Suspects in nightclub stampede tragedy face judge

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One of four children of Eleonora Girolimini kisses the coffin of her mother after the funeral Mass at the Senigallia Cathedral in Ancona, central Italy, 15 December 2018Image copyright
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Among the six victims was Eleonora Girolimini – one of her children kissed her coffin at her funeral in Ancona in December 2018

The stampede at the Lanterna Azzurra (Blue Lantern) club was a tragedy that traumatised Italy in December 2018, leaving five teenagers and a woman dead.

Two hundred others, mainly young Italians, were injured in the panic in the crowded club in Corinaldo.

Six men face a court hearing in Ancona, central Italy, on Thursday on charges of manslaughter.

Prosecutors believe the panic was started deliberately to rob the crowd.

But it swiftly became a disaster, known in the Italian media as the “Corinaldo massacre”, with Pope Francis saying prayers for the victims in St Peter’s Square.

What happened at the club?

The Lanterna Azzurra club was overflowing with young fans of popular rapper Sfera Ebbasta.

At least 1,400 people had gathered for the event in the small town near Ancona in the Marche region of central Italy. However, the venue was big enough for fewer than 900, police say.

Most of the victims at the club were aged between 14 and 16, and were enjoying the 8 December public holiday on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

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Media captionEmergency services attend the wounded at the scene in Corinaldo

The largely young crowd was waiting for Sfera Ebbasta, the stage name of 27-year-old Gionata Boschetti, when pepper spray was released at around 01:00 (00:00 GMT) on 8 December.

People rushed in panic towards the emergency exits but railings gave way and people fell off a walkway.

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Police say the club did not have the space for such a large audience

Many of the 200 people injured suffered crushing wounds and broken limbs.

In addition to the criminal charges brought, the Marche region is seeking, as a civil party, damages for costs incurred in the emergency response to the disaster.

Who were the victims?

The eldest of the six who died was 39-year-old mother-of-four Eleonora Girolimini, who was at the club with her 11-year-old daughter and her husband.

Her body was found by her daughter, and her husband tried in vain to resuscitate her., according to Ancona Today.

The other victims were all children:

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