Security guards at Brixton Academy regularly took bribes to let people into shows without tickets, a whistleblower has claimed.
Mother-of-two Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, and security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, died in hospital after a crush at the venue in December.
They were at the Academy for a gig by Afro pop star Asake where witnesses described hundreds of people trying to get into the show despite the venue already being packed.
A whistleblower has told the BBC’s File on Four that some members of his team would each allow “a couple of hundred” extra people into venues in exchange for money on a regular basis. The guard claimed: “There were people taking money… some staff made £1,000 cash.”
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He said someone wanting to get into a gig without a ticket would speak to security staff by the barriers controlling the queue of people waiting to get in.
Cash would be handed over “round the corner” and then a security guard would “walk you straight in the front door,” he alleged. The guard, who did not want to be named, said taking bribes also took place at other venues, stadiums and festivals where he had worked. The amount of money handed over depended on who was playing. The whistleblower was working on the front doors at Brixton Academy when the fatal crush happened on December 15.
He told File on Four: “It was like being in a car crash that’s been really awful — being crashed on and stamped on.
“When you let a few people in, they would text their friends, and they’ll text their friends.
“And the bouncers started being greedy, and it got out of hand. And people wanted to come in anyway, without a ticket.”
The BBC also spoke to someone who got into a gig with a fake ticket at Brixton Academy the week before the crush.
The man, Andre, claimed he had bought fake tickets for DJ Fred Again in a deal through a security guard on the night. “It felt really organised and it felt that we weren’t the only people that got in that way,” he said.
The BBC said the employer of guards at Brixton, AP Security, had declined to comment.
There is no suggestion that victim Gaby Hutchinson, who was on duty for the gig, was involved in taking bribes or letting people in without tickets.
The venue yesterday had its licence suspended for three more months by Lambeth council, after an application by the Met, while investigations into the crush continue.
The owners, Academy Music Group, had already said it had decided itself to stay closed for three months.
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AP Security declined to comment when approached by the Standard.