Kensington nightclub faces axe after police attacked while trying to help stab victim
A gang attacked police as they attempted to treat a young man stabbed repeatedly in a brawl outside a guest-list-only nightclub. The stand-off triggered a riot in the early hours, according to an official report. A teenager and a man in his fifties also suffered head injuries in the fight, with police summoning back-up units from neighbouring boroughs to restore order.
Scotland Yard is now calling for the nightclub, Vaudeville, which is below the My Place Hotel in Kensington, to be stripped of its licence, saying the incident demonstrated a failure by managers to disperse guests at closing time. The 300-capacity club near Earl's Court station was opened in 2016 by the team behind the now-closed Drury Club in Covent Garden, which hosted Victoria's Secret model Jourdan Dunn, comedian Kevin Hart, R&B star Ne-Yo and socialite Amber Rose. General manager Omar Assis said they plan to fight the closure
Neighbours have added their voices to the Met's request for the removal of Vaudeville's licence, saying anti-social behaviour was blighting their lives. In the most recent incident, on April 14, police on patrol were called to break up a fight among "well-known gang members" gathered outside the venue. Pc Jude Gaulston, of the Met's licensing team, said they were met by a "very hostile crowd intent on obstructing police and causing injury to police officers".
She said violence flared as officers were obstructed from assisting the stabbed man, leading to "serious violent disorder" before extra officers were called to restore calm. Three weeks earlier, two men, aged 26 and 30, attended a west London hospital after being stabbed near the venue at about 3am, according to the report. One neighbour said he was too scared to look out of his window when a commotion starts, fearing he would be targeted by the gang.
A report by Kensington and Chelsea council's environmental health chief said the club suffered from "consistent and regular disorder". It said: "Around the time that Vaudeville closes, residents are subjected to anti-social, loud and often aggressive behaviour as people return to their vehicles, rev engines, play loud music, shout at each other, fight and on occasion urinate and vomit in the street." Club general manager Omar Asis said licence holders Shravale would fight the closure bid, having spent thousands on extra security and hiring a new management team following a relaunch last month.
Councillors will decide what action to take at a meeting on Monday.