Future of club in doubt after shooting

IPSWICH: The future of a town centre club is in doubt today after a mass brawl which led to a man being shot.

Anthony Bond

IPSWICH: The future of a town centre club is in doubt today after a mass brawl which led to a man being shot.

Five people were left injured following the fight at the Caribbean Club in Woodbridge Road shortly before 4am on Saturday morning.

More than 500 revellers were attending an event called 'Bashy Friday', which included large numbers of people from London.

The promoter of the night, Shane Price, told the Evening Star that the fight was between men from Ipswich and London.

He claimed that trouble began when an Ipswich man was on stage and began taunting those people from London.

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This led to a mass punch-up which also spilled out onto Woodbridge Road and resulted in one man being knocked unconscious and another being smashed in the face with a bottle.

Four people were taken to Ipswich Hospital following the incident. A fifth man took himself to hospital on Saturday with a gun-shot wound.

None of the five, who are all from Ipswich, were seriously injured and they were released from hospital on Saturday night.

At the time of going to press, no arrests had yet been made and investigations are continuing today.

But concern has been raised about the running of the club on Friday night.

Ipswich Borough Council leader Liz Harsant said the incident led to questions about the future of the club - and brought back memories of the shooting of Jimoh Plunkett at Zest nightclub three years ago.

She said: “I am shocked to be honest. It was obviously a very nasty incident that got completely out of hand.

“It must have been absolutely terrifying for residents. I am dismayed. I have got some concerns over how it was run on Friday night.

“It is time for them to look to see how they reconstitute themselves and move into a different building. The building is not fit for purpose anymore so something has got to be done. I think it has got a reputation now, we do not want another Zest on our hands.”

Ipswich Borough Council is currently looking at how much grant money it gives to the Ipswich Caribbean Association.

Mrs Harsant said: “We have not yet made a decision as to whether we release that money and this does not help at all to be honest.”

The section of Woodbridge Road which was closed was reopened on Saturday evening but yesterday the Caribbean Club remained shut while detectives and forensic teams investigated the incident.

Suffolk Constabulary has appealed for those who were at the club to contact them.

A spokeswoman said: “Suffolk police are renewing their appeal for anyone who was at the Caribbean Club on Friday night to contact Ipswich CID as a matter of urgency.

“We would also like to hear from anyone who was in the vicinity of the Caribbean Club on Woodbridge Road between 3am and 5am on Saturday morning to get in touch as they might hold vital information which could assist with this investigation.

“The Caribbean Club remains closed and officers are at the scene with the police pod to provide community reassurance.”

No one was available to comment from the Caribbean Club over the weekend.

Anyone with information in asked to contact Ipswich CID on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

THE fighting in the early hours of Saturday morning involved men from Ipswich against those from London, according to the promoter of the night.

More than 500 people were at the event, called 'Bashy Friday', and this included many from London who had travelled to Ipswich by coach.

Lance Price, the promoter of the event, said the fighting broke out after an act on stage began getting the crowd worked up.

“There was an act on stage from Ipswich. He was doing a performance and it was time for him to come off and other people to go on. The people were asking for the mic and he was throwing abusive words to the people who wanted the mic.

“It broke out into a big punch-up. It was Ipswich boys v London boys.”

FRIDAY night's event at the Caribbean Club was called 'Bashy Friday' and featured a host of DJs and PAs from Ipswich and London.

It was promoted as 'Part 2, The Christmas Extravaganza' and featured a variety of music styles including reggae, rare groove, R&B and funky house.

A poster for the event said that security would be “tight but nice” and the attitude would be “polite”.

Djs performing included Skippa J, Platinum Disco, DJ Natch, New Sounds in Town and Jenny from Da Block.

There was also free cash giveaways on the night.

Tickets for the event cost �8 and �10 and those travelling to the event by coach paid �35 plus a booking fee.

There was a special offer for Ipswich residents, who could get two tickets for the price of one.

RESIDENTS living close to the Caribbean Club were left shocked and frightened by the fight and some are now calling for the club to close.

Many of those who witnessed the brawl live in Tudor Court and Tudor Place - which is accommodation for the over 55s. An alleyway which leads from the back of the club is directly between the two accommodation buildings.

Because of the level of concern by local residents, Suffolk Constabulary placed a mobile police station at the scene on Saturday morning to reassure the community.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said a number of cars pulled up at the club during the incident, which blocked Woodbridge Road.

“There was a massive great racket and all these people were swearing and they came from behind the club,” they said. “There was a group of cars blocking the road and other cars were not able to get past. These cars just pulled up abruptly.

“I was scared and frightened. We are 55 and over in here and this is not the first time that the police have been called. I think the Caribbean Club should be closed.”

Another resident, who also did not want to be identified, said: “We have had issues before with that club. I hope that it will be the nail in the coffin.”

One man heard a group of people arguing. “There must have been about ten of them. I am sure one of the girls said something about shots being fired.”

THE shooting at the Caribbean Club on Saturday morning has brought back painful memories of the killing of a man at Zest nightclub three years ago.

Last week, Suffolk Constabulary renewed appeals for information following the shooting at the venue in Princes Street in the early hours of Saturday, December 9, 2006.

Jimoh Plunkett, 24, from south London, was struck in the chest by one of a number of shots fired at the club. He ran into the street and collapsed. He was taken to Ipswich Hospital but sadly died. Zest has remained closed since that day.

Nobody has been convicted following the murder and a reward of �20,000 remains available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

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