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Hillsborough accounts doctored to remove criticism of police, inquest told
Jurors must decide if corrections were part of policy to blame fans after 96 died at FA Cup match in 1989, says coroner

police officers' accounts of the Hillsborough disaster were amended to remove comments criticising police leadership or abusive remarks about fans, an inquest has heard.

Jurors sitting on the inquest into the deaths of 96 football fans at the FA Cup semi-final on 15 April 1989 will have to consider whether the changes were part of a policy to blame fans and deflect criticism from the police, coroner Lord Justice Goldring said.

Senior ranks and lawyers at South Yorkshire police reviewed all self-taken statements by officers present at the disaster and amended some of them before forwarding them on to West Midlands police, which were investigating the tragedy the inquest jury was told.

The coroner said: "Over the years between 1989 and today it has become known that a large number of statements were amended in the review. The amendments vary in type and significance.

"Some simply involve corrections of language and factual error. Others involve removing expletives. A number involved the removal of comments criticising the police leadership on the day of the disaster. Others were of deletions of passages denouncing poor and defective radio communications.

"A small number were amended to remove comments which were critical or even abusive of the fans at the match."

Goldring said the jurors would have to consider whether the amendments affect their view of the reliability of early written statements given by officers.

He added they would have to ask why the were amended to decide whether they were innocent alterations or "part of a policy of blaming fans in order to deflect criticism from the police".


Hillsborough jury hear key topics to consider during inquests

Lord Justice Goldring sets out for jury the issues anticipated to feature during Warrington hearings

 Jurors in the Hillsborough inquests were told the key topics they would have to consider before reaching a verdict.

As he finished his opening statements this morning, coroner Lord Justice Goldring set out the questions the jury might want to consider after they had heard all the evidence in the inquiry into the 96 deaths.

He said the issues which he “anticipated” would come up included the layout of the Hillsborough stadium in 1989 and the layout of the turnstiles which Liverpool fans entered the stadium through at the Leppings Lane end.

He said they would want to consider whether the layout contributed to the disaster or the deaths and if dangers should have been appreciated beforehand.

The coroner said the jury would have to consider the conduct of some fans, excluding those who died, and whether their behaviour played any part in the disaster.

He said: “I phrase it in that way because I do not believe that anyone will suggest that the conduct of those who died in any way contributed to their deaths.”

He said the jury would want to look at whether steps were taken to control the allocation and level of the crowd to stop the two central pens becoming overcrowded.

He said: “Could anything more have been done to prevent pens 3 and 4 becoming over-crowded? If so, by whom?”

The jury were also told to bear in mind how the approach of fans to the turnstiles was managed and whether a crush had developed outside the entrance.

LJ Goldring asked them to consider whether anything, or anything more, could have been done to minimise the risks.

He added: “When the exit gates were opened to relieve the crush at the turnstiles, should anything, or anything more, have been done to avoid the risk of a dangerous situation developing in pens 3 and 4?”

The jury were also told to consider the emergency response of the police, the ambulance service and the other services and whether they could have done anything more.


Hillsborough disaster inquests hear first pen portraits of the 96 victims

Moving scenes as families remember those who died in the 1989 tragedy

THE  Hillsborough  inquests heard moving pen portraits of victims of the disaster this morning.

The first personal statements was for dad-of-two  Arthur Horrocks , 41, from Bebington, and was read by son Jon on behalf of Arthur's widow Susan.

The court heard his passions were sport and music and when he was in school he would visit the Cavern Club in his lunch breaks.

He attended all the Liverpool home and away games before sons Jon and Jamie were born.

He met wife Susan when she was 12 and they attended the same church.They began "courting" when she was 16 before being married when she was 18 and Arthur was 22, the court heard.

He worked for the Prudential insurance company and the court heard many of his customers rang Susan in tears when they heard of his death.

Jon recounted one incident where Arthur had brought home a poodle from a customer who wasn't able to pay her bills.

He paid the money off for her and the dog became "part of the family".

On behalf of his mum Jon said: "This has been hardest thing I've ever had to write but hope going some way to say what a wonderful husband and best friend he was to me."

