Two separate inquests took place last week into the deaths of the three men who died within 8 months of each other after attending the Pleasuredrome Spa in Waterloo, Central London.
At a pre-inquest hearing the Coroner expressed concerns about the seemingly low level of regulation of the premises and named the local authority as an interested party by virtue of its licensing obligations.
The Pleasuredrome Spa is located in the railway arches below Waterloo East station and caters for adult gay and bi-sexual men. In addition to saunas, steam rooms and sunbeds the Spa has 36 lockable private rooms which can be hired for upto three hours at a time.
Two of the deceased were found lying face down in what the paramedics described a 'bunker' style private room. The jury heard evidence from the London Ambulance Service as to its concerns about accessibility of the private rooms and the venue generally. Drugs paraphernalia was found in the private rooms and the toxicology report confirmed that both deceased had used various drugs, including GHB.
The local authority provided evidence as to its role in issuing a Premises Licence under the Licensing Act 2003 (for the sale of alcohol and hot food) and a Special Treatments Licence relating to the sauna, steam room, spa pool and sunbeds under the London Local Authorities Act 1991.
It also provided evidence that the venue did not require a Sex Entertainment Venue ('SEV') Licence pursuant to Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1982 because any sexual activity in private rooms did not fall within the definition of a SEV as it did not take place before a live audience.
The jury concluded that both men's deaths were drug and alcohol related. The Coroner expressed some concerns as to the number of deaths at the venue and queried the existence of a pattern such that a prevention of further deaths report could be warranted but decided against issuing such a report.
Kuljit Bhogal appeared at the inquest for the local authority.
Press coverage relating to the inquest can be found by clicking here (Daily Mail) and clicking here (Evening Standard).