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Father speaks out after Oceana night club death

THE father of Christopher Clarke - a Shirley man who died outside a well-known Birmingham nightclub - feels that the venue should have closed following the accident.

THE father of Christopher Clarke - a Shirley man who died outside a well-known Birmingham nightclub - feels that the venue should have closed following the accident.

Oceana, based on Hurst Street, had pleaded guilty to breaking health and safety laws - which contributed to Mr Clarke’s death in February 2007. Yesterday, the club’s parent company was fined £85,000 and ordered to pay £32,803 in costs.

Mr Clarke’s parents - Graham and Carol - were at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday to hear the judge pass sentence. Speaking after the proceedings, Mr Clarke paid tribute to his son and gave his views on the fine.

“It’s peanuts, but at the end of the day what’s adequate. As the judge said, you can’t put a price on a life.

“He was encaged in a prison at the end of the day - he couldn’t get out - on a freezing cold night, and we will never, ever forget that.”

During the case, court had heard about the events leading up to the tragedy.

Mr Clarke, of Stanton Road, had gone for a night out with friends. But he had been asked to leave Oceana after ignoring a request not to take a glass bottle onto the dance floor.

A doorman had escorted him out of a fire exit and left him in a staff car park - thinking that the 21-year-old would be able to leave through the gates. But when the gates - which were controlled by an automatic timer - closed, Mr Clarke found himself trapped.

It is believed that he tried to climb out of the area, but fell and suffered fatal head injuries. His body was spotted by a passerby in the early hours of the morning.

His Honour Judge Plunkett said: “I have seen from his parents the statement which speaks eloquently of the hole that his death has left in their lives. Any parent reading that statement could not help but be moved by it.”

Following the decision, Luminar Oceana Ltd issued a statement offering condolences to Mr Clarke’s family.

“As a leading company in the late night entertainment industry, the safety of our customers is paramount and since Mr Clarke’s death - and in conjunction witnh the organisation that now provides our door staff - we have undertaken a far-reaching review of security, safety and training policies across the organisation.”

 

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