Manchester bouncers attack nightclub has licence suspended after shocking brawl

A Manchester nightclub has had its licence temporarily suspended after bouncers were filmed attacking two men outside.

A full review is being carried out into Factory nightclub after footage of the attack on Sunday sent shockwaves.

St Helens Rugby League player Joe Sharratt, 18, suffered a bleed on the brain when he was knocked unconscious by the doormen, and his friend Leon Cooper, also 18, was repeatedly punched during the attack.

Superintendent Chris Hill said the CCTV footage of the incident left him ‘disturbed, upset and disgusted,’ reports Manchester Evening News.

Police today told an emergency meeting of the council’s licencing committee that it had ‘extreme concerns’ about the level of violence used in the attack and requested a suspension.

Councillors at the hearing agreed to the request, which was not challenged by Factory.

Police said victim Joe was ‘treated like a punch bag’ and their investigations continue.

Noting that the venue did not call the police about the attack, Alan Isherwood from GMP said the force had ‘serious concerns’ about the ‘extreme violence’ over the weekend.

"It’s easy for the premises to put it down to the door staff," he said "but it’s abundantly clear that there was a huge lack of duty of care."

Asking for the club’s licence to be suspended until a full review is carried out, he described the lack of reports to police as a ‘huge problem’.

Over the past 12 months, there have been 34 assault crimes at Factory – some of which included the door staff. The club reported only four of them, he said.

Solicitors for Factory told councillors that the club was not challenging the suspension of its licence, and agreed that it was important that it remained closed while a full review was carried out.

They said that Factory’s Mark Barker ‘cradled’ the back of the head of the young man which was ‘an open wound at the time’, checked he was breathing and stayed with him until medics arrived.

The hearing also heard from Mr Barker himself, who described the doormen’s behaviour as ‘vile’, adding: "I’d have never thought in a million years…"

Councillor Donna Ledford meanwhile, described the incident as ‘very disturbing’ and that it paints a ‘very bad picture of Manchester’.

The committee’s alternative options could have been to modify the conditions of the licence, by changing its opening hours or removing the ‘premises supervisor’.

A full review into the venue’s licence will take place before December 31.

Speaking after the hearing, Sacha Lord, night time economy adviser, said: "It was the right decision for Factory not to contest the suspension.

"Whilst I hope the staff can be offered other positions during the Xmas period, it is right that a full Hearing Review takes place.

"The scenes that we witnessed, went viral across the world. This by no means represents Greater Manchester. I praise Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police for dealing with the issue so promptly and taking such a strong stance.

"Door staff are here to protect us on a night out. We will not accept the actions of the thugs that we witnessed during the weekend. I hope Greater Manchester Police take further action, in prosecuting the individuals involved."

As reported on Monday, a scathing police report which was put before the committee revealed how Joe lay unconscious on the street for 10 minutes, before members of the public went to help him.

But nightclub bosses ‘didn’t bother’ to call 999 which would, police say, ‘suggest either a worrying level of incompetence at best or more seriously a possible attempt to cover up the incident’.

The reports says there was a ‘lack of duty of care’ from club bosses and say the attack ‘could very easily have ended up as a fatality’.

Factory have terminated their contract with Professional Security, the firm which provided the bouncers, saying they were ‘totally appalled’ and would be contacting the Security Industry Authority to request a full review of the incident.

Gordon Lamb, Professional Security operations director, has also said all the bouncers involved have been sacked, adding he was ‘disgusted and appalled’ by the actions of his staff.

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