Author Topic: * Inquests 2015/16 - News Only Updates *  (Read 69759 times)

Offline No666

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #40 on: July 8, 2014, 07:42:51 AM »
Hillsborough commander 'told officers any fighting would be done by police'
Police witness at inquest recounts 'battle speech' briefing in car park before semi-final where 96 Liverpool supporters died
David Conn
theguardian.com, Monday 7 July 2014 18.48 BST
Hillsborough Inquests

The South Yorkshire police officer who commanded the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough, when 96 Liverpool supporters died, gave an "eve of battle" style briefing at an earlier match, saying "any fighting would be done by the police," the inquest into the disaster has heard.

Inspector Timothy Mitchell, a constable in 1989, told the inquest that chief superintendent David Duckenfield gave the briefing in the car park at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane ground.

"He said something along the lines of: 'We don't want any fighting and if there is any fighting to be done it is going to be done by the police, not the fans.'

"I did feel it was a particularly, unusually unprofessional comment to have made," Mitchell said. "Even in the context of public order policing in the 1980s.

"It felt like a rather silly, eve of battle speech."

Mitchell described South Yorkshire police in 1989 as "extremely hierarchical", and said officers would risk being labelled troublemakers if they questioned the rationale for an order. The culture is very different now, he said; officers in today's force are "encouraged" to explain their decision-making.

David Beal, a chief inspector in 1989, described the force under the then chief constable, Peter Wright, as "regimented". He said Duckenfield would not have questioned being given command of the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest very soon before the match scheduled for 15 April 1989, despite having no experience of commanding a match at Hillsborough.

Beal said he did not believe Duckenfield's predecessor, the experienced Ch Supt Brian Mole, was transferred from his command due to a brutal "prank" involving a gun, played on a probationary constable by officers in Mole's F division.

Patrick Roche, a barrister representing 75 families who lost relatives in the disaster, asked Beal about the "prank", saying: "A number of police officers decided to subject [the probationary constable] to a fake robbery. They blindfolded him, handcuffed him and led him to believe he was being threatened with a gun. They even pulled down his trousers and photographed him."

Four police officers had to resign and seven were disciplined after the prank, Roche said. He asked:

"Is it the case that Ch Supt Mole was transferred because there was unhappiness in the way the aftermath of that matter had been handled?"

Beal replied: "That is not my knowledge of it. I understand he was transferred for career development reasons."

Mole, who had commanded Sheffield Wednesday's matches at Hillsborough and the 1987 and 1988 FA Cup semi-finals, was replaced by Duckenfield just 19 days before the semi-final.

"Was it somewhat surprising that he was transferred with effect from 27 March, between the selection of the venue and the match itself?" Roche asked. "It was surprising to me, yes," said Beal.

"Because Ch Supt Mole was a highly experienced officer, who presided over the two previous semi-finals?"

"Absolutely, yes," Beal replied.

Roche said that minutes of the first police planning meeting, on 22 March 1989, had gone missing. Beal said he believed that Duckenfield had been present, confirming that it was an "extremely important" meeting.

"So you would expect there to be minutes, to record who was present at that meeting?" Roche asked.

"Yes," Beal replied.

"Unfortunately we don't have minutes of that meeting. I don't suppose you have any idea where they might have gone?"

"No," he said.

Beal was asked about another South Yorkshire police chief inspector, Frank Brayford. Roche said Brayford would have been a candidate to be a senior officer at the semi-final but was transferred, and the inquest may hear evidence that this was because Duckenfield "did not like him".

Beal replied of Brayford: "No, he was transferred because of his behaviour, because of impropriety." The inquest continues.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/07/hillsborough-inquest-commander-briefing-officers-fighting-police
Klopp on next year’s final being in Istanbul… I told UEFA already: we will be there! Give me a few minutes!

Offline No666

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2014, 03:36:22 PM »
Hillsborough inquest: FA did not consider safety at semi-final grounds
Former FA official says safety of supporters was 'outside our remit' in 1980s when choosing FA Cup semi-final grounds

David Conn
theguardian.com, Thursday 17 July 2014 14.42 BST

The Football Association "was not interested" in the safety of supporters when selecting an appropriate ground to host an FA Cup semi-final, a former FA official has told the inquest into the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters at the 1989 Hillsborough semi-final.

The FA did not ask whether a club had a safety certificate, if it had complied with the Home Office guide to safety at sports grounds, known as the green guide, nor any other questions relating to safety, the FA's former head of competitions and regulations in 1989, Adrian Titcombe, told the inquest.

The inquest jury has already heard that Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground did not have a valid, up-to-date safety certificate and was in several different respects on the Leppings Lane terrace in breach of the green guide.

Titcombe said that in the 1980s, the FA regarded safety issues, for example "injuries due to crushing," as "outside our remit".

Titcombe said that the FA "worked on the basis that everything was in place if we were not made aware of issues" by the club itself, the local authority or police. Asked by Christina Lambert QC, for the inquest, whether any concerns were raised to the FA, football's governing body, Titcombe replied: "No, I cannot recall any club or any ground being ruled out on the basis of safety considerations."

The crushing on the Leppings Lane terrace during the 1981 FA Cup semi-final between Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers, when 38 supporters were injured and a large group evacuated from that end, did not count against Hillsborough hosting a semi-final again, Titcombe said.

FA Cup semi-finals were an important source of money for the FA, he said, so when selecting the ground, they took into account its capacity and how many seats there were, for which more money was charged, compared to the cheaper tickets to stand. The FA made a net profit of £265,000, worth £570,000 today, from selling tickets and other income for the 1989 Hillsborough semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, and more from the sale of UK and overseas TV rights.

Titcombe said there was rivalry for the hosting of semi-finals between clubs, who could keep 10% of the gate receipts. Part of their obligation was to put on a lunch for the directors and representatives of the two competing clubs, and FA "dignitaries," he explained.

"There was a certain rivalry to make the occasion as convivial, and the menu as attractive, as possible," he said.

After the 1988 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough between the same two clubs, Titcombe said he was not aware there had been congestion outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles, nor overcrowding in the terrace's central "pens". He had written to Graham Mackrell, the Sheffield Wednesday secretary, to congratulate him on the event's success, telling him that Hillsborough is "firmly reinstalled on the semi-final scene, and Doug Ellis will have to look to his laurels."

The coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, attempting to clarify that Doug Ellis was then the chairman of Aston Villa, said "Aston Martin" by mistake. There was laughter in the converted court room in Warrington.

The relevant FA committee that determined Hillsborough should host the 1989 semi-final made the decision after a discussion lasting "not more than 10 minutes," the inquest heard.

The chief executive of Liverpool football club at the time of the disaster, Peter Robinson, had telephoned the FA straight after the semi-final draw was made, to ask that unlike 1988, his club, which had a bigger support, should not be given the Leppings Lane end, but the larger allocation at the opposite end. The inquest heard that Robinson's request was not passed at all to the FA committee.

Mark George QC, for 22 families whose relatives were killed in the lethal crush in the central "pens" of the Leppings Lane terrace at the 1989 Hillsborough semi-final, put to Titcombe: "The FA was primarily concerned with raising as much money from the posh seats as possible and having a jolly good day out at the hospitality of the host club. Is that unfair?"

"Yes, I believe it is," Titcombe replied.

The inquest continues.
Klopp on next year’s final being in Istanbul… I told UEFA already: we will be there! Give me a few minutes!

Offline Zeb

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #42 on: September 2, 2014, 07:07:53 PM »
"Get back in, you f***ing Scouse b*****d" - Liverpool fan tells Hillsborough inquests police officer swore at her after escaping fatal crush


    Sep 02, 2014 12:51
    By Amy Browne


Jury hears a shocking account from a woman who was pulled out of Leppings Lane

A woman who managed to escape the crush at Hillsborough was told by a policeman to "Get back in, you f***ing Scouse b*****d".

Alison Willis (then Alison Bennett) told the inquests that officers were motioning at fans who were trying to climb over the fence at Leppings Lane as the pressure became too much for the fans trapped inside.

She told Jonathan Hough, counsel to the inquests, "They were shouting to get back in. In fact I was physically told to "get back in, you f***ing Scouse b*****d".

Ms Willis, who suffered cracked ribs and bruising to her legs and arms in the crush, said there was a policeman stood in front of them.

Mr Hough said: "What was he doing, as far as you could see?"

“Nothing,” she said.

Ms Willis was a Liverpool supporter who lived in Mansfield in 1989. She attended the match with five friends and they bought tickets from a tout for the Spion Kop end.

She had stood in that end at the 1988 semi-final at Hillsborough and said it was "horrendous" and "wasn't safe".

When they bought their tickets at the 1989 match they told a policeman what had happened the year before and they were allowed to go in the Leppings Lane end instead.

Once inside they made their way down the tunnel into pen four.

Between 2:50pm and 2:55pm Ms Willis said the pen got more and more full.

“You had no choice, when you moved forward there was no going back, you just had to go to where you was."

She got to a position where there was only her friend Stephen between her and the pitch perimeter fence.

She said it was frightening and she found it hard to breathe. "It was unbearable, absolutely unbearable."

She said she couldn't see what was happening on the pitch and people started to climb out, over the front and into pen five - the narrow sterile area.

Ms Willis said people were trying to get children out and she was helped into pen five but then had to get out onto the pitch, because the gate was still shut.

It was as she got out and onto the perimeter track, that she said the policeman standing in front of them swore at her to get back inside.

Ms Willis previously gave evidence at the Taylor Inquiry, held in the months following the disaster.

Asked by Mr Hough why she hasn’t mentioned this in her evidence before, she said: "I think the first time I went to the Taylor inquiry, to be honest, I don't even think I'd got my head around what had happened to me."

