Police investigate night of violence

A MAJOR police investigation is underway after a man was stabbed to death and three other men shot in a nightclub during a terrifying night of violence in Ipswich.

By Danielle Nuttall

A MAJOR police investigation is underway after a man was stabbed to death and three other men shot in a nightclub during a terrifying night of violence in Ipswich.

Police were alerted at 2.15am on Saturday morning to a man collapsed on the ground outside Zest nightclub in the town's Princes Street.

The 24-year-old, who is from the London area, was taken to Ipswich Hospital but died at 4.10am.


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A post mortem examination was due to be carried out yesterday and the results are expected to be released today.

While police officers were at the hospital, at 2.40am they were informed that another 25-year-old man who had been at Zest nightclub had been brought in suffering from gunshot injuries to his legs, backside and shoulder.

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They were then contacted by Essex police who had been told by the ambulance service two other male clubgoers from Zest, one from Stanway in Colchester and another from London, had returned home to Stanway with gunshot wounds.

An 18-year-old man suffered a leg injury while a 19-year-old man received an injury to his arm. The men said they had heard shots in the nightclub.

Police said last night the 25-year-old man was in a stable condition in hospital and was “progressing well”. At this stage he has not been interviewed by detectives.

The other two men have since been released from hospital and were being interviewed by police yesterday.

A major operation was launched which saw police contain up to 800 club goers within Zest so that they could carry out enquiries and search for witnesses.

During this process, officers became aware of another man with what appeared to be a small stab wound. He was detained by police on suspicion of a public order offence and remains under arrest and under police guard at Ipswich Hospital. His injury is not thought to be serious.

The nightclub was treated as a crime scene and extensive searches were carried out.

A bag containing a handgun was later discovered outside Zest but police said it is impossible at this stage to determine whether the gun fired in the club was that discovered outside. Further tests need to be carried out.

At a press conference on Saturday, Detective Superintendent David Cole said police were linking the series of events that occurred in Zest nightclub.

But he added: “Because of the complexity and nature of the sequence of events and the club's proximity to it it's still unclear whether the stabbing took place within the club.

“I am satisfied there were firearms discharged within the club. There is nothing to say the weapon that has been recovered was the one that was discharged.”

Det Supt Cole said the men had suffered wounds that appeared to be consistent with a small firearm like a handgun but police did not know at this stage how many shots had been fired in the club.

“There are a number of potential theories and motives which I am keeping an open mind to at this time. Obviously drug dealing and any youth culture motive is one thing we are looking at,” he said.

“To the best of my knowledge none of the injured parties are employees of the club.”

Det Supt Cole said there had been no widespread panic when the shots had been fired, which could have been due to music drowning out the noise. A garage music event was being held at the nightclub that evening.

“The investigation focussed on trying to maintain a busy nightclub environment where there were at one stage up to 800 clubgoers. Our priority was to ascertain the identity of as many people as possible,” he said.

“We were able to speak to a number of individuals but some left before we realised the complexity of what we were dealing with.

“While police efforts enabled us to talk to a significant number of people leaving the club we need to identify everyone who attended Zest nightclub last night or pedestrians in the area who walked past that vicinity.”

Clubgoers were able to leave the nightclub by 5am and their exit was assisted by police.

A large area surrounding Zest, including part of Princes Street and Grafton Way, remained closed to motorists throughout the weekend as officers examined the area as part of their inquiry.

Police reopened part of Princes Street last night after initial searches were complete but some of the area remains closed off.

Zest nightclub was also closed on Saturday evening as scenes of crime officers continued to work at the scene. The nightclub is expected to remain closed in the immediate future.

Det Supt Cole said the inquiry was being totally managed by detectives and officers in Suffolk despite an extremely busy period for the force.

Suffolk police last night appealed for anyone at the nightclub or in the vicinity who might have information that could help them to contact them on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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