Police could pursue charges of attempted murder after somebody was “possibly” deliberately run over during a large scale fight in Northampton in the early hours of this morning.
During an urgent licensing review hearing at Northampton Guildhall this evening, Sergeant O’Connell from Northamptonshire Police, said that they could be pursuing charges of public disorder, violence, potential rioting and wounding with intent as investigations continue into the brawl which began in Faces bar and spilled out into Bridge Street.
They are also looking into a possible charge of attempted murder and they believe somebody could have tried to “deliberately run over” a pedestrian during the fighting.
Eight people were taken to hospital, with six sustaining stab wounds and one person with facial injuries from a bottle.
Over the course of the disturbance, between 1am and 4.30am, 40 police officers were sent to the area, including officers from other parts of the county. They were also called to Northampton General Hospital to deal with further fighting which broke out after five injured people were treated there.
Although no arrests were made, police said that during the fight, which involved over dozens of people, they found evidence that knives, bottles and a hammer - possibly a sledgehammer - were used.
CCTV footage showed that only one member of door staff was on duty at Faces. Police said there was a “lack of control” and that people were “bypassing” the knife arch. they added that, when the arch did indicate possible weapons, those people walked in “unchallenged”. One man could be seen walking out of the bar “covered in blood” and then walking back in again.
Robert Schneider, who runs Faces, said: “The knife arch is just a deterrent, a visual aid, and it is only monitored during some weekends.
“The bar became only slightly busier than a normal Saturday night. I tried to call my security company to send another member of door staff but received no response.
“After it started to get very busy, I closed the venue at 2.30am.”
But the CCTV footage also showed customers still being allowed into the bar past 3am, even though the bar’s licence does not allow it to admit anyone after that time.
Sgt O’Connell said: “We received reports that an unauthorised event had become apparent at Faces and that the venue was already way over capacity.
“We dealt with a large scale crime and disorder incident on Bridge Street and we can link that to Faces and confirm that it began inside the premises. The control was inadequate and there was a failure to respond to circumstances.”
Mr Schneider could not confirm the venue’s official capacity but said that it is written as 220 people on the wall in the manager’s office and that this is monitored with a “rough headcount.”
The fight followed an opening event held at Nu Bar in Bridge Street. Both venues have had their licences suspended for seven days while investigations continued.
Police believe that, after Nu Bar closed, partygoers who had come from as far as London for the event, moved further along Bridge Street and into Faces.
Shane Graham, who runs Nu Bar, said: “A friend of mine offered to promote a student-only event and sell 150 tickets and I trusted him to do that. Last night, we reached capacity quickly and because the promoters had been selling more tickets on the door, there were still people with tickets trying to get in.
“Everybody who came in was searched and we only found a few cases of people trying to bring in drinks. There was a small scuffle in the queue and two police officers attended, but we cooperated them and cleared it up. When another small altercation broke out inside the bar at around 1am, we decided to knock the whole thing off.
“We managed to empty the venue of customers within 40 minutes and all staff were gone by 3.20am.”
Police said that they had not been properly notified of the event beforehand.
A full licensing review will be held for both venues next week.