She said she was never asked again.

Ms Willis said her boyfriend David Lane remained in the pen for about 10 minutes after she got out. She said he started to go a grey colour and couldn’t breathe.

"I was just begging him to get out,” she said, and he eventually did.

She added: “Other fans were helping one another, but other than that, nobody was helping them.

“It was utter chaos. Nobody knew what was happening. It seemed like nobody had no instruction. There was no leadership telling them what to do.”

After the match, Ms Willis gave a statement to West Midlands Police.

She was taken from work to Mansfield Police Station and had to be interviewed in a police cell because she was told there was no room anywhere else.

“I couldn't believe I was in a police cell. It was intimidating,” she said.

Sam Green, representing the Police Federation, asked Ms Willis about her experience on the pitch perimeter track and if it was obvious that officers failed to appreciate what was happening

She said: "When I was stood on that running track, they could see exactly what I could see."

She said there were people standing on the running track telling them what was happening.

Mr Green asked if it was frightening for all concerned.

Ms Willis said: "Well they had a job to do. And yet there was people on the ground telling them what was happening in there, but it didn't seem to make any difference."

She said they had no leadership.

Mr Green asked Ms Willis if her memory of an officer saying "get back in there, you f***ing Scouse b*****d" is "simply a mistaken recollection".

Ms Willis said no.

Allison Munroe, on behalf of 10 of the families, also asked about the policeman in front of the perimeter fence and whether someone standing there would have heard people screaming and crying.

Ms Willis said: "I don't think they could not have heard. And it didn't look like crowd trouble. It was totally different to look at it, and the sound was different."

She said the faces of people up against the pens were distorted and in pain and as people tried to climb over the fence police officers were "physically trying to tell people to get back in".

Asked again about the comment the policeman made to her on the perimeter track, she said: "It's not a false memory, I'll never ever forget that."

Ms Willis said when she gave her police statement in the cell, she was asked about what she had had to drink and what the fans were like, but was never really asked about what happened with her and the police.

Asked about what police did on the day, she said: "A lot just stood there looking and the others didn't really know what to do. It was like they needed somebody to tell them what to do but nobody seemed to be telling them."

(Proceedings continue)

Echo
"And the voices of the standing Kop still whispering in the wind will salute the wee Scots redman and he will still walk on.
And your money will have bought you nothing."

Offline Zeb

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #43 on: September 15, 2014, 03:30:20 PM »
Hillsborough inquest: lawyer accuses coroner of lack of balance
Rajiv Menon complains that judge stopped him asking witness about the Sun's coverage after evidence saying fans were drunk

Monday 15 September 2014 15.14 BST


A lawyer representing families of the 96 people killed at the Hillsborough football ground in 1989 has protested at a lack of balance by the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, in the conduct of the new inquest into the disaster.

Rajiv Menon, who acts for the families of 75 victims, complained that the inquest had heard "hours and hours" of evidence alleging Liverpool supporters were drunk and arrived in large numbers without tickets at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. His complaint came after Goldring stopped him asking a witness, Liverpool supporter Michael Hill, about coverage of the disaster in the Sun in the days after the deaths on 15 April 1989.

Goldring's decision that a copy of the Sun should not be shown followed questioning of Hill by John Beggs QC, representing the former South Yorkshire police chief superintendent David Duckenfield and two other former senior officers in charge at Hillsborough. Beggs suggested to Hill that Liverpool fans were not "angels"; that "a cohort" of Liverpool supporters used to drink heavily at football matches, arrive without tickets, and behave badly; and that some Liverpool supporters were "worse for drink" at Hillsborough.

Hill, a chartered accountant who was 37 at the time, survived the crush in pen three of Hillsborough's Leppings Lane terrace. He said he saw "no bad behaviour" or evidence of heavy drinking that day. He said he had been incensed by media coverage afterwards, which falsely suggested Liverpool supporters had broken down a gate to force entry and alleged they had been drunk, arrived without tickets, and misbehaved. Hill told Menon the coverage that incensed him after the disaster included the front page article in the Sun, headlined "The Truth", on Wednesday 19 April 1989.

Menon asked court officials to show the jury a copy of the paper from that day, but Goldring stopped him. The coroner said he did not see the "probative value" of the edition of the Sun being put to Hill. Goldring told Menon he should "move on to some other questions".

Menon responded in front of the jury of seven women and four men: "I am concerned about this, because we have heard hours and hours and hours of evidence and questioning about drunkenness and ticketlessness [among Liverpool supporters]. There has got to be some balance."

Family members, approximately 40 of whom attended the inquest in Warrington, remained silent as the exchange took place.

Goldring maintained his ruling that the copy of the Sun should not be shown. He said: "Mr Menon, I have given my decision."

Earlier, Beggs had asked Hill in reference to reports of drunkenness and misbehaviour: "You accept that Liverpool football club did have a cohort of supporters who did behave like that over the years? You are not seeking to suggest that they were all angels are you?"

Beggs asked Hill "as a lifelong Liverpool supporter, about which there is no criticism", whether he accepted that: "Your club had a particular reputation, some of its supporters, for 'bunking in' [to a football match without having tickets] – I use the Merseyside vernacular."

Hill said supporters did go to matches without tickets in the hope of buying some at the stadium. He said supporters were more likely to go to that FA Cup semi-final without tickets because they had been allocated the Leppings Lane end, which was smaller than the opposite Kop end.

Hill said he had complained at the time that stories of Liverpool supporters being drunk or misbehaving were not borne out by what he had seen, and were not "the root cause" of the disaster.

Questioned by Pete Weatherby QC, representing 21 families, Hill said there had been nothing unusual in the crowd that day, and that it was "not some kind of baying mob". He said he had arrived outside the Leppings Lane end at 2:35pm to find "a mass of people, no queues, and no crowd control" by police.

Eventually, to relieve the crush outside the turnstiles, a large exit gate was opened – on the order of Duckenfield, the jury has already heard – and Hill entered with other Liverpool supporters. He said he was directed by a police officer to go down the tunnel leading to the terrace's central pens, where it was "very full, very, very uncomfortable," and where the lethal crush took place.

The inquest continues.


David Conn, The Guardian
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 03:42:37 PM by Zeb »
"And the voices of the standing Kop still whispering in the wind will salute the wee Scots redman and he will still walk on.
And your money will have bought you nothing."

Offline No666

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #44 on: September 18, 2014, 08:43:17 AM »
A senior police officer at Hillsborough said a new policy of letting fans “find their own level” in the Leppings Lane End was “abdicating responsibility”.

Inspector Harry White said he normally directed fans into the central pens 3 and 4, and when they were full, closed a tunnel off and sent fans down the sides.

But he said Superintendent Bernard Murray told him he didn’t like his method of herding people into pens and filling gaps.

And when he asked for extra manpower, he said he was told officers manning the back of the stand weren’t needed.

Mr White told the inquests at Warrington: “He said ‘just let them get in and let the fans just reach their own level’.

“He’d said he was in the best position in the control box to see what was happening in the pens and if they got too full or anything like that, he would take action by using his reserve serials.”

 
Mr White, who commanded 23 officers, said Supt Murray gave him the order a fortnight before the tragedy, which led to the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans.

When asked by Jonathan Hough, for the inquests, about his view, he said: “My personal opinion was we were abdicating responsibility for controlling the crowd to the fans themselves, and just leaving them to it.

“All the time that I had ever policed that end, we had always put them in the pens where we wanted them, not just leave it to them to find out.”

He said it was also “dropped on him” that day that two turnstiles were being reallocated for the north stand, which left him with a number that “wasn’t enough”.

But he said he was not aware of problems until around 2.45pm.

Inspector Harry White: Two pages of notes were deleted

He said fans with tickets were climbing over turnstiles, and he saw an “abnormal” movement of the crowd.

He said he twice called the control room but had no response, and when he went outside to look, he saw Gate C was open.

He said: “I made a very, very quick decision that, we’ve got to relieve this pressure somehow - nothing was coming from control room - and I set up using Gate C as an extra turnstile using horses and manpower. I thought there and then, people are going to get killed out there.”

Mr Hough said: “Were you concerned that people in such numbers going down the tunnel might create a problem in the pens?”

He replied: “I can only remember the terror in the turnstiles and I had to get out and find out what was happening. When you feel the terror of people at the other side, when you hear them screaming, when there is all of that noise taking place, you become immediately aware or afraid death is going to occur outside.”

Mr Hough asked if he thought to tell officers to close the tunnel.

He said: “No, I would have expected the control room, who have got the cameras on all of that, to realise something very serious was going wrong.”

Afterwards he said he was told there was a pitch invasion and expected to see “a bloodbath”.

Footage at 3.10pm showed Mr White on the pitch, helping to arrest a fan and give a young police officer his helmet back.

 
Mr Hough asked if he should have been focused on the pens.

Mr White said he couldn’t recall this incident.

But he agreed with Stephen Simblet, representing 10 families, that 3.22pm was the first time footage showed him “actually doing something to assist the emergency effort and the saving of lives”.

He successfully helped resuscitate a teenage boy, who he initially thought was dead.

He said during this time he was kicked in the back, possibly deliberately.

But Mr Simblet said video footage showed nobody kicking him.

He replied: “That is something I felt. I still believe it happened.”

Afterwards he went to the police sports club for a drink, joining Chf Supt David Duckenfield, the match day commander, Supt Murray, and other officers.

He said: “I asked Mr Duckenfield in front of everybody, ‘who opened the gate?’

“He paused, looked around, took stock of his thoughts and he said ‘the gate, the gate is down to me. It is only me that can make an order for the gate to be opened. I ordered the gate to be opened.’

