Club closed after shooting
ZEST nightclub has been officially closed by police following a shooting in which one man died and three others were injured.“Terrifying disorder” among revellers, assaults on police and a gun being allowed into the premises were among the reasons District Judge David Cooper gave for closing the club for 28 days.
ZEST nightclub has been officially closed by police following a shooting in which one man died and three others were injured.
“Terrifying disorder” among revellers, assaults on police and a gun being allowed into the premises were among the reasons District Judge David Cooper gave for closing the club for 28 days.
He said: “It would be wholly irresponsible for me to do other than order its closure in the interests of public safety”.
But club owner, Kerpal Baines said police procedures had caused frustration and panic among clubbers and he blamed the media for exaggerating the incident.
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South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard that at around 2.20am on Saturday a man was found near the club with gunshot wounds. He died a short while later. Three other men were also shot, two went to Colchester Hospital and one went to Ipswich Hospital. Another man is believed to have been stabbed.
Police Inspector Tristan Pepper said the club was immediately sealed off as the murder suspect was believed to have fired the shots inside the club and was likely to be still inside. A gun was later found in a council car park nearby.
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Up to 800 people had attended a special “Funky House and Old School” music event at the club where garage style music was played.
Mr Pepper said Chief Inspector Alan Caton had telephoned club manager Glynn Price before the event stating that police intelligence had suggested that the club could expect trouble.
Mr Baines told the court that security was doubled for the event and CCTV, metal detectors, frisking and other ID procedures were in place.
Mr Pepper said: “Those concerns of Inspector Caton were around the potential disorder and violence surrounding the individuals known to frequent these types of events playing garage music. This garage scene and type of music is associated with violence”.
However Mr Price said the type of music Mr Pepper referred to was “grime” and the club refused to play this type of rap music which included swearing and references to weapons and violence. He said the DJ's and event had been identical to one at the club in December last year where around 300 clubbers attended and at which there were no problems.
The court heard that following the shooting the club took three hours to empty while clubbers were asked for their details as they left.
During this time, frustrations began to mount as clubbers pushed against each other, bottles and glasses were thrown at police and people scrambled to escape over police barriers.
Mr Pepper said it was “an extremely frightening incident for the officers who attended” and that the club's staff were “uncooperative” with police. He added some London clubs had been shut down or told not to hold such events.
Mr Baines said if the club was closed during December his company would collapse and the 45 members of Zest's staff would lose their jobs.
But Mr Cooper said the police had acted in the highest degree in a desperate set of circumstances and the local press had acted in a thoroughly responsible fashion.