Future of Birmingham murder investigation center location to be decided

A location at the center of a murder investigation following the death of a 49-year-old man in Birmingham could instead be turned into a takeaway. It comes as a murder investigation has been launched after Robert West – aka ‘Bob Fresh’ – died on February 21 after being found with serious injuries outside Cross Keys Banqueting Suite, in Ladywood.

A 43-year-old man from Birmingham has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He remains on bail. Due to the active murder case, a hearing on the licensing was held in part private. It means that the location may lose its license completely or face forced changes. The site’s license is currently suspended.

Public records from West Midlands Police indicate several individuals are concerned about the ‘poor management’ of the site. Local businesses have also complained about broken glass and food being scattered everywhere.

READ MORE:‘Rest in peace king’ – Ladywood murder victim named as family pays tribute and man arrested

West Midlands Police Officer Daniel Sheasby said the suite, located on Steward Street and close to Dudley Road, has been on police radars for at least 17 months. He said: “I’ve been on the Ladywood Neighboring team since November 2020 […]† The location itself has long held our attention. Visits to the site over the past seventeen months have revealed numerous violations of the permit conditions.

“Regular issues that have been brought to my attention relate to the rubbish left outside on the street, including glass bottles, broken glass, food waste, drug paraphernalia and used condoms. Continue to this […] patrons of the pub urinate on walls, doors and shutters of other businesses.

“It is clear that neither the permit holder nor the staff are making any efforts to clear the site of litter and are happy that their customers are using the street and other buildings as toilets.”

Mr Sheasby claims there has been a significant reduction in littering since the suite’s closure and other businesses feel safer. He said: “I sincerely believe that, if allowed to continue operating, the Cross Keys will be subject to further incidents, putting the public at risk, and it is clear that the licensee is unable to manage the property.”

A company, which claims to have been trading on Steward Street since 1993, said it was having many problems with the pub, with customers regularly leaving “chicken wings and fish bones” in the street. We just don’t understand how to license this type [of] business on this street,” it reads.

READ MORE:Ladywood banquet hall license suspended after suspected murder

Chris Jones, West Midlands Police Licensing Officer, said there was “no confidence” in the management of Cross Keys Banqueting Suite, adding that there was a “total loss of confidence” in the property’s licensee who as a banquet hall would continue to function. But he said police would agree to a possible licensed takeout service with various conditions, including a full rebrand of the company.

They contain alcohol that is only allowed to be consumed with customers paying for a main meal and seating is limited to four seats for people waiting to pick up takeaways. Hours would be limited to 10am to 1am. During the licensing committee, which was held at Birmingham City Council on Monday (March 21), Mr Jones added that the company may have been operating past trading hours due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The license was first issued in August 2020. The company may have struggled with doing business and obviously traded outside office hours to gain cash flow. The terrible result is that someone has died as a result.” A decision will be made within five working days about the future of the location.

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