“I was quite gobsmacked.”

He said someone asked if officers should make notes of the day’s events in their notebooks.

He said Mr Duckenfield replied: “‘Well they can’t do it in their notebooks because too much time has elapsed.

"Tell everybody to put everything down about today - thoughts, anything at all - but do it on plain paper’.”

Pete Weatherby, for 22 of the families, said in a statement in 1994, Mr White concluded police were to blame for the disaster.

He wrote: “It was our failure to exercise control, which resulted in the huge numbers of deaths.”

Mr White told the jury: “I identified myself with the South Yorkshire Police. It was our job to do things and it didn’t go right.”

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/senior-officer-hillsborough-tells-inquest-7789898

Two pages of notes made by Inspector Harry White about the disaster were deleted when his statement was typed up.

He told the court he did not know this “until well over 20 years later.”

But the jury heard in 1998, when Lord Justice Stuart-Smith was conducting his scrutiny of the disaster, Mr White received a letter asking about the edit.

He responded saying he was not aware of the deletion, but could understood why it had been done.

He told the court he could not give “any rationale” for the edit.

Mr White had said Chf Supt David Duckenfield’s match day briefing was “short and sharp”.

This was crossed out.

He said he did not recall being told to monitor the build up and attitude in the pens in Leppings Lane and that no mention was made of tunnel gates being used to control ingress of the crowd.

A letter to the scrutiny in 1998, from a South Yorkshire Police-instructed solicitor, explained amendments “should exclude inadmissible hearsay, comment and argument”.

Mr White agreed with Pete Weatherby QC, for 22 of the families, that his points were largely matters of fact.

The court heard a few days after Hillsborough, Mr White collapsed at work, suffering a breakdown.

He went on sick leave and never returned. He was excused from giving evidence at the Taylor Inquiry on medical grounds.

Mr White later sued South Yorkshire Police for compensation in a civil claim that went all the way to the House of Lords. But it failed over the responsibility for psychological harm.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-inquest-two-pages-senior-7789909
Klopp on next year’s final being in Istanbul… I told UEFA already: we will be there! Give me a few minutes!

Offline Zeb

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #45 on: September 18, 2014, 03:35:59 PM »
Hillsborough officer says statement was changed without his knowledge
Sgt Stephen Thomas says sections of his statement about disaster were deleted before it was submitted to Taylor inquiry

Thursday 18 September 2014 15.29 BST

A South Yorkshire police officer who was on duty when 96 people were killed at Hillsborough in 1989 has said that his statement about the disaster was changed without his knowledge or consent, and was manipulated before it was submitted to the original Taylor inquiry.

Sgt Stephen Thomas, who was on horseback outside the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday's football ground when, he said, police lost control of the crowd, said there had been no discussion with him about three paragraphs of his statement being deleted.

In his original statement, which he wrote by hand two weeks after the disaster of 15 April 1989, Thomas had written three paragraphs under the heading "Police deployment". All of that section was then deleted without his consent, he said, in the version of the statement sent to the Taylor inquiry.

The section included his opinion that police numbers were too few to maintain control of the crowd: "Once the crush started [outside the Leppings Lane entrances], the numbers of officers on foot seemed to reduce dramatically."

The section also included a paragraph in which Thomas had criticised Liverpool supporters, saying that they showed too little "consideration" when the crush started and that he believed "a high proportion" had been drinking and that "a large number without tickets were just trying their luck at the turnstiles".

Other observations critical of supporters, that they had been drinking, pushing and disregarded other people's safety were retained elsewhere in his statement.

Later, questioned by Peter Wilcock QC, representing 75 of the bereaved families, Thomas accepted that he only saw one supporter without a ticket, and that his comment that he could smell alcohol in the crowd was "unreliable".

Asked about the process by which he gave his statement after the disaster, Thomas said the order came "from the top" and was communicated by his inspector, that officers should not record the events in their official police notebook.

He said notes were always made in notebooks, that they could not later be changed without it being "obvious", and that the policeman's notebook became the prime "memory prompter" if an officer later gave evidence about an event in court. He clarified that a notebook was used to record "relatively concise factual information" such as details of times and incidents, not a full account.

Thomas agreed with Pete Weatherby QC, representing 21 families, that being told not to write in his notebook was "a highly unusual request".

He explained: "At the time, the force was run in such a way, you did as you were told."

"It was your evidence being manipulated before it went off to the Taylor inquiry, wasn't it?" Weatherby asked.

"Yes, obviously," Thomas replied.

Thomas told the jury of seven women and four men that by 2:15pm-2:30pm on the day of the disaster, the police had lost control of the crowd of Liverpool supporters who had arrived for the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. He said that supporters were pushing to try to get to the turnstiles, and he could "smell alcohol" among them.

Wilcock pointed out that in his original statement in 1989, Thomas had never said that he could smell alcohol. Thomas said in response: "I can't possibly remember whether I did or not, to be honest."

Asked if the evidence that he could smell alcohol was "unreliable", and he "should not have said it", Thomas replied: "Yes."

Of his evidence that a large number of supporters had had no tickets, Wilcock pointed out that in his statement, there was only one specific example of a supporter without a ticket – "a single youth" who had a £10 note in his hand.

"So again," Wilkcock asked him, "can we ignore your views on how many ticketless fans there were?" "Yes," Thomas replied.

Questioned by Christopher Daw QC, representing former South Yorkshire police chief superintendents Terry Wain and Donald Denton, regarding the assertion that his evidence was manipulated, Thomas said: "I felt it strange that they should take out the criticism regarding the police deployment, yes."

He agreed, however, that the criticism of the fans which was also taken out would have been helpful to anybody seeking to blame the supporters for the disaster.

The inquest, in Warrington, continues.


David Conn, The Guardian
"And the voices of the standing Kop still whispering in the wind will salute the wee Scots redman and he will still walk on.
And your money will have bought you nothing."

Offline Zeb

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #46 on: October 4, 2014, 06:16:50 AM »
Hillsborough officer: boss told ‘wicked lie’ in saying Liverpool fans forced gate
Roger Marshall says he asked for a gate to be opened to relieve a crush and admits police had lost control of crowd

Thursday 2 October 2014 22.02 BST

The South Yorkshire police superintendent in charge outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles at Hillsborough in 1989 when 96 people died has agreed that his commanding officer told a “wicked lie” when falsely accusing Liverpool football supporters of forcing open an exit gate.

Questioned by Peter Wilcock QC, representing 75 families whose relatives died in the Hillsborough disaster, Supt Roger Marshall told the new inquest into the 96 deaths that when he heard Ch Supt David Duckenfield had told that “lie”, which was then communicated to the media, “I was surprised and not a little shocked, hearing that, I really was.”

Wilcock said: “It was a wicked thing to say, wasn’t it?” After initial hesitation, Marshall said: “Yes, it was.”

Under repeated challenge by Wilcock, Marshall said he did not know of Duckenfield’s “lie” until Lord Justice Taylor’s official inquiry, which opened a month after the disaster. Marshall said that despite having met Duckenfield in the control room at Hillsborough after the disaster had happened, and then sharing a car with him to South Yorkshire police headquarters for a debrief with the chief constable, he never heard that Duckenfield had blamed Liverpool fans for forcing the gate.

He said he was told by a police counsellor not to read newspapers or watch television reports about the disaster, owing to his sense of personal responsibility, so had seen none of the media coverage about it, including Duckenfield’s comments.

On the day of the disaster, 15 April 1989, at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, Marshall asked for a gate to be opened, to relieve a crush at the turnstiles after the police had, as he admitted, “lost control” of the crowd. Duckenfield, responding to the request, ordered police to open a gate.

Marshall agreed that the tunnel inside the Leppings Lane turnstiles, facing the exit gate C, made an “obvious route” for supporters to the central pens of the overcrowded Leppings Lane terrace. He agreed that adding more people to the crowd in those overcrowded pens carried “the obvious danger of overcrowding and crushing to people in it”. The 96 Liverpool supporters who died were in the two central pens.

Marshall has already told the inquest that he did not know that each of three wide exit gates at the Leppings Lane end were identified by the letters A, B and C. He said he had “no reason” to know.

“Do you not think that is an extraordinarily complacent answer,” Wilcock asked him, arguing that it would have helped if Marshall had been able to specify which gate should be opened.

“I absolutely agree with you,” Marshall replied.

Gate C, he agreed, was the “worst possible” gate of the three to open, he accepted, because it faced the tunnel to the overcrowded pens.

Marshall told the inquest that he, Duckenfield, and Supt Bernard Murray, who was second in command in the control box, shared responsibility for the failure to send police officers to close off the tunnel when the gate was opened, and direct fans away from the overcrowded pens.

Wilcock put it to Marshall that “in your heart of hearts” he believed Duckenfield made “a fundamental mistake” by not doing that, “but you can’t bring yourself to say it for fear of being thought disloyal”.

Marshall replied: “That may be true, but I share the responsibility for that, because it is a profound regret on my part that I did not say to control: ‘There is a mass of people coming in through the gates. Please ensure there is a reception committee to meet them.’ So it is not just David Duckenfield’s or Bernard Murray’s responsibility.”

Wilcock put it to Marshall that in his public statements after the disaster he had sought to “smear” Liverpool fans by saying the disaster was caused by fans who had drunk too much and arrived late, some without tickets. He had referred to the supporters in evidence as “an army”.

Marshall said he wrote of his Hillsborough experiences in his police notebook, but that had never been recovered, the inquest jury was told. In his first statement, he did not write about police failings, and referred to misbehaviour by supporters, but not to their efforts to save people as the disaster unfolded.

