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Narrative Verdict After Nightclub Deaths
A jury has concluded that repeated announcements from a DJ urging revellers to leave a nightclub contributed to the deaths of two students killed in a crush.
Nabila Nanfuka, 22, and Laurene-Danielle Jackson, 19, both from London, were killed in a deadly surge at the Lava and Ignite nightclub in Northampton in 2011.
The pair both died amid "manic" scenes as clubbers clambered over each other to escape the venue in the early hours of October 19.
The jury at the two-week inquest at Northampton County Hall was told of a log-jam of people who were rushing for the doors as coaches came to collect people from the Wickedest Wickedest R'n'B event and take them home.
Between 3.10am and 3.50am, DJs told clubbers to leave the building or risk missing their coach with announcements including "All hotels are booked up, you'll get left behind." and "The driver is....going to leave you."
The foreman of the jury said 14 announcements were made in 30 minutes and this was ``the most significant factor'' in the two deaths.
She said: "We believe the safe exit from the club was not adequately considered by the promoters and the club. We believe the most significant factor that caused the overcrowding in the vestibule and the crush on the stairs was the DJ announcements in that 14 were made in the space of 30 minutes.'
The foreman added that lack of management in the cloakroom and crowd's attitude and behaviour was also a factor.
The court heard around 1,600 people had attended the night and cloakroom staff stopped taking coats and bags, so clubbers began throwing their belongings over the counter, meaning many items were not properly ticketed.
This meant that some items took up to 10 minutes to retrieve at the end of the night, assistant coroner Belinda Cheney said.
In the midst of the crush of people, a fire alarm was activated at 3.49am which added to the swell attempting to leave the club with one witness saying revellers were "left screaming, crying and moaning".
Retail manager Chinedu Ani, who pulled one stricken girl out from the front of the crush, told the inquest that "nobody was listening" as staff attempted in vain to move back to prevent the stampede.
Emergency services were called to the club at 3.37am and were seen on CCTV pulling people trapped by the walls and handrails to safety.
Concluding a narrative verdict for the two deaths, Ms Cheney said she hoped club promoters and clubs would ``learn lessons from this tragedy''.
Ms Nanfuka, from Neasden in North London, was studying a leisure and tourism degree at the University of Northampton. She died at Northampton General Hospital on October 19.
Ms Jackson, from Wembley, was studying psychology at Kingston University and died at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital on November 6.
Both were found unconscious inside the club in the early hours of October 19 with Ms Nanfuka's cause of death given as traumatic asphyxia and Ms Jackson as cerebral ischaemia - a lack of blood flow to the brain - and traumatic asphyxia.
The Crown Prosecution Service previously determined there would be no criminal charges brought against anyone following the incident.
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