Cody Fisher stab death nightclub loses licenceon January 24, 2023 at 7:11 pm

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Birmingham City Council acts after police cite “terrifying risks” at the venue where Cody Fisher died.

Cody FisherImage source, Stratford Town

A nightclub where a footballer was stabbed to death on the dance floor has lost its licence amid fears it posed “terrifying” risks to public safety.

Cody Fisher was killed at the Crane venue in Digbeth, Birmingham, on Boxing Day (26 December).

Police had asked the council to revoke the licence permanently, citing drugs misuse as well as security concerns.

On the night Mr Fisher died, three people needed medical help due to drugs, police told a licensing hearing.

Evidence from several bodies was considered by a licensing committee on Tuesday.

A licence suspension which came into force on 30 December remains in place pending any appeal against the finding to revoke.

Representations on behalf of the club were held in private but ahead of the council’s decision, a spokesperson had said revoking the licence would be “wholly inappropriate”.

Three men have been charged with murdering 23-year-old Mr Fisher, a sports coach from Redditch, Worcestershire, who played for non-league Stratford Town.

Gary Grant, representing the West Midlands force in a public portion of Tuesday’s hearing, urged councillors to pull the licence, saying the venue posed a “grave risk” to public safety and also of crime and disorder.

Door searches were “inconsistent or haphazard”, he told the committee, and, citing bags of white powder, added there was “blatant and widespread” use of drugs.

The meeting heard that video footage from the night in question showed a person inhaling from a balloon believed to contain nitrous oxide, regardless of a police presence that emerged following the stabbing.

Council enforcement officer Shaid Ali told members the terms of the licence required the venue to have a zero-tolerance policy on drugs, adding “it’s quite clear its policy wasn’t being enforced”.

A police van outside The Crane nightclub

Before the committee passed judgment, barrister Nicholas Leviseur for Damian Eston, director of Digital Arts Media Ltd which operated Crane, told the hearing the revocation of the licence was “wholly inappropriate in this case”.

He said he would not comment further on “what led to the tragic loss” of Mr Fisher as his client’s evidence had been set out in private sessions.

Mr Grant said checks on CCTV from Boxing Day revealed three customers “had to be carried out by friends or staff” because of drug use, including a woman who was described as “dribbling out of her mouth, barely breathing”.

An ambulance was required and the woman was taken to hospital, adding to the perception “this was not a properly controlled event”, he explained.

“[It was] so blatant, that management and security showed a reckless blind eye or simply didn’t care what was going on in their venue,” Mr Grant stated.

Digbeth landlord Oval Real Estates, and venue Lab 11, joined environmental health and trading standards in making submissions to the council against Crane. One city councillor had said while he opposed its closure there should be strong conditions placed on the venue.

The club began operating on 15 October after being granted a licence in June, the hearing was told.

“Within just three months this venue is facing a summary review triggered by” Mr Fisher’s death, said Mr Grant, expressing concerns of “rather terrifying risks in the operation of this venue”.

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