Marshall said it was not the purpose of his statement to write a “litany” of police failures, and he had referred at the Taylor inquiry to supporters helping in the aftermath, although many were hostile, he said.

Marshall was referred to a letter his solicitor had written in response to a complaint in 1990 by three sets of parents whose children were killed at Hillsborough – those of John McBrien, who was 18, Sarah and Victoria Hicks, 19 and 15 respectively, and Richard Jones, 25, who died with his girlfriend Tracey Cox, 23.

The letter, which was written by his solicitor, Vincent Hale, and which Marshall confirmed he had read, said that these parents’ children “had obviously entered the ground early to be at the front, were not guilty of whatever is alleged against those who came late and caused the unstoppable crush which was the actual cause of the deaths.”

In fact, Wilcock told the inquest, Richard Jones was one of the supporters allowed in through gate C at 2.52pm, and more than 30 of the 96 people who died came through gate C at that time, shortly before kick-off.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” Marshall replied. “I thought the number [who came through gate C and died] was much smaller than that.”

The 1990 letter said that if the three sets of parents continued with their complaints against Marshall, “the truth concerning the fans mentioned [who Marshall was alleging were drunk, late, irresponsible and had been a “primary cause” of the deaths] will come out, and may rub off on to other innocent fans.”

Wilcock put to Marshall that that was a “threat” to the McBrien, Hicks and Jones parents that “their children will be tarred with the same brush as the people you say caused this disaster”.

Marshall said that he had not perceived it as a threat, but ultimately agreed with Wilcock that the letter had been “offensive.”

“This exemplified the attitude you had in 1989 and 1990 to this terrible disaster, doesn’t it?” Wilcock asked, referring to the allegations of hooliganism and misbehaviour. “This was your mindset.”

Marshall replied that it had been very difficult to police football hooliganism in the 1970s and 80s and said he maintained that the problems outside Leppings Lane, leading him to lose control and call for the opening of the gate, were caused by a “significant minority” of Liverpool supporters who had been drinking too much, arrived late and were determined to get into the ground.

Wilcock put to him: “Many families, including Doreen Jones [Richard Jones’ mother], who I represent, have lived with the smear that her son – and I ask this question on behalf of her son but I could do it on behalf of many others – who went through gate C, was somehow responsible for his own death.

“Will you take the opportunity now to apologise to her for suggesting anything other than the fact that he was an entirely innocent victim of this disaster, as was each and every person who died?”

“I will sir, yes,” Marshall replied.

Doreen Jones and her daughter, Stephanie Conning, who went to the match at Hillsborough with her brother and Tracey Cox, and survived, were in court to hear Marshall give his evidence.

The inquest continues.


David Conn, Guardian
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #47 on: October 8, 2014, 09:35:43 PM »
Key witness claims drunk, late and ticketless Liverpool FC fans need to take their share of responsibility for Hillsborough tragedy

    Oct 08, 2014 20:31
    By Joe Thomas

Supt Roger Marshall claims minority of Liverpool supporters have some blame for disaster




Drunk, late and ticketless Liverpool fans should take their share of the responsibility for the Hillsborough tragedy according to a key witness at the new inquests.

Former Superintendent Roger Marshall stressed he was not passing blame onto fans, but that some should accept a degree of responsibility for the disaster.

On his final day of giving evidence, Mr Marshall refused to criticise other senior officers individually, instead arguing they had a “collective responsibility” for the events of April 15, 1989.

Day 81 of the new Hillsborough inquests saw Supt Marshall re-iterate his “profound regret” at what happened in the build up to the disaster.

He told the jury he accepted responsibility for not asking for the kick-off to be delayed and he regretted not calling for officers to meet fans who entered the ground through Exit Gate C.

But, under questioning from John Beggs QC, who is representing Mr Marshall and retired Supts David Duckenfield and Roger Greenwood, he criticised a minority of Reds fans for their behaviour before the match.

Mr Marshall told the jury he stood by his claims in a previous statement that: “As time progressed, I’m sorry to say that the co-operation [of fans outside turnstiles] was not evident.

“Neither was self-discipline, neither was self control, neither was a mutual respect for anybody else.”

When asked by Mr Beggs about those fans who had either drunk alcohol, arrived late or without a ticket, Mr Marshall agreed all he wanted was for everyone who contributed to that “most terrible tragedy” to accept a “measure of responsibility” for the disaster.

He added he had never seen those Liverpool fans accept this.

And, concluding his evidence, Mr Marshall confirmed it is his belief some Liverpool fans have a responsibility for the tragedy because he thinks it is “the truth”.

In an intense morning of evidence, Mr Marshall would not condemn match commander David Duckenfield for not leaving the police control box at Hillsborough between 2pm and 3pm - despite agreeing it was not best practice.

He also disputed claims those officers in the control box, including Mr Duckenfield, had the best view of the Leppings Lane pens filling up before kick-off.

Supt Marshall did, however, agree it was a “critical failure” for the police not to organise a reception committee for fans entering the Leppings Lane end through Exit Gate C after it had been opened.

And, asked if he thought Ch Supt Brian Mole - who had overseen policing for the 1988 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough but had been moved by the force before the 1989 match - would have thought to do this, Supt Marshall agreed it is likely he would have done.

He then acknowledged it was probably a mistake to move the experienced match commander so close to such a big game.

When questioning turned to Supt Marshall’s own decision making, he admitted he was heavily influenced by his team of officers .

After discussing their roles Paul Greaney QC, representing the Police Federation, said: “I do have to ask you in those circumstances whether you made any decisions of your own that day in relation to the management of the crowd?”

Accepting he “probably” did not, Mr Marshall told the court: “I was overwhelmed by the noise...you couldn’t hear yourself speak...[but] when the time came for a crucial decision to be made I didn’t hesitate from making that decision.”

It was also revealed in court yesterday Supt Marshall - despite being tasked with overseeing the Liverpool fans ahead of the match - had received no crowd safety training from South Yorkshire Police.

Asked if this was a “disgrace” he claimed his training was done in accordance with the perceived needs of the situation and that SYP was a “jolly good force”.

Echo

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #48 on: October 9, 2014, 08:38:22 AM »
Hillsborough inquests: Leppings Lane chief ‘made no crowd control decisions’
Court hears Roger Marshall agree that letting Liverpool fans into stadium tunnel at 1989 FA Cup match was a ‘critical failure’

Wednesday 8 October 2014 16.00 BST



The South Yorkshire police superintendent who was in charge outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles at the 1989 FA Cup match at Hillsborough when 96 people died, has told the new inquest into the deaths that he did not make any decisions of his own to manage the crowd that day.

Roger Marshall, questioned by Paul Greaney QC, representing the Police Federation, agreed that he had supported the decisions of two more junior officers – which was first to close Leppings Lane to traffic, then, once the police had lost control of the crowd, to request the opening of a large exit gate.

“I do have to ask you, in these circumstances,” Greaney asked Marshall, “whether you made any decisions of your own that day in relation to the management of the crowd?”

Marshall, who is now retired, replied: “In terms of saying, ‘do this, do that, do the other’, the answer is probably no.”

The inquest is taking place at Birchwood park, Warrington, before the appeal court judge Lord Justice Goldring, who is also in the role of coroner.

In court Marshall explained that he was “a visible presence” in the crowd of Liverpool supporters attending the semi-final against Nottingham Forest, and that he trusted he had “a good team” of police officers around him.

He said he had been overwhelmed by the noise of the crowd at Leppings Lane, when congestion developed outside seven turnstiles through which 10,100 Liverpool supporters had to enter the Hillsborough ground. The police radios were not working, Marshall said, and he could not give orders “other than by waving your hands about”.

When the time came for the “crucial decision,” to open the exit gate and allow large numbers of Liverpool supporters to enter and alleviate the crush outside, he “did not hesitate”, Marshall said of his actions.

Greaney suggested that the request to open the gate was an endorsement of the advice of another officer, Bob Purdy, an inspector.

“Do you think you should have been making your own decisions about what to do, and giving instructions?” Greaney asked.

“Well,” Marshall responded, “the opportunity was very, very, limited. I just feel that I was doing my best, as were all the other officers.”

Goldring intervened when Marshall said under questioning, as he had throughout his previous three days of evidence, that he was not going to criticise David Duckenfield, the chief superintendent and officer in command at Hillsborough, or other senior police.

“It isn’t a question of whether you want to,” Goldring told Marshall, “it is about answering the question.”

After that, Marshall did accept that “with the benefit of hindsight, it was probably not the best practice” of Duckenfield to have stayed in the police control room at Hillsborough throughout the crowd’s build up.

Brian Mole, a chief superintendent and experienced commander at football matches, who was moved from the division responsible for the Hillsborough stadium, in Sheffield, to Barnsley 19 days before the semi-final, used to leave the control room and walk round the ground, Marshall confirmed. He said that Mole had been “extremely capable,” and “a good deal more experienced than Mr Duckenfield”.

In relation to the opening of the exit gate, and the police failure to meet incoming fans and direct them away from the tunnel leading to the overcrowded central pens of the terrace, Greaney said to Marshall: “If Mr Mole had made the decision to open gate C, he wouldn’t have done so without deciding he was going to manage the consequences?”

“I think so, yes,” Marshall replied.

Marshall had previously told the inquest that he regretted having not asked for police to meet fans let through the exit gate. Most did go through the tunnel leading to the terrace pens, and that is where the terrible crush happened, which led to deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters.

“That was the critical failure wasn’t it, Mr Marshall?” Greaney asked, referring to the failure to direct fans away from the tunnel.

“Yes, I will accept that, absolutely,” Marshall said.

