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Changes made in wake of club killing

PUBLISHED: 16:13 07 August 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

KARTOUCHE'S operations manager Kerpal Bains today extended his deepest sympathies to the family of murdered nightclubber Phil Hoi Phat Lui who was attacked inside the Ipswich venue before being set upon outside.

KARTOUCHE'S operations manager Kerpal Bains today extended his deepest sympathies to the family of murdered nightclubber Phil Hoi Phat Lui who was attacked inside the Ipswich venue before being set upon outside.

He spoke out after former Suffolk bouncer Lewis Carroll was convicted of murder and sentenced to life behind bars.

"It's very unfortunate for a family to lose someone so young and I'm sure everybody, from the police to the authorities and other managers in town must be equally upset for the family. Our deepest sympathies go out to them," he said.

Mr Bains said it was "regrettable" that none of his staff had called police or an ambulance after the initial attack on Mr Lui inside the club, or after Steven Lowe's assault on nightclubber John Catlow earlier at the venue on August 14, last year.

But he said – from the information he had been given by security staff and from CCTV footage –Mr Lui had been "brought downstairs, recovered quickly and just wanted to get away from the building" after the attack inside the club.

During the trial it emerged that Carroll followed his 24-year-old victim from Kartouche on to the street as he hobbled away on the shoulder of his injured friend Mr Catlow.

Outside the club, Carroll continued the attack, biting off part of Mr Lui's nose.

Mr Bains said of the way club doorstaff handled the events of that night: "I think that in the event of reviewing the situation, we had done everything we could at the time."

As a company, Kartouche had gone "beyond what was required by law" in terms of security procedures already in place, he said.

"The people that work with me have all been trained and in the business for a long time."

Mr Bains added that though the attack on Mr Lui, who grew up in Felixstowe, had started inside the club, it had continued down the road "out of view of security and management."

None of his staff had been disciplined as a result of events that took place inside Kartouche on the day of the killing, he confirmed, though all had been questioned and some changes had been made.

"As a matter of course, everyone has been pulled in and I've personally questioned 95 per cent. Every single incident, of whatever nature, now has to be reported to the duty manager" with the aim of "minimising any future scenarios" that may develop, he said.

"We always try and look to improve any areas we can and create a safe environment for our customers. We want them to have a good, safe evening out. We're there to serve our customers. Our livelihood and business depend on it."

Mr Bains, who is chairman of Clubwatch (a group linking nightspots across Ipswich), said police and entertainment venues were communicating better as a result of the terrible events of last summer.

"There were three incidents around that time that sent alarm bells ringing," he said of violence in Ipswich last year.

"Everyone had to get around the table and deal with it and they did. Everyone got their heads together to make sure things improved."

He said Ipswich Borough Council had been slow to adopt a door registration scheme for bouncers in contrast to towns in neighbouring counties that had been much quicker in adopting regulations.

Vetting doorstaff would, he said: "Push the thuggery out of our industry."

A year after the fatal attack which started in the Prince's Street club, Ipswich was "not just a safer place but a more alert of itself," Mr Bains said.

"In the long term, prospects are good but we all have to keep our fingers on the button. We just have to be more professional."

Carroll, 31, of Crocus Close, was jailed for life for Mr Lui's murder. Lowe, 24, of Spring Road, Ipswich, was sentenced to 15 months in jail for an assault he admitted on Mr Catlow. Lowe – who was cleared of Mr Lui's murder and of manslaughter – should be out of prison in October because of time he has already served on remand.

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