The inquests also heard from Kathleen Thompson who read a statement for  Patrick Thompson , 35.

The dad-of-five had worked as a guard for British Rail in Garston for more than 15 years.

All of his children were under six when he died.

Kathleen said: "I thank God that I met Pat, loved him and had five beautiful children with him, who everyone says are a credit to him.

"Please listen to the evidence and let my children know their dad was not a hooligan but a hard working family man who just happened to love football."

Stephen Jones gave the court his pen portrait of wife  Christine Anne Jones , 27, from Preston.

He said she was a senior radiographer at the Royal Preston Hospital who loved animals and music as well as football.

He said: "We were very happy in the four years we spent as husband and wife and I speak for all the family and indeed myself when I say she is deeply missed today."

A statement on the life of 19-year-old  Ian Whelan  was read by his dad Wilf

The court heard on the morning of the disaster he had left two red roses on the doorstep of his girlfriend's house on his way to the match.

Wilf said: "Ian was a son any family would be proud of."

He added: "He wasn't a football hooligan, he even attended Mass of his own free will every Sunday without fail.

"My family feel we have had to defend his good name for the last 25 years."

Shirley Riley gave a statement about her brother  Roy Pemberton , 23, from Hunts Cross.

She said he was the youngest of the family and "extra special" because he was the only boy.

He studied computer sciences at university and had written and sold his first piece of computer software at just 14.

She said: "Now we are left thinking about Roy and what he would have achieved. A successful career, a family and many more dreams.

"Our parents were left devastated and never truly got over his loss. Gillian and I are left with only memories of our baby brother."

A lawyer read a statement on behalf of Walter Smith, whose sister  Paula Smith , 26, from Clubmoor, died at Hillsborough.

He said she was "quiet and shy by nature" and was a constant companion to their mum.

He said they would normally go to football matches together but had only been able to get one ticket for the semi-final in 1989 so he let her have it.

He said: "I often think if I had been there with her she would still be alive today.

"Kenny Dalglish was her hero so I guess it is fitting he was at her funeral."

He added: "My mother never got over Paula's death, she was heartbroken.

"I miss my baby sister Paula, we shared so many memories."

The final of the morning's statements was for Marian McCabe , 21, from Essex, and was read out by mum Christine McEvoy.

The court heard Marian was a member of the Liverpool FC supporters' branch in London.

Christine said Marian spent most of her money on the club, on going to matches and buying shirts, caps and posters.

She told the court: "I wish that I had had a chance to treat my daughter more.

"At the time of her death she was thinking of travelling to Italy to follow England in the 1990 World Cu.

"Her grandmother had left her some money and I suggested she should use it to go to the World Cup if that's what she wanted, to treat herself."

In the end, of course, she never got the chance.

"In the words of Peter (her brother), Marian was a "giver not a taker."

"She would do whatever her little brother asked and he wasn't exactly the nicest of teenagers.

"She was such a good and generous person that no words will ever do her justice."

Emotional tributes were also paid to a boyfriend and girlfriend who died in the Hillsborough disaster.

Personal statements to Tracey Cox and Richard Jones were read out this afternoon at the new inquests into the tragedy.

Stephanie Conning, Richard's sister, read the "pen portrait" for Tracey, whose mum died last year.

Stephanie was joined in the witness box by mum Doreen Jones who read Richard's statement.

Doreen said: "My pain is centred on what Richard and Tracey missed and what our lives would be like now if they had not been killed - after all, they only went to watch a game of football."

The court heard the pair had met while on a youth hostelling holiday in the Lake District.

Doreen said: "We all loved Tracey, this clever, vibrant, funny outgoing girl who came and stayed with our family on lots of occasions.

"Richard had moved from his home in Woolton to Sheffield where he studied chemistry at university and two years later Tracey joined him to study speech therapy.

Stephanie, who was with the couple at the match that day, told the court Tracey had spent the morning of April 15 proof reading her dissertation.

She was awarded her Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree posthumously.

Stephanie said: "Tracey was the funniest girl I knew, she was the sister I never had and it was a privilege to know her and to read her pen portrait today."

