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Kensington nightclub closed after triple stabbing blames pandemic pressure for failings

A Kensington nightclub closed by the council after a triple stabbing has blamed the pressures of the pandemic for its failings.

Jako nightclub on Kensington High Streethad its licence revoked for a series of failings, including failure to check IDs and concern over the welfare of female customers.

It came after three people were stabbed outside the club on January 9, in which two emergency services personnel were injured.

In a lengthy statement to the Standard, Jako spokesman Syed Gilani said that running promoted events post-lockdown in a bid to keep the business afloat “unintentionally” attracted a different clientele.

He said this post-lockdown “new-style of operation” meant the nightclub’s bosses “got some things wrong”, and that they had been attempting to “restore Jako to being a local venue that the borough would be proud of”.

“We are a business that has been badly damaged due to the pandemic,” he said. “These are abnormal times and we are mortified as to what occurred in front of the venue and issues during these past months.

“The reality is also that we have been mortified since March 2020 as we closed prior to the government guidelines in order to protect our staff and guests, not understanding the extent of Covid 19 at that time as we truly cared.

“We kept going despite being closed only to get to this stage to be closed by the local authority.”

He added that he believed Government support packages during lockdown “were not helpful to a business such as ours,” and those who “tried to make something work in order to survive” should not be punished.

After the triple stabbing outside the premises, a fight between 15 to 20 clubbers took place around the corner in Kensington Court, a licensing sub-committee heard.

Concerns were raised about a string of four other fights dating back to December 2020, and the safety of young female clubbers after CCTV evidence showed club goers throwing up, slumped on the floor and being taken to hospital.

One council worker said the situation was the worst she had seen in 16 years of licensing venues.

Upholding an earlier decision to suspend the venue’s licence, chair of the committee, Councillor Sof McVeigh, said: “The violence that spilled out of Jako earlier this year was completely unacceptable.

“It was also not an isolated incident and happened despite the Council and police working tirelessly with the premises to help it address its issues.”

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