“But at the end of the day they [Duckenfield and Bernard Murray, a superintendent, in the control room] are the ones who should have been making those decisions?”

“Yes,” Marshall said.

He told Greaney that he had not been given a single day’s training in crowd safety during his police career and before that 1989 football match which attracted a crowd of 54,000. Asked if this was a disgrace, Marshall said they had training relevant to their needs, which was mainly to do with policing disorder and industrial disputes, including the miners’ strike.

“The South Yorkshire police was a jolly good force,” Marshall said.

Asked by Greaney if he was prepared to agree it was unacceptable for senior officers to have had no such training, when he was responsible for the safety of thousands of people arriving at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough, Marshall replied: “Yes.”

Later, he said that health and safety practices did not have the emphasis in the 1980s that they did now, that the focus of the force was on the investigation and suppression of crime, and that the training at South Yorkshire police was in step with that of other forces.

Finally questioned by his own QC, John Beggs, Marshall accepted that he had responsibility, which he profoundly regretted, for not asking that the match kick-off be delayed when the crowd congestion built up at the turnstiles, and for not asking for fans to be met inside the ground when the gate was opened.

He also acknowledged “deficiencies” in the police planning for the match, including a failure to make clear in the written operational order that the central pens had to be carefully monitored by police, and that the central tunnel was to “be closed if appropriate”.

Marshall also agreed that there was “a natural bottleneck” at the Leppings Lane, an insufficiency of turnstiles, and that the signage was poor.

He agreed with Beggs, however, that a significant and influential minority of Liverpool fans had drunk a lot of alcohol, from early that morning, that approximately 200 people had no tickets which made the congestion worse, and that many arrived late.

Marshall said that when the crowd became congested, supporters still arriving at the back continued to push when they could have withdrawn, that they did not exercise self-discipline and did not co-operate with instructions given by him and other police to stop pushing.

Beggs suggested to Marshall that while he had accepted his responsibility relating to the disaster, his position was that there were many causes to the disaster, including the role of the supporters.

“Some of the Liverpool fans have a responsibility for what occurred, the situation which arose?” Beggs asked.

Marshall agreed. “Because it is the truth, isn’t it?” Beggs said. “It is,” Marshall said.

“But have you ever seen any such responsibility accepted?” Marshall replied: “No sir, no.”

The inquest continues.

David Conn, The Guardian
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #49 on: October 9, 2014, 05:35:16 PM »
A very significant day in court.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/oct/09/police-crowd-safety-hillsborough-inquest?CMP=twt_gu

A former South Yorkshire police inspector who was on duty at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough when 96 people were crushed to death has said he believed before the match that the approach to the stadium’s Leppings Lane turnstiles was a “death trap” and that police had “got away with” crowd safety for years before the disaster.

Gordon Sykes also told the inquest into the disaster that there was “a big problem” with managing safety at Hillsborough if there was an inexperienced chief superintendent in overall command, as happened in 1989.

Sykes said he had been unimpressed by Ch Supt David Duckenfield, who was promoted 19 days beforehand to command the match at which 54,000 people were expected, sensing he was “weak and didn’t have a clear idea of what a semi-final entailed”.

However, questioned by Christina Lambert QC, for the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, Sykes agreed that after the disaster he had not raised these concerns with the Police Federation or the South Yorkshire police chief constable, Peter Wright.

Instead, Sykes told the Police Federation secretary, Paul Middup, and local Conservative MP Irvine Patnick, at the police’s Niagara social club on the night of the disaster, 15 April 1989, that Liverpool supporters had been drunk and that he had been kicked while trying to attend to people in the disaster.

He also told Middup that after the lethal crush, when he was trying to resuscitate a young woman whose breasts had become exposed, one Liverpool supporter had shouted from the stand above: “Throw her up here and I’ll fuck her.”

Michael Mansfield QC, representing 75 families whose relatives were killed in Hillsborough’s Leppings Lane “pens,” challenged Sykes that he had made up that incident to besmirch supporters, which Sykes refuted. He agreed that he had approached Patnick in the Niagara club and offered to tell him “the truth,” and that he was aware the stories were going to “the highest level” - the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who was coming to Sheffield the following day, home secretary Douglas Hurd and sports minister Colin Moynihan.

Mansfield accused Sykes of lying when after offering Patnick the truth, instead of telling the MP that he had known and had been warning for years that the ground was a deathtrap, Sykes had instead alleged fans’ misbehaviour, the incident with the woman, and urged Patnick to tell the police’s story in parliament that “it was booze that did it.”

“That was a lie, wasn’t it?” Mansfield asked.

“Absolutely not,” Sykes replied.

“We have just been through this issue about what went wrong, the dangerous end at Leppings Lane, so what you are doing here, beginning with you, particularly you, is creating in the mind of a public servant, an MP, that in fact it is alcohol and it is the Liverpool fans,” Mansfield said.

“No,” Sykes maintained, “that wasn’t my intention at all. I didn’t go any further to talk about the ground or the dangers; that [the incident with the woman] were just one thing that were said there and then.”

Those stories, including the alleged abusive language of one supporter towards the young woman, then appeared in the Sun on Wednesday 19 April 1989, along with other police claims about Liverpool supporters’ alleged misbehaviour, under the headline “The Truth”.

The article said South Yorkshire police officers “hit back” to “reveal their side of the story” after press criticism of the force’s policing at Hillsborough and to counter the alleged painting of Liverpool supporters as “lilywhite”.

It quoted an unnamed high-ranking officer describing the Liverpool fans as “just acting like animals” at Hillsborough. Sykes told the inquest that the unnamed officer was not him.

Sykes said he believed he had spoken to Middup and Patnick in the Niagara club in confidence, and had not expected his stories to appear in the press, although minutes of a Police Federation meeting on 19 April, the day the Sun story appeared, do not record him making that point.

With other senior officers who had been on duty at Hillsborough, Sykes also attended a debriefing with Wright, the chief constable, on 16 April, the morning after the disaster.

Wright also attended the Police Federation meeting, at which he talked about a need to “pull the case of the South Yorkshire police together”, and said accounts that “drunken behaviour of fans was a cause of the disaster needed to be reflected in officers’ statements”.

Wright let it be known, Sykes agreed, that he was giving Middup “carte blanche to put the record straight”.

Sykes told the inquest that there had been crushing in front of Hilsborough’s turnstile area at several previous matches, in which he feared people could have been killed.

The approach was a bottleneck, he said, and the narrow layout, with iron gates on the concourse in front of the turnstiles, created “nooks and crannies” in which people could become dangerously trapped.

Sykes said he had believed before 1989 that the turnstiles approach was a death trap and said he had made that observation clear to senior officers several times.

“Death trap is a strong word,” Lambert said to him.

“Yes,” he said, “but that is what I honestly believed.”

Sykes said that under the command of the previous, experienced officer, Ch Supt Brian Mole, police used to manage the problems of congestion at Leppings Lane by trying to place cordons in front of arriving crowds, or using police horses, but the area made orderly queues “totally impossible”.

On four previous occasions, he thought, they had alleviated the pressure by opening a large exit gate, C, and allowing large numbers of supporters inside the ground.

Whenever that was done, he said, an order would be given to the control room, which was commanded by Mole, to block off the tunnel inside, which led to the central area of the Leppings Lane terrace.

This was not done by Duckenfield in 1989 when gate C was opened to relieve the crush in the turnstiles area, and the lethal crush happened in the terrace’s central pens.

Asked about the police management of crowd safety at Leppings Lane, Sykes said: “Up to 1989, I’m going to put it bluntly: we got away with it.”

Lambert said Duckenfield had given a briefing the day before the match, 14 April 1989, in which he said he wanted to see “firm but fair policing”. She asked Sykes what he had thought that meant.

“I haven’t a clue,” he replied. He said it was meaningless, that the briefing was “not inspiring”, and that he sensed that Duckenfield was “weak and didn’t have a clear idea of what a semi-final entailed”.

Approximately 100 people who lost relatives in the disaster 25 years ago, most of them parents whose children died, were in the converted courtroom in Warrington, listening silently to the evidence.

Lambert challenged Sykes about whether he had mentioned his safety concerns in the debriefing and other meetings after the disaster. She said the minutes of neither meeting recorded him expressing such observations.

“You were in a very good position, weren’t you, to do that which the chief constable invited officers to do, which is to reveal the saga of the stadium?” Lambert asked him. “At what stage did you first voice your concerns relating to the Leppings Lane turnstiles configuration?”

In a low voice, Sykes replied: “I honestly can’t remember. I can’t just put a timetable on it.”

The inquest continues.
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2014, 02:24:21 AM »
Hillsborough inquest: PC says police chiefs tried to blame junior officers
Police and ambulance service response to disaster which claimed 96 lives was ‘chaos’

Senior police officers tried to “scapegoat” Liverpool supporters and junior officers for the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 96 people died, a constable who was on duty at the Sheffield Wednesday ground has claimed.

Fiona Nicol also told the new inquest into the disaster, at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest attended by 54,000 people, that the police and ambulance service response was “chaos.’’

“No thought” was given in instructions to officers that they should monitor the safety of the crowd.

She felt, and was told, that senior South Yorkshire officers were trying to “scapegoat” her and other junior officers, who had been on duty in front of the overcrowded central “pens” of the Leppings Lane terrace. However, at the official inquiry by Lord Justice Taylor, which reported in August 1989, it “didn’t work out that way,” she said. The jury of seven women and four men has heard that Taylor principally blamed police mismanagement for the disaster, and not ‘‘drunk’’ supporters.

Talking to the current police investigation into the disaster, Operation Resolve, Nicol said: “I have always felt aggrieved towards senior officers of South Yorkshire police who I believe tried to divert the blame for what happened onto junior officers and the fans.”

