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9 September 2017, 06:00
A bar in the Black Country has reopened this weekend against the wishes of the family of a man killed their last month.
24-year-old Ryan Passey died in hospital after being stabbed in the Chicagos bar in Stourbridge on August 6th.
A petition has got thousands of signatures calling for them to stay closed until after the funeral.
Ryan's family has expressed a wish that the bar should remain closed until after his funeral. But Chicago's reopened last night (Friday 8th September).
Chicago's have told Heart they haven't taken that decision lightly.
"This has been a distressing time for all concerned and, of course, none more so than the family and friends of Mr Passey. There is a lot of misinformation about the events of that night circulating on social media and we feel that our response has been misrepresented, but we can’t say anything that may prejudice the outcome of the case and, of course, we totally respect that.
"What we would stress is that we acted within the terms of our licence, as defined by the Police and local authorities, including conducting random searches on entry. Stourbridge has always been a relatively safe night out and we had no specific intelligence or advice that these measures should be increased.
"We genuinely care about our customers and employees’ welfare and will be increasing security and safety checks when we reopen on Friday night. We have not taken this decision lightly (we have already remained closed for longer than legally required) and will not be trading on the day of Mr Passey's funeral."
The petition is aimed at Dudley Council as they can't make a decision on the bar's licence.
Cllr Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for licensing told Heart:
"Following a comprehensive police review of the conditions of the license, the licensing committee lifted the suspension of Chicago’s on 24 August. The company has been legally able to trade since then, but has not as yet re-opened.
"We are aware of a range of petitions in relation to the premises, and while the council acknowledges these, and the impact Ryan’s death has had on his family, friends and the local community, it cannot overturn a licensing decision based on petitions.
"The licensing decision can only be overturned through a successful legal appeal by any of the parties involved in the original review hearing held on the 24 August. I believe that council officers and local councillors are in communication with Ryan’s family, offering support and informing them of the appeal process.
“While the premises currently remain closed, the owners of Chicago’s have stated that as a further mark of respect that given reasonable notice, the premises will also close on the day of the funeral.”
A crowdfunding page has been set up in memory of Ryan with money donated going towards making a lasting memorial to him: