After a 20-year old died after taking drugs on the premises last weekend, why the silence from Warehouse Project – who have been in this situation before?

Why is Warehouse Project refusing to say anything at all about the death of a 20-year old who was at their venue last weekend? This is the question I asked last Sunday and today, I pose it again. The ongoing silence from the Warehouse and owner Sacha Lord is mystifying, to say the least.

Obviously, a police investigation is ongoing into the matter and nobody, least of all me, expects them to say something which could compromise that. But bar a brief statement issued to the press by a faceless, unnamed spokesperson for the Warehouse Project, nothing has been said publicly by anyone.

This is an increasingly bizarre turn of events. This week, Sacha Lord has found the time to tweet about VAT increases for business, the HGV drivers shortage and even fallen for a prank where someone claimed the Google camera photographed a sex act taking place outside his club. In truth, it was an old photo taken from a nearby street and deleted from the service eight years ago.

Yet he hasn’t tweeted a few words of condolence for the man in question. No words of sympathy for his family, who will now be going through hell after the loss of a loved one. And no words about the drugs policy of the club or the importance of drug testing – something which he has advocated for many years.

A source close to the Warehouse Project told me “We’re under strict orders coming from the top not to discuss this. We’ve been told almost nothing about what’s happened”. Hardly surprising – but their collective silence is all the more odd considering this has happened before.

In 2013, a 30-year old man called Nick Bonnie collapsed at the Warehouse Project and later died in hospital. His inquest revealed high levels of cocaine and MDMA in his body at the time of death. That very same weekend, 16 others at the venue were hospitalised after taking ecstasy and and the dealer had to seek medical attention after swallowing his stash.

In December 2016, a 19-year old beautician called Lauren Atkinson died after taking ecstasy at the club. And back in 2012, another 19-year old called Souvik Pal was found dead in a nearby canal after taking ecstasy on the premises as well. All this was reported a few years ago in the Manchester Evening News.

So as much as I hate to say this, but Warehouse Project have been in this position before. And whilst there’s no suggestion from me that the club isn’t being run properly – police in Manchester have said several times they believe it is – the optics of this refusal to say anything whatsoever are simply terrible…

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