Birmingham nightclub shut for good after fatal Boxing Day stabbing on dancefloor

Cody Fisher was stabbed to death on the venue’s dancefloor on Boxing Day  (PA Media)
Cody Fisher was stabbed to death on the venue’s dancefloor on Boxing Day (PA Media)

A Birmingham nightclub where footballer Cody Fisher was fatally stabbed on Boxing Day has been shut down for good after having its operating licence revoked.

West Midlands Police said the club’s ongoing operation posed “terrifying risks” to patrons, amid “blatant” and widespread drug use, and “inadequate” security measures, which had also allowed a knife to enter the venue.

The force previously said there had been “serious management failings” at the Crane venue, when Mr Fisher, 23, was fatally stabbed at the premises in Digbeth, Birmingham, on Boxing Day.

The club’s licence had been suspended for 28 days after an interim meeting held in December, but on Tuesday, a Birmingham City Council licensing committee ordered the licence to be revoked, after an application by the police force.

Police outside the Crane venue in Digbeth following Mr Fisher’s death ((Birmingham Police/PA)
Police outside the Crane venue in Digbeth following Mr Fisher’s death ((Birmingham Police/PA)

The council also continued the existing suspension first handed down on December 30 2022, meaning the club cannot reopen while any appeal against the decision by its operator and licence-holder Digital Arts Media Ltd is considered.

A previous police report documented how a knife alleged to have been used in the attack was found on the dancefloor of the Adderley Street venue.

The report also described how responding officers found a “scene in chaos” and “evidence of drug use”.

Security and club staff were also “oblivious” and “started to clean up the dancefloor” while CPR was still being performed on Mr Fisher.

In a verbal summary of police evidence to the committee, Gary Grant, a barrister representing the force, said the club’s ongoing operation poses “terrifying risks” to patrons, and “grave” outcomes to public safety and the prevention of crime, inside the premises.

“That is why the police ask you to revoke the premises’ licence,” he added, saying the evidence justified such action.

While a licence had been granted to the event-led venue in the summer, it had only been operating since October 2022 before ending up facing the most serious sanction, the committee was told.

In an assessment of what he said was an “inadequate search regime”, Mr Grant added that not only was a knife brought inside the club, but also drugs – while there was “blatant” use of illicit substances, leading to three people needing treatment for an “overdose of one drug or another”.

One female patient, carried out to an ambulance, was said to be “dribbling… and barely breathing” before she was taken to hospital.

Mr Grant said: “Within just over three months, this venue is here facing a summary review, triggered by an individual being murdered inside the club.

“That, in itself, gives rise to rather terrifying risks involved in the operation of this venue.

“On Boxing Day, Cody Fisher was tragically killed inside the venue and in addition, when the police investigated, they discovered what can only be described as blatant and widespread drug use being unchallenged inside the premises.”

He added there was evidence of use and supply of nitrous oxide, known as laughing gas, and “hundreds of discarded drug bags, containing white powder” were found on the dance floor.

“The licence-holder, we say, failed to uphold the highest standards of management operation of this venue,” said Mr Grant.

Searches of patrons were “inconsistent and haphazard”, the venue’s perimeter was “unsecured”, and there was a “general perception this was not a properly-controlled event”.

Nicholas Leviseur, barrister for the licence-holder, submitted revocation of the licence would be “wholly inappropriate in the circumstances”, citing the venue’s overall operational record.

However the three-member committee disagreed, returning with their decision after 90 minutes.

Three men, aged between 18 and 22, have been charged with Mr Fisher’s murder and remanded into custody awaiting trial, set to be held in July.