Doreen said Richard was the eldest of her three children.

She said: "Ours was a happy family. There was not much money but loads of love, music humour and laughter.

"My daughter Stephanie summed it up after Richard died when she said 'we had it all'."

She added: "Our lives changed forever that awful day.

"I could not imagine my life without my son, nor did I want a life without him."

She said she had received a message from a flatmate of the couple which said: "living with Rick and Tracey I knew they were in love, I believed they were very, very happy. They had the real thing".

Doreen added: "We as a family were so lucky to have had Richard for 25 years.

"The memory of the joy he brought me runs alongside the pain of his not being here."

Stephanie took over reading the end of the statement as her mum broke down in tears.


Hillsborough inquests resume with more family tributes to victims

Hillsborough families have continued the painful process of paying tribute to their loved ones as the inquests resumed in Warrington this morning.

A representative of each of the 96 families will read out a personal statement about their relative who died to the court.

This process is expected to last until the end of the month.

So far today the court has heard updates about brothers Christopher James Traynor (26) and Kevin Traynor (16), 25-year-old Steven Brown and 17-year-old Henry Rogers.

Theresa Arrowsmith read the statement on behalf of her two brothers.

Elizabeth, Christopher’s wife and their other two brothers were also in witness box.

Theresa said Christopher was “full of life” and always saw fun side of things.

He was musical and enjoying singing Beatles songs as a child even though he didn't know all the words.

As a child used to bring dog food home when shopping with his mum even though they didn't have a dog.

He told her one day he would get a dog, and did, dressing Sheba as she became known in an LFC shirt.

He was an apprentice joiner at Cammell Laird, who worked on HMS Liverpool and married wife Lizzy in 1987.

Hillsborough “cut short” their hopes of a family.

Younger brother Kevin had been to Hillsborough in 1988 and when he heard the 1989 semi final would be held there said “oh no, not that stadium again”.

Christopher reassured him it would be OK but neither of them came home.

Theresa went on to say her 16-year-old brother Martin, who was known as Kevin, loved his sport.

He liked to take care of his appearance and, even though he was the youngest of five children, was a born leader.

Theresa says Kevin was "a brave boy", who in 1988 was stabbed above eye trying to stop an elderly neighbour from being burgled which left him with a scar.

She added: "He had a sense of adventure which never left him. He was hard working with had lots of drive and ambition.

"He had always wanted to learn to drive and own a yellow Lambourghini but died before he turned 17 in May 1989."

Theresa said when she heard of the disaster she was shopping for furniture but left some of the furniture in the shop after hearing the news.

She says she still has the same patio set with two missing chairs - a constant reminder of the two family members who never came back.

She said Christopher and Kevin’s nephews and nieces now only know their uncles as photos on the sideboard, adding: “Their names will live on in history, albeit for the wrong reasons.”

Steven's wife Sarah read movingly about her husband, telling the court how it was 'love at first sight' when they met at age 16.

She said: "I can honestly say he loved me with a passion which I never knew existed. The dedication and commitment he showed me made me giddy."

Steven desperately  wanted to start a family so he could be a daddy."

Sarah said Steven thought his world would be “complete” if he had a daughter.

Sarah: “When he found out I was pregnant and all his dreams were coming true he was over the moon.”

Sarah was six months pregnant when Steven died at Hillsborough, who had already decided on the baby's name if she was a girl, Samantha.

"He never got the chance to meet and greet his new baby, and there are no words to describe that void."

She said when daughter Samantha was born she grieved for both of them.

She said: “I have done my best to shower her with her daddy’s love, which I know would have flown in abundance.”

Henry's mum Veronica spoke about her son who was 17 when he died.

She told how he was an “entrepreneur in the making” who used to get out his copy of Financial Times when bored in French class, and wanted to study economics at either Liverpool University or the London School of Economics.

Henry was a goalkeeper who used little sister as a goalpost in her pushchair, but liked basketball, tennis and golf too.

She said: "He was straightforward, easygoing and natural. An affable soul by nature. Everyone loved Henry - teachers, adults and contemporaries.

