The young sons of a woman who died in a crush at the O2 Academy in Brixton begin to ask, “Where’s my mum?”
Rebecca Ikumelo’s boys, aged five and seven, are beginning to realize their mother isn’t coming home, family members have said.
Ms Ikumelo, 33, from Newham, east London, and security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, from Gravesend, Kent, who was on duty at the south London site, are both who died days after being injured when ticketless fans tried to enter a show by Nigerian Afrobeats artist Asake in December.
A 21-year-old woman remains seriously ill in hospital.
Their bereaved families are searching for answers as to how love at first sight has arrived and have now appealed to the public to help with a police criminal investigation into the fatal incident.
“They really feel the absence of their mother”
Ms Ikumelo’s father Anthony said the family wanted to see a basic sense of ‘compassion’ and ‘respect’ from everyone involved to help with the investigation into what went wrong on 15 December.
Holding more concerts and events instead – while there are still security concerns – would be an “additional slap in the face” for loved ones, he added.
Mr Ikumelo added that one of the reasons his daughter died was “greed” and lamented the lack of security measures that day.
He said: “I feel like greed is one of the reasons why my daughter died and why all the things that should have been in place for safety weren’t there.
“That’s why everyone should work with us, from government to government, to find out what happened and prevent it from happening again.
“We want those responsible to be prosecuted and ultimately we want the government to make sure this doesn’t happen to another family again.”
Yetunde Olodo said Ms Ikumelo’s young sons – her grandsons – miss their mother.
She explained: “They don’t understand what’s going on but I’m sure they really feel their mother’s absence.”
Questions about safety and security need to be answered, according to Ms Ikumelo’s aunt Mary, who said it was ‘a stampede and not the first time it’s happened UK”.
She said additional security measures should be put in place at future events.
She added: “We are very angry and upset.
“People who think they might get away with this – they must be scared because we will never stop as a family until justice prevails.”
Sale of ‘dodgy’ tickets contributed to tragedy
The other crash victim was 23-year-old security guard Gaby Hutchinson, and her family also have many unanswered questions.
“Why was she inside? Why were there so many people? Why were there so many people? The room was full and there are people outside who want to come in,” said her mother Chris.
Her daughter was “trained to walk around the [venue’s] perimeter and that was it,” she added.
While Ms Hutchinson’s sister Nina said: ‘She didn’t die from an accident like a car accident. She died on the job and it shouldn’t have happened.’
She added: “Hopefully for the people who were selling the supposedly dodgy tickets it was worth it because in the end it’s [part of] which caused the death of my sister.
“There wouldn’t have been this excess of people not having tickets, if you hadn’t.”
The family have been “afraid” of concerts and similar events since Ms Hutchinson’s death, her sister added, and they have now tried to avoid crowds.
Police investigation update
Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Penney said the criminal investigation was ongoing and potential offenses under investigation included “corporate manslaughter, manslaughter by criminal negligence…violations of occupational health and safety, and violent disorder”.
Mr Penney said police are ‘exploring all possibilities to establish exactly what happened’ and ‘have persons of interest’ they are investigating.
He appealed to the “hundreds of people” at the event as he captured the scenes on their phones saying, “as insignificant as it is, we want people to show up with everything they’ve got.”