Asked if she still felt aggrieved, she replied: “I have always felt that, yes. To this day.”

Nicol, who had been a policewoman for five years at the time of the disaster, said when severely injured people emerged from the lethal crush in the Leppings Lane pens, police officers were “just stood around” and she saw no ambulance or medically trained staff. With about 50 people whose relatives died at Hillsborough listening to her give evidence in the Warrington courtroom, Nicol said she did not see any senior officers on the pitch giving instructions about dealing with the injured and dead people.

“The fans were helping me more than ...” Nicol said. “The fans were helping me a lot.”

Nicol said that when preparing for the match and in the pre-match briefing by the officer in charge, Ch Supt David Duckenfield, officers understood their duties were mainly looking for “troublemakers” in the crowd, not to look out for their wellbeing.

“Was any part of your role to monitor the safety of the crowd in the terrace?” Christina Lambert QC, for the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, asked her: “No, no thoughts at all, I’m afraid,” Nicol replied.

She said that officers like her, stationed at the high fence around the pitch and in front of the pens, were told not to open the gates in the fence to allow people out, unless they had an order from a senior officer. This was because senior officers “wanted the match to go smoothly,” she said, without supporters being allowed to move around the pitch to different places in the terraces.

She clearly remembered Duckenfield giving that instruction in his pre-match briefing. The exception, which was included in the South Yorkshire force’s written operational order, that the gates could be opened for fans needing medical attention, was not communicated to them, Nicol said, and she never saw the written order.

Duckenfield, the jury has heard, was promoted to chief superintendent, to command the match, and South Yorkshire police’s Sheffield F division, replacing the previous experienced Ch Supt, Brian Mole, 19 days before the semi-final. She said after Duckenfield’s appointment, he had told all officers he was “there to sort everyone out, and if anyone stepped out of line, they would be dealt with.” The order not to open the gate stuck in her mind, Nicol said, and she understood it was “to be listened to.”

As the overcrowding grew in the pens, she agreed with Rajiv Menon QC, representing 75 of the bereaved families, she and other officers were “too late” to recognise the seriousness of the problems. She also agreed it was the responsibility of Duckenfield and other senior officers in the Hillsborough police control room to ensure the pens did not become overcrowded because they had “a bird’s eye view.”

A cub scout leader, who had six or seven boys with him, asked her to let them out because they were uncomfortable. She told him she could not, because she was not allowed to open the gate. But then she saw a boy “very upset,” and let them out.

“I did think at the time: I’m going to be in real trouble for this,” she said.

When, after 3.04pm, the gates were opened, and people in distress began to spill onto the pitch, Nicol helped to carry two injured people to an ambulance. She had received “very basic” first aid training which was “inadequate” and no training in recognising a medical emergency. Nor was she aware of the South Yorkshire police’s major incident plan to deal with emergencies. On the pitch, she checked the pulses and breathing of some collapsed people, and put some on their side in the recovery position.

“When I looked around I did see police officers and fans all giving CPR [cardio-pulmonary resuscitation)] but there were a lot of people just stood around, including, unfortunately, police officers – and fans. I could never understand why people weren’t helping more.”

She said that with one injured person, when she reached the far side of the pitch, there was an ambulance, but no driver. A police colleague told her: “Get him in here, I’ll drive,” and they went to the Royal Hallamshire hospital.

Lambert asked her: “Your impression overall of the recovery procedure?”

The PC replied: “Chaos.”

She said that two days after the disaster, senior officers told her not to write an account of what had happened in her official police notebook, but to make handwritten “notes” on plain paper – the only time this has ever happened in her now 28 years police service. A senior officer, she said, was taking her account out of the small room, on the fourth floor of the force’s Snig Hill headquarters, while she was writing it, and she felt “extremely intimidated.”

The officer “encouraged” her to change her description of the central pen of the Leppings Lane terrace from “full.” She changed it to “three quarters full,” which she “plucked out of the air.” Nicol said she rewrote the whole page, so nobody would know the account had been changed.

Questioned by Mark George QC, representing 22 families whose relatives died in the crush, Nicol agreed it was “wrong” of the senior officer to encourage her to rewrite her account.

“This time round, I have mentioned it,” she said. “It has bothered me for 20-odd years.”

The inquest continues.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/oct/16/hillsborough-inquest-police-chiefs-accused
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #51 on: October 21, 2014, 02:30:12 AM »
Hillsborough inquest: chief inspector is told ‘you are covering up your cover-up’
David Beal strongly objected to allegations that he was a key figure in the alleged cover-up, and changed police statements

A South Yorkshire police officer who was allegedly involved in changing another officer’s statement and worked for an internal evidence-gathering unit after the Hillsborough disaster has denied being “a key figure in the cover-up” that allegedly followed.

David Beal, a chief inspector in the force on 15 April 1989, when 96 people died at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, also told the new inquest into the disaster that he was offended by the accusation that his inability to recollect conversations with officers afterwards amounted to him “trying to cover up your cover-up”.

Beal denied that South Yorkshire police had set out to “smear” Liverpool supporters and to blame them for causing the disaster, and that the force decided to collect evidence of alleged heavy drinking by fans to support this campaign. He also said that every official notebook completed by officers who were on duty at Hillsborough may have been destroyed by South Yorkshire police, due to a force policy of destroying notebooks after seven years, although Beal’s notebook starting three days later, 18 April 1989, survives.

Beal told the inquest he cannot now recall any conversations he had with Ch Supt Brian Mole, the officer experienced in commanding football matches at Hillsborough, who was replaced by the inexperienced Ch Supt David Duckenfield, 19 days before the semi-final.

Beal said that after the disaster, when he was working for Mole and contributing background “research” to a South Yorkshire police report – known as the “Wain report” after another of the senior officers involved with it – he did not recall Mole discussing what had caused the lethal crush on the Leppings Lane terrace.

Patrick Roche, representing 75 families whose relatives died at Hillsborough, put to Beal: “Are you seriously trying to tell this jury that you and Mr Mole never discussed what had gone wrong?”

Beal replied: “I am seriously telling the jury that 25 years later I do not have recollection of conversations with Mr Mole.”

“What I suggest to you,” Roche continued, “is you were one of the key figures in the cover-up.”

“I strongly object to the word ‘cover-up’,” Beal said. “I wasn’t a key figure in any cover-up. I’m sorry, but I’m offended by that, I really am.”

“You were a key figure in the cover-up,” Roche put to him, “and you are reverting to the pretence you can’t remember what happened because you are afraid to give any detail, any honest answers about what happened.”

“That’s totally, totally incorrect and out of order,” Beal replied.

The court heard that in May 1989,Beal had personally ordered a constable, Michael Walpole, to the force’s headquarters. Walpole had been on duty in the control room at Hillsborough and was refusing to change his statement about what happened, which was to be forwarded to the official inquiry by Lord Justice Taylor. Walpole told the current, new investigation into the disaster that he feared being disciplined and bullied, after Beal told him to see another chief inspector, Alan Foster, and talk about his refusal to sign an altered statement.

“I did find it strange that the message to attend wasn’t just passed to me from either control room or a telephone call,” Walpole told the new investigators, in an interview that was read to the inquest. “I remember this made me feel as though I was in trouble, and I would be disciplined if I did not do as I was told.

“From my experience I knew that officers who did not toe the line would suffer from bullying by supervisors and their careers would suffer.”

Beal confirmed to the inquest that he had given the order to Walpole to attend at headquarters, but said he had done so out of “protocol”, and had not known what Ch Insp Foster wanted to discuss.

He was referred to changes made after the disaster to an account given by another police constable, Michael Goddard, who had also been on duty in the police control room at Hillsborough. Goddard had referred to the police radios, which did not work properly in 1989, not working in 1988 either, when pop music came through them for long periods. This reference to the previous year’s semi-final was deleted from a new version of Goddard’s statement, and a replacement paragraph, in Beal’s handwriting, was shown to the jury. Goddard has since told investigators he knew “absolutely nothing” about the changes that were made to his statement.

Beal said he had not made the changes, and had only been recording the changes that had been made by somebody else; he said he did not know by whom.

The inquest heard that another police constable, Anthony Holmes, told the Independent Police Complaints Commission, in March this year, that Beal personally put pressure on him to agree changes to his statement, which were being urged on Holmes by West Midlands police, the force appointed to investigate the disaster.

The court was read Holmes’ account to the IPCC, in which he described a meeting with Beal, on the fourth floor of South Yorkshire police’s Snig Hill headquarters, at which he said Beal became “agitated,” “stricter,” and told Holmes he could not understand why he would not do “what was being asked.” Beal said in response: “I don’t recall this happening at all.”

He agreed with Roche that pressurising a police officer to change his statement, which Beal denied doing, would amount to perverting the course of justice, a criminal offence.

Questioned by Pete Weatherby QC, representing 22 families whose relatives died in the disaster, Beal confirmed that his official police notebook covering the disaster itself has not subsequently been found, although a notebook he started on April 18 1989, three days later, was retained. Beal said it was possible this was due to the South Yorkshire police policy, to destroy notebooks seven years after they were completed.

“Is that a sensible answer,” Weatherby asked him. “Are you seriously suggesting that the [notebook] dealing with the disaster is destroyed, and from three days after the disaster they have survived?”

“No,” Beal said, “but what I am suggesting to you is that every book prior to that will have been destroyed, or may have been destroyed.”

Questioned by Jonathan Hough, for the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, Beal said he could not recall his involvement in the “review” of statements, but he was not “troubled” by it, because it was done on the instruction of South Yorkshire police’s solicitors, Hammond Suddards. He said he did not find it “odd” that he could not remember what Hough called “quite a remarkable process, the changing of officers’ statements for a judicial inquiry of this importance”, because: “My powers of recollection for this entire process has been difficult.”