"It was impossible to be cross with him, he was very good at losing things, he was a charmer."

Veronica also said how Henry’s older brother Adam died just months after Hillsborough.

She said the trauma of surviving Hillsborough, the loss of his younger brother and his diabetes together resulted in his death.

The absence of Henry and Adam has been “all too apparent” to her ever since.

Lynsey Hankin, who was just 12 when dad Eric, 33, died at Hillsborough, read his personal statement to the inquest.

She described her dad, who was a staff nurse at Moss Side Hospital in Maghull, as a "big friendly giant".

She said he spent hours teaching her how to ride a bike and taught her her how to swim at Crosby swimming baths.

She said when if her and younger brother David were in the car with him he would make them salute as they drove past Anfield.

She said: "A big giant-shaped hole had been left in my heart since the day he died."

She told the court she hoped the process would give the 96 victims "freedom to finally rest in peace".

an Collins read out a statement about brother Gary on behalf of their dad John.

The 22-year-old from Bootle was a quality control manager at a food factory.

Ian said: "He had his whole life ahead of him and he was excited at the prospects his future would hold."

The court heard Ian and Gary would “fight like cat and dog but if Ian was ever in trouble Gary would step in without hesitation”.

Ian said had he still been here Gary would have been uncle to three nephews and a niece.

He added: “It breaks our hearts that Gary never had the opportunity to become a father himself because he would have made such a fantastic dad.”

He told the court that to think the disaster could have been prevented was “excruciating” for the family.

Brother Mark told the court about his brother Francis, who was 27 when he died. He was a firefighter at Manchester Square station in London and played for their national football team.

Mark said told the the court that at the age of ten, "for some unknown reason", Francis decided to support Chelsea but he had later "seen the light" and started supporting Liverpool.

He added: "He could charm the birds out of the trees."

He said family and friends would describe Francis as "generous".

He added: "He was loved by his four young nieces and nephews who would look forward to his visits, which were always full of excitement.

“He would have been just as popular with the further nine nieces and nephews born too late to meet him in the flesh.”

Mark recounted a tale from their childhood of how, when on holiday in North Wales, Francis fell into a boating lake and only the fast action of their father saved him from drowning.

He added: “My father died nine years after Hillsborough, always regretting that he had not been on hand to save his son one more time."

Tributes to Nicholas Joynes, 27, from Knowsley Village, were read out by his brother Paul, with their parents and Nick's wife alongside.

Nick was a talented footballer and did at one point have trials for Liverpool, but 'didn't quite make it'.

Paul said, "Nick had a friend who was a hairdresser, meaning Nick would often come home with a variety of hairstyles, which our Dad passed comment on.

He told the inquests Nick loved music and would regularly borrow vinyl records from his brother.

He said: "After he died Nick's wife Gillian handed me some vinyl records from his collection, only to find that some of them were mine. This made us all laugh."

Nick married Gillian in September 1988, just months before Hillsborough.

Paul added: "They made such a lovely couple, they had so many dreams and a great future ahead of them.

"His death has left a massive void in our family.

"He was a wonderful son, beloved brother, adored uncle & devoted husband. All our family feel such a tremendous loss."

The final tribute of the day was to John Anderson, known as Jack, who at 62 years of age was the second oldest person to die at Hillsborough.

His voice cracking with emotion, son Brian said his dad loved nothing more than a weekend full of his grandchildren to look after.

Brian's happiest childhood memories are of going to New Brighton where John would teach him and sister Dorothy the “art of crabbing”.

He had just started to take his grandchildren there to teach them but “alas that was not to be”,

He and Brian had started to take Brian’s son to Liverpool matches where they would sit him on the wall of the Kop.

Brian says his dad had a motorbike, and he and his mum would go all over country on the bike to watch LFC.

He had been really looking forward to his retirement, Brian said.

Brian described him and his dad as "great friends" as well as father and son.

He said: "He was a family man with a romantic side to him, who married my mum on Valentine's Day."

He added: "My mum has been deprived of spending her later years with her husband. He is greatly missed."


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