Wolverhampton club where man was stabbed will reopen - but with strict new rules
Bosses at a Wolverhampton nightclub denied a reveller at a suspected gang member’s birthday party had been stabbed – and claimed his injuries were instead caused after being shoved into a wheelie bin.
Today Wolverhampton Council’s licensing sub committee held a licence review into Society in Townwell Fold, off Skinner Street, following a large-scale disorder in the early hours of March 24.
The venue had its licence suspended after the incident.
It had notified police of the event, a private birthday party for a known gang member.
Police made a series of recommendations to the owners including having eight door staff working, metal detectors and an invite-only guest list.
But Sgt Steph Reynolds, of Wolverhampton Police, said these recommendations were not adopted and had they been the incident would not have happened.
West Midlands Police put forward a string of recommended extra conditions to be added to Society’s licence which, after negotiation with the nightclub’s representatives, were accepted.
Three knives found
At the hearing on Thursday morning, committee members were told that police were called to a major disorder involving around 50 people.
Barrister James Rankin, representing West Midlands Police, said there had been a stabbing and following a search of the premises found two knives in the smoking area.
A third knife was found on the perimeter of the premises with a neighbouring property and he added that cannisters containing nitrous oxide were discovered strewn across the floor.
Mr Rankin also said upon arrival, police and paramedics were unable to access the premises and had encountered hostility from guests.
The victim, a man in his 30s who was an invited guest, was later taken to hospital for treatment.
But Jake Flanagan, representing Society, said: “We accept the incident happened and we do not under-estimate the gravity of that.
“But police say the victim sustained his injuries after being stabbed but that man has told us that they were caused by him being shoved into a wheelie bin.
“We also say the knives were not found on the premises and they were in fact found on the neighbouring premises, to which the smoking area belongs.”
Mr Flanagan added that the club had already taken action in wake of the “isolated incident” including sacking the general manager on duty that night and replacing the security firm, which had allowed a small number of people not on the guest list in to the party.
He also said that the lack of access for police and paramedics was down to a large number of guests leaving through the one exit to the small area outside causing an obstruction.
The committee said it was satisfied a fight and a stabbing had occurred and that there were serious management failures on the night. But members accepted it was an isolated incident.
Members agreed to impose 10 new conditions on Society’s premises licence including a recognised security firm to be in place at all events, installation of a knife arch at events, stricter search measures on entry, CCTV to cover all areas except toilets and an ID scanner to be introduced.
West Midlands Police were also granted the power of veto of any events raising concerns provided the premises raises issues within 10 days of being notified of an event.
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