A bouncer at a Northampton nightclub where two students received fatal crush injuries said door staff were taken by surprise when the DJ urged people to leave.
Tristan Dixon, assistant head doorman at Lava & Ignite on the night of the crush that led to the deaths of Dani Jackson and Nabila Nanfuka, said the event should have finished at 4am.
As a result, no door staff were on the landing area near the cloakroom at 3.10am when a DJ told the students their coaches home were about to leave.
Speaking on the fourth anniversary of Dani’s death from crush injuries, Mr Dixon said: “As soon as the announcement was made I asked two of the door staff to get [to the cloakroom area] so they could move people on.
“By the time I got there, the cloakroom area was already so packed no-one could move.
“I saw one of the door supervisors trapped against a wall and the other trapped in the middle of the crowd.”
The jury sitting at County Hall had previously heard that a crush began on the cloakroom landing in the early hours of October 19 2011 because a static crowd had gathered outside the cloakroom and another crowd were pushing past them to get to the stairs.
Mr Dixon said the crowd pushing out of the dance floor area was prompted by the coach announcements.
He said: “The problems occurred when the announcements started to be made.
“That’s the reason why everyone decided to leave at the same time.
“It was like someone pushed a switch.
“People usually stay until towards the end or leave when they want to.
“It was unexpected.”
Mr Dixon said he picked up a girl who had fallen in the middle of the cloakroom area crowd and managed to take her downstairs to the club’s medical room.
However, when he tried to return he saw the stairwell was full of clubbers who surged forward as if pushed from behind, then became completely stuck.
At the bottom of the stairs several girls had fallen and had piles of people on top of them.
He went to pick up one girl and found that she was in so much pain her nails “went through” the skin of his wrist.
Mr Dixon said he was shouting that people were dying and urged people towards the rear to move backwards about 20 times, both verbally and using gestures.
He pleaded withe crowd for over 20 minutes to little effect.
Mr Dixon said he believed the behaviour of a small number of people in the crowd contributed to the crush.
Although he said he did not see a scuffle take place on the stairs as other witnesses mentioned in evidence, he said many clubbers refused to listen to pleas to stop pushing.
Mr Dixon said: “I was shouting ‘People are getting crushed’
“They could have went back inside the dance floor themselves, but they were being ignorant and still pushing.”
Part of his statement to police was read out to the jury.
He said: “Some people found the situation amusing and were still pushing.
“They could definitely see me [gesturing to move back]. They were looking at me. They were just being ignorant.
“I feel the mentality of some of those who attended was the worst I have ever seen.”
A total of 28 people were injured in the tragedy.
Nabila Nanfuka, aged 22, died hours after the crush at Northampton General Hospital.
Dani Jackson, aged 19m died from a severe brain injury caused by crush asphyxia at a Leicester hospital on November 6, 2011. At the request of the jury, a minute’s silence was held today to mark the fourth anniversary of her death.
The inquest continues.