NATIONAL: Revellers injured after car driven into nightclub

A driver who allegedly ploughed his car into a nightclub injured 13 people - leaving several with broken bones, police said.

Sunday, 18th March 2018, 1:55 pm
Updated Sunday, 18th March 2018, 3:00 pm
Police outside Blake's nightclub in Gravesend after a car drove down the alleyway next to the club and crashed into a marquee injuring a number of people. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Kent Police said a 21-year-old had been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a vehicle was driven on to a dancefloor at Blake's in Gravesend at around 11.45pm on Saturday.

Detectives believe he had been kicked out of the venue over an altercation.

The force said in an update: 'At least 13 people were injured but officers believe several others may have left the scene and are working to establish how many further victims there may be.

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'Several of those hurt suffered broken bones but none of their injuries are described as life-threatening or life-changing.'

The force added that the episode was not being treated as terror-related.

Witnesses described panic and chaos as the alleged attack unfolded shortly before midnight.

Jordan Ferris, 19, said: 'We were at the bar and a fight broke out. Two lads were punching each other which the security was trying to break up.

'Next thing I see is my cousin running behind the bar crying all distressed and hugging the barmaids. People were saying there had been an accident.

'Police then came rushing in saying to stay put if we are hurt but if we weren't to evacuate the building.

'As we were leaving we heard loads of people crying. The police were at the scene within minutes.'

Jade Keepin, 18, said: 'I came out of the toilets in the shisha lounge and there was a car in the middle of the floor that security had surrounded.

'Then I saw a person smash the back window of the car with his elbow and people began throwing stuff at the car. It was manic but security were making sure we were okay getting everyone into the main hall and safe.'

The nightclub hailed 'heroic' revellers and door staff who helped stop the suspect in the immediate aftermath.

A statement posted on Facebook by the club on Sunday morning said: 'Although we are deeply saddened that injuries occurred, we are grateful that no one was fatally hurt.

'We see our guests as family and we want to extend our concerns with them and the entire community of Gravesend, many of which bravely aided the staff and emergency services.

'Thank you to the heroic actions of our door team and guests to apprehend the individual before further harm was caused.'

Footage posted on social media showed a large car, headlights still shining, on a chequered dancefloor inside a marquee at the Blake's nightclub.

In another clip, security staff appear to surround the driver, and a reveller can be heard asking: 'Why did he try and do that?'. Another replies: 'I'm so confused.'

Shocked clubbers spilled out onto the street as emergency services arrived, with footage showing police cars, fire engines and ambulances lined up outside the venue.

Witness Sonny Powar said he saw two people get hit by the car before the driver was pulled from the vehicle.

'(It was) just a normal night out at Blake's Nightclub in Gravesend in Kent,' he told the Press Association.

'But some guy wasn't let into the club or got kicked out so he drove his 4x4 into the tent we was all in.

'It stopped at my feet so any further and I could have died, then he reversed up and we all ran.

'We ripped the tent wall apart and got out and called the police.

'It was a complete mess of panic and chaos.'

BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Reece Parkinson posted a video from inside the club on Twitter.

He said in the video: 'My god I nearly died, so I'm in this club and this car came through the... club.

'A guy who didn't get in drove through the club.'

Kent Fire and Rescue Service said it had sent two fire engines to the scene to assist the police.