Murder scene had a history of brawls

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A SHEFFIELD party venue where a man was stabbed to death in the early hours of New Year’s Day was a haunt for serious criminals and the scene of a spate of major incidents of disorder before the murder.

Police have revealed they were called out five times to the Stars and Mayfair suites to reports of a mass brawl involving 50 people fighting, and assaults including one which left a man bleeding from having been glassed.

Details of recent incidents at the Queens Road venue have been made public ahead of a full review of the premises licence following the death of Joshua Green, aged 27, who was stabbed in the neck.

The premises’ licence is suspended pending the hearing at Sheffield Town Hall on Tuesday, January 31, and the party venue is closed, although a roller skating rink in the building remains open.

Supt Martin Hemingway, of South Yorkshire Police, made the application for a review of the licence on the grounds of ‘serious crime and disorder’.

Supt Hemingway said before the murder, there had been incidents at the venue.

He said: “Known organised crime group members frequent the premises. South Yorkshire Police are concerned there may be potential for further serious crime and disorder to take place.”

Police reports detail how on August 27 last year, they were called by a bouncer who said 250 people at a party ‘approximately 50’ of whom were fighting.

Around six weeks earlier, on July 16, Mr Hemingway revealed the duty manager called to report trouble was ‘all kicking off’ involving groups at a wedding reception - and there were further calls reporting ‘up to 15 people fighting’ and ‘possibly one male unconscious’.

Police were called out on December 9 to deal with ‘a group of youths causing problems for door staff’ who did not have tickets and a gang of ‘10-15 youths outside the premises arguing with staff’ on August 12.

On May 1, police were altered to a reggae night at the venue where there was ‘potential for something to happen’ and an atmosphere that could be ‘cut with a knife’. Police attended but the troublemakers had dispersed.

Nigel Thompson, licensee of Stars and Mayfair, said security had been upgarded to ensure door staff can search customers, a metal detector is used, lighting has been improved and CCTV installed.

He said that last year an increasing number enquiries were made by members of the ‘black, Caribbean, African communities of Sheffield’ which ‘aroused suspicion’ but police told hime there was ‘no specific intelligence’ on the people other than that they ‘may be known to police’.

■ Two men aged 19 and 22 have been arrested and bailed in connection with Joshua’s murder.