Roche put to him: “Isn’t this true: you were involved in the cover-up and you are now trying to cover up your cover-up?

“Do I need to reply to that question?” Beal responded.

“Yes,” said Roche.

“I’m totally offended by it, and I still think you are out of order.”

Approximately 50 people whose relatives died in the disaster, mostly parents who lost children, listened quietly in the converted courtroom in Warrington as Beal gave his evidence.

The inquest continues.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/oct/20/hillsborough-inquest-ch-insp-is-covering-up-his-cover-up
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #52 on: November 7, 2014, 03:37:11 PM »
Hillsborough inquest: two CCTV tapes stolen from ground, court hears.

Two video tapes containing CCTV footage of events at Hillsborough football ground, which left 96 people dead in 1989, were stolen from Sheffield Wednesday’s control room soon after the disaster, the new inquest into the tragedy has been told.

Roger Houldsworth, an electronics engineer responsible for the Hillsborough CCTV system at the time, has told a court he believes the thief must have thought the tapes showed the large exit gate being opened on police orders at 2:52pm that day. The jury has heard that this allowed large numbers of Liverpool supporters into the ground for the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. They went into overcrowded central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace, where the lethal crush happened. In fact, the tapes did not contain footage of the gate being opened; they were fed from two other cameras at the ground.

Questioned by Jason Beer QC, representing Sheffield Wednesday, Houldsworth said he ejected the tapes from their recorders at between 4.15pm and 4.30pm, after the disaster had happened. He locked the control room and set the alarm around two hours later. Houldsworth said he did leave the room during those two hours to deliver documentation to the club’s secretary, Graham Mackrell, and that may have been the time the theft was committed. However, he rejected Beer’s suggestion that “hundreds of people were milling around” that part of the football ground at that time.

“There may have been a few bobbies,” Houldsworth said.

Houldsworth also said that South Yorkshire police officers have since falsely claimed that their camera, which was trained on the terrace’s overcrowded central pens, or the monitor showing its view, were not working. He also rejected a police claim that the force had no surviving video footage of the central pens at the time of the crush because an officer may have accidentally turned off the recorder with his knee.


“All I can say is that they must have had very pointy knees,” Houldsworth told the jury. He told the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, that he believed it was “nigh on impossible” to turn the video recorder off accidentally, because the buttons to record and stop were small and very tactile. The police could decide not to record footage from that camera, Houldsworth said, but the camera was operational, and all the monitors worked.

Houldsworth said he was watching the scenes the police cameras were filming on the monitors in the club’s control room. When the police ordered the large exit gate to be opened to relieve congestion outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles, Houldsworth said he could see on his own monitors that the police camera showed the central pens already overcrowded. He said he expected to hear an order over the police radio to close the tunnel leading to those central pens, so that supporters would not go down it, but none was given. Houldsworth had seen the tunnel closed off with temporary metal barriers the previous year, he said, when the pens were full at the 1988 FA Cup semi-final between the same two clubs.

When the exit gate was opened at the 1989 match, he said, he became concerned about the overcrowding in the central pens. Beer asked him: “You looked at the monitor that displayed the police cameras to see what it was showing, and it was showing a view of the Leppings Lane terrace?”

“Correct,” Houldsworth replied.

Beer said there has been police evidence that the camera was not working, that it was “flaring”, that its monitor was not working and that video footage has not survived because the recorder was accidentally turned off by somebody’s knee. Houldsworth rejected all those claims; he said he had fixed a problem with camera 5 in the morning of the match, and made sure the camera and all monitors were working.

The inquest continues.

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #53 on: November 18, 2014, 10:37:47 AM »
Senior Hillsborough police officer denies blaming Liverpool fans
Roger Greenwood, then South Yorkshire police superintendent, tells inquest that other police officers praised his actions



The senior South Yorkshire police officer who was in charge inside the Hillsborough football ground in 1989 when 96 people died has denied subsequently blaming Liverpool fans’ behaviour for the disaster because he failed to show leadership on the day.

Roger Greenwood, a superintendent at the time, giving his third day of evidence to the new inquest into the 96 deaths, said he never sought to blame those who died, or other supporters, after the disaster. “I received some very complimentary remarks from police officers, in terms of my actions,” he said.

Greenwood said he would refute entirely an assertion from Mark George QC, representing 22 families whose relatives died in the disaster, that his conduct on the day could be characterised as “incompetent on a grand scale”.

In a meeting with the South Yorkshire police chief constable, Peter Wright, and other senior officers, at 9am the day after the disaster, which occurred on Saturday 15 April 1989, Greenwood talked about Liverpool fans’ behaviour, saying they would turn “nasty” when things went against them, and describing two incidents of disorder from the mid-1980s.

Stephen Simblet, a barrister representing 75 families whose relatives were killed in the crush on the central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, asserted that Greenwood had failed to respond to the crush in several ways. He did not implement the police’s own major incident plan – Greenwood said that was for the officers in the police control box to do. Simblet asserted that he failed to call for ambulances, as only one St John Ambulance came on to the pitch – Greenwood said he sent a sergeant to the corner of the Hillsborough pitch to alert an ambulance.

Putting to Greenwood that he reacted inadequately to the lethal crush as it was occurring, Simblet had a photograph shown on the court sceens timed at 3:03pm on the day, in which Greenwood was seen standing on an advertising hoarding in front of the metal mesh perimeter fence, with many people being crushed against it. Two of the people in the picture, Simblet pointed out, were among the 96 who died: Inger Shah, a 38-year-old mother of two teenage children who the jury has heard were taken into care after her death, and Marian McCabe, 21.

McCabe’s mother, Christine McEvoy, who made a personal statement about her love for her daughter at the beginning of the inquest in March, bowed her head when the picture was shown, then left the courtroom with one of her barristers.

Greenwood said in response to the picture that he did not believe he saw that scene, just before he stepped off the hoarding and ran on to the pitch to ask the referee to stop the match.

“When I got down off that fence I went to stop the game,” he said. “I didn’t pause to look around me.”

Simblet replied: “If you are saying you didn’t notice something directly in front of your eyes, we’ll leave it there.”

Greenwood told the inquest that by running on to the pitch to stop the match, he believed he was alerting his senior officer in the police control box, Ch Supt David Duckenfield, to the seriousness of the problems at the Leppings Lane end. He agreed that police communications were “woeful” and that he did not hear radio contact.

Greenwood said that at 3:03pm, when, according to John Cutlack, an engineer who gave expert evidence to the inquest, there were 1,576 people in central pen 3, which had a safe capacity of 678, he still believed there was room for people to move back and the situation was recoverable. When video footage was shown of Greenwood standing on the hoarding at 3:10pm, waving his hand as if to signal people to move back, he said he may have been signalling to police officers at the back of the pen to try to evacuate people out of the tunnel behind it.

Questioned by Rajiv Menon QC, for 75 bereaved families, Greenwood said he did not remember when he first heard that Duckenfield had told a “lie”, saying Liverpool supporters had forced a large exit gate to be opened, which in fact Duckenfield had ordered to be opened to alleviate a crush outside. Greenwood said he could not recollect Duckenfield’s “lie” being discussed within South Yorkshire police after the disaster.

Simblet said to Greenwood: “When problems arose, it was for you to show leadership, to deploy the police resources to help those who depended on the police; you failed in that task, didn’t you?”

“I don’t accept that,” Greenwood replied. “In fact, afterwards, I received some very complimentary remarks from police officers in terms of my actions.”

“It is for that reason that when you went to the meeting with the chief constable on the Sunday, you came out with all those different things, about the behaviour of the fans, about how it didn’t look that bad, and this idea of blaming the fans first emerged?”

“I totally don’t accept that,” Greenwood replied. “I did not fail. I wish there was more we could have done, but I don’t accept your point. We didn’t fail.”

The inquest also heard from Margaret Topley, the ex-wife of former Ch Supt Brian Mole, an experienced commander of football matches at Hillsborough, who was moved and replaced by Duckenfield on 27 March 1989, 19 days before the semi-final. She told the inquest that her then husband had offered to help Duckenfield, who had never policed a match at Hillsborough before in a senior role, but Duckenfield had refused his offer.

“As far as I can remember, Brian offered to come back, run the match, as he had done them for so many years and David was new to the occupation at Hillsborough,” Topley said. “but [Duckenfield] wanted to do it himself, and he wouldn’t require Brian’s help.”

Questioned by Patrick Roche, for the 75 bereaved families, Topley said that both Mole and Duckenfield had been freemasons. She said Mole had left the freemasons because “he was annoyed with people always asking the masons to give favours for others.” When he left, Duckenfield was still a freemason, she said.

The inquest continues.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/nov/17/hillsborough-disaster-roger-greenwood-police-denies-blaming-liverpool-fans

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #54 on: November 19, 2014, 07:33:56 PM »
The inquest into the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 people died, has heard that South Yorkshire police put out an “entirely false” story during the afternoon of the incident, which was then broadcast by the BBC, saying that Liverpool supporters had caused the lethal crush at the football ground by forcing a gate open.

Glen Kirton, the Football Association’s head of external affairs at the time of the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, told the inquest that the police officer in command of the match, Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, said a gate had been forced and that there had been “an inrush” of Liverpool fans that had “caused casualties”.

Kirton said he heard Duckenfield state this version of events at 3.15pm on the day, 15 April 1989, in the police control box, where Kirton and the FA’s then secretary, Graham Kelly, accompanied by the Sheffield Wednesday secretary, Graham Mackrell, had gone. Kirton said they were seeking accurate information from the police about what was happening as the disaster unfolded and why the match had been stopped at 3.06pm.

