is the person who stabbed him."

They added: "We can never set foot in the building and it will be down to individual people’s choice to choose if they wish to attend the new venue or not. We have put forward our concerns to the new owners and ultimately it is now theirs and Dudley Council’s choice.

"We would not want to see any new business fail and we do not hold any grudge against the new owners, but we will always find it difficult and painful seeing any type of bar or club reopen on this site, given we are still fighting for Justice For Ryan."

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