Infant sons of mum, 33, killed in concert crush starting to realise she isn’t coming home as manslaughter probe launched

15 June 2023, 13:29 | Updated: 15 June 2023, 13:32

Rebecca's family have urged people to help with the investigation.
Rebecca's family have urged people to help with the investigation. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The children of a mum who was killed in a concert crush are beginning to understand that she won't be coming back home six months on from the concert crush tragedy, as police launch manslaughter probe into incident.

Rebecca Ikumelo died aged 33 at the O2 Academy in Brixton last December when swarms of ticketless fans attempted to get into Afrobeats artist Asake's concert.

Gaby Hutchinson, 23, also died in the crush and a 21-year-old still remains seriously ill in hospital.

Rebecca’s mum Yetunde Olodo, 59, said that now six months on from the incident her grandsons Jamael, seven, and five-year-old Joellle, are finally starting to realise that their mum isn’t coming back.

She said: “With the seven year-old you can see the sadness in him.

“I don’t know if he understands it but he feels it because he is not seeing his mum around.

“We would ask him ‘where’s mummy?’ and he would say “I don’t know.”

“The little one used to say ‘she went to grandma’s house’ but yesterday he said ‘she went away’, but he does not know where.

“They don’t understand what is happening but I am sure they are really feeling their mum’s absence.”

Six months on from the incident, Rebecca’s family have opened about how challenging it has been to grieve without having answers about why the crush happened in the first place.

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Yetunde Olodo, 59, mother of Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, opened up about the family's struggles.
Yetunde Olodo, 59, mother of Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, opened up about the family's struggles. Picture: Alamy

The Metropolitan Police announced today that they will be launching a criminal investigation into the concert crush.

This could result in a number of potential offences, including: “Corporate manslaughter, criminal negligence manslaughter, unlawful act manslaughter and health and safety at work offences along with violent disorder and offences against the person or assaults.”

Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Penney said: “This is being treated as a criminal investigation. ‘We do have persons of interest that we are looking into. It is a very complicated and broad investigation.

“We are looking at every avenue to establish exactly what went wrong. There are many people and organisations involved in this investigation that could provide further information to us.

“There were hundreds of people there filming the incident on their mobile phones – we don’t have hundreds of pieces of social media, so however insignificant it is we want people to come forward with whatever they have.”

Rebecca’s father, Anthony Ikumelo, 63, has urged everyone involved in the crush to help the investigation as a basic expression of “compassion and respect”.

He said any reluctance to do so would otherwise be a “further slap” to them and other affected families.

“It feels like greed is one of the reasons why my daughter died and why all the things that should have been in place for safety were not there,” he added.

“This is why everyone should be working with us, from the government down to find out what happened and to prevent it from happening again.

“We want those responsible prosecuted and eventually we want the government to make sure this will not happen to another family again.”

Read more: Singer Asake 'devastated' after Brixton concert crush killed mother-of-two, 33

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Rebecca’s father, Anthony Ikumelo, 63 (left) and Rebecca's brother, Wale Ikumelo, 31 (right).
Rebecca’s father, Anthony Ikumelo, 63 (left) and Rebecca's brother, Wale Ikumelo, 31 (right). Picture: Alamy

The 33-year-old’s brother Wale Ikumelo, 31, said of his sister's children: “At first it was a quick shrug, but now so many months have gone past and you can see the boys are picking at their brains and saying 'where is my mum?'"

Rebecca’s aunt, Mary, also urgently wants answers about the security and safety of the event and concerts in general, as she said: “A stampede and it is not the first time this has happened in the UK.

“We are very angry and upset. The people who think that maybe they are going to get away with this – they need to be scared because we will never stop as a family until justice prevails.

“She (Rebecca) deserves justice, (Gaby) deserves justice and there is another lady who has been in intensive – she deserves justice. Rebecca’s children deserve justice. This is just not acceptable.

“The reality is that other concerts are happening and they are putting things in place for them to be safe, so why didn’t they do the same for this?

“It should not be that you go to a concert and then die.”

Chris Hutchinson, 60, mother (left) and Nina Hutchinson, 32, sister (right) of Gaby Hutchinson.
Chris Hutchinson, 60, mother (left) and Nina Hutchinson, 32, sister (right) of Gaby Hutchinson. Picture: Alamy

Rebecca’s family are not the only ones in desperate search of answers following the crush, as the mother of Gaby, a 23-year-old who was a security worker at the academy and died in the crush, has her concerns too.

Her mother Chris Hutchinson, 60, said before the 23-year-old’s death she was in a “really happy place at last” and had plans to get married and have a child through IVF.

She asked: “Why was she inside? Why was there so many people? Why were there so many people turning up? The venue was full and you have got people outside wanting to get in.”

Gaby’s sister, Nina Hutchinson, 32, also said: “She did not die of any underlying health problems. She did not die because of an accident like a car accident.

“She died at work and that should not have happened.

“We used to go to concerts and now we don’t want to go. We don’t want to be in spaces that could be too crowded because we are worried that could happen.

“I know it is a once-in-a-lifetime thing that it could ever occur again but it has happened to us and has left a fear embedded in us.

“I hope that for the people who were selling supposedly dodgy tickets that was worth it to them because ultimately it is (part of) what led to my sister’s death.

“There would not have been that excess of people there who did not have tickets, if you did not do that.”

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