In an account he made the following day, Kirton wrote: “Chief Superintendent Duckenfield told us that a gate had been forced, and there had been an inrush of Liverpool supporters that had caused casualties.”

In fact, the jury has heard, Duckenfield himself had ordered a large exit gate, gate C, to be opened next to the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end of the ground, and allowed a large number of Liverpool supporters in to alleviate a crush which had built up outside. The incoming people were not directed away from the tunnel leading to the two central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace in which the 96 died and hundreds were injured.

Robert McRobbie, who was in the control box as an off-duty chief inspector wanting to learn about football match policing, told the court he heard no discussion about where the supporters would go, when Duckenfield gave the order for them to be allowed in en masse through the exit gate.

Duckenfield, Kirton said, pointed to the CCTV monitors when he said Liverpool fans had forced the gate, but Kirton could not say what specifically Duckenfield was pointing to. From the police control box, Kirton said he could see supporters carrying injured or dead people on advertising hoardings across the pitch, and that during five minutes in the control box from 3.15pm he did not hear Duckenfield or anyone else giving instructions in response. Asked by Christina Lambert QC, counsel to coroner Lord Justice Goldring, what his impression was of what he saw on the pitch, Kirton replied: “Chaotic.”

Ten minutes after Duckenfield told them the gate had been forced, at 3.25pm John Motson, the BBC’s commentator for the semi-final, reported on a live broadcast that one of the outside gates had been broken and non-ticket holders had forced their way in. Then at 3.40pm, the court was told, Alan Green, commentating on the match for BBC Radio 2, broadcast that there were unconfirmed reports that a door had been broken down at the Liverpool supporters’ end.

At 4.30pm, Green broadcast again, saying this time that he had heard from Mackrell, who had said that at 2.50pm “there was a surge of Liverpool fans at the Leppings Lane end of the ground, that the surge comprised of about 500 Liverpool fans, and police say a gate was forced, that led to a crush in that area”.

Questioned by Rajiv Menon QC, representing 75 families whose relatives were killed in the crush, Kirton accepted that the story that a gate was forced attributed “a lot more than partial blame” for the disaster to Liverpool supporters.

In between the broadcasts, at around 3.45pm, Kirton said that Rogan Taylor, then a senior office holder in the Football Supporters Association, had told him that Liverpool fans were saying the gate had been opened by the police, and the story being reported was false. Kirton’s role included briefing the press for the FA, and he said that while he did talk to journalists during the afternoon, he could not remember whether he did or did not pass on to them that he had been told the gate was forced.

He said it was not until the South Yorkshire police chief constable, Peter Wright, gave a press conference three hours later, at 6.45pm, that he heard it confirmed that in fact the police themselves had ordered the exit gate to be opened. He said he believed Wright was ill-informed at that press conference, and received hostile questioning from the press.

“For the previous three hours,” Menon said, “this entirely false narrative had been peddled to the press unwittingly by Mr Kelly, hadn’t it?”

Kirton said he could not “pin” the broadcasts to Kelly. He said he had asked both Motson and the BBC’s producer that day who had given them the story that Liverpool fans had forced the gate, and neither could remember.

Questioned more widely about his role that day, Kirton said he was meeting and greeting Sheffield Wednesday club officials and FA guests at the showpiece semi-final occasion, hosted at Wednesday’s home ground, including at a pre-match dinner in the guest room. Menon asked him whether alcohol was served at the dinner and Kirton replied that it was. Asked about the behaviour of the Liverpool supporters, Kirton said he had seen no disorder.

“And no alcohol was consumed inside or outside the ground?” Menon asked. “Correct,” Kirton replied. “Other than in the guest room of the club, obviously,” Menon said.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, representing the FA, asked Kirton about the evidence previously given by a police officer, Inspector Gordon Sykes. He told the inquest that the FA, Sheffield Wednesday and South Yorkshire police were “playing Russian roulette” with fans’ lives because they must have known the Hillsborough ground was a “deathtrap”. Kirton said as an FA official he was not aware of safety problems at the ground, he did not know people had been evacuated from the Leppings Lane terrace at the 1981 semi-final due to a crushing problem, and he said Sheffield Wednesday were regarded by the FA as one of the more professionally run among the Football League’s clubs. The FA did not regard Hillsborough as a “deathtrap”. he said.

The inquest, before a jury of seven women and four men at a converted courtroom in Warrington, continues.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/nov/19/hillsborough-inquest-police-story-forced-gate-liverpool-supporters
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #55 on: December 15, 2014, 11:44:35 PM »
Hillsborough inquests: Senior ambulance officer 'not effective'

A medic saw a senior ambulance officer "in a state of shock" and "not effective" during the Hillsborough disaster, the inquests jury has heard.
Peter Litster said he was also told to be "careful" over what was said in statements about senior officers.

The jury at the hearings in Warrington further heard Mr Litster's statement was changed without his knowledge.

He also said he found a boy alive in a pile of bodies, which included his father, on a stadium access road.

Mr Litster was a leading ambulance man with South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (SYMAS) at the time.

Mr Litster and his driver were first called to the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough stadium at 15:18 GMT.

They arrived at the ground at 15:38, collected two casualties and left seven minutes later.

After dropping the casualties at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital, they returned to the Leppings Lane end.

Mr Litster said it was "pretty chaotic" and added they "struggled to get through" on their return journey.

"An ambulance had been left at the side, abandoned more or less, and that prevented vehicles from passing and getting through," he said.
Banging radio

Asked how he felt the organisation of the emergency scene was being managed, he replied: "To be honest it were terrible."

He said he saw Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer David Jones leaning on a wall outside exit Gate C at the Leppings Lane end.

Mr Litster said the senior officer was banging his radio against the wall, saying it was not working.

"He looked more shocked than anything about the whole scenario and walked away," he explained.

Mr Litster said he also had to remove a boy of about 13 who was lying on the body of his father.

The boy's father had been placed along with other bodies on one side of an access road going south around the stadium and the boy was in amongst them.

Mr Litster said he only noticed the boy was not dead when another body was put on top of him and the boy moved.

Calling out 'dad'

Mr Litster said: "It was a young person of about 13 years of age. He was in the second row of bodies and he was moving.

"So I got hold of him and pulled him out, realising he was not actually a person who was deceased.

"He was actually lying on top of his father. He was calling out 'dad'.

"I spoke to the doctor in attendance and asked him to ensure that whoever was on the pile, that they were in fact deceased."

In a recent statement, Mr Litster said: "My main concern after the disaster was seeing Asst Chief Ambulance Officer Jones, who frustrated me by appearing to be in a state of shock and not being effective in his role.

"I later reported this, but not at that time.

"I believe how the ambulance service reacted on that day was the fault of the senior managers."

He added: "From where I was, at Leppings Lane, I believe things went well."

'Under pressure'

The jury heard how Mr Litster wrote a handwritten account of his actions on 17 April. The next day another account was taken during a meeting.

Mr Litster said Station Officer Patrick Higgins took his statement at SYMAS headquarters in Rotherham.

There were also two other people in the room who "did not disclose who they were", Mr Litster said.

Asked about how Mr Higgins took his statement, Mr Litster added: "He tried to get me to give a statement in respect of what had happened throughout, but I had to be careful of what was actually being stated.

"When I mentioned one or two details, I was told that I cannot put that sort of thing in.

"The main parts were about senior officers."

Asked which senior officers, he said: "Mr Jones".

He agreed with a barrister for the Hillsborough families that he was put "under pressure" while giving his account of the day.

In one portion of his statement, a paragraph was changed so that it read as if he had received a radio message asking him to take on the role of "contact duty officer" on the ground.

But Mr Litster said he had not received that message because of poor radio communications.

Having checked the statement, he said it did not accurately reflect either his evidence or his account of the day.

The inquests continue.

http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-30478819

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #56 on: December 17, 2014, 02:45:05 PM »
Some staggering stuff on David Conn's timeline today:

https://twitter.com/david_conn

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #57 on: December 17, 2014, 07:52:17 PM »
Freemason police officers tried to ‘shift blame’ after Hillsborough disaster, inquest told
Police constable tells inquest representing 75 victims’ families he did not come forward about masonic meeting earlier for fears over his job

David Conn
The Guardian, Wednesday 17 December 2014 18.56 GMT

Senior South Yorkshire police officers who were freemasons orchestrated a “masonic conspiracy” to “shift the blame” after the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, the inquests into the deaths of the 96 victims have been told.

Maxwell Groome, a police constable at the time, said that after the disaster, at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s football ground, “the word” inside the force was that freemason officers held a meeting to blame superintendent Roger Marshall. Groome said he heard that the meeting took place in portable cabins at South Yorkshire police’s area office, and was attended by Chief superintendent David Duckenfield, who had commanded the match.

Questioned by Michael Mansfield QC, representing 75 families whose relatives were killed at Hillsborough, Groome said he believed Duckenfield was “a grandmaster of a particularly influential lodge” – the Dore lodge in Sheffield.

Groome also told the inquest that senior officers pressurised junior officers to change their statements after the disaster, because they were “terrified” of criticism of the force’s command. He said he was “duped” into agreeing to the changes, because he believed if he did not, he would never be called to give evidence to Lord Justice Taylor’s official inquiry or to the first inquest, and his statement would be “magicked away, dumped in a box, never to see the light of day again.”

A colleague, PC Brookes – whose first name was not given in court – called the inquiry team at West Midlands police, Groome said, to complain it was “a masonic conspiracy”.

Groome said that Brookes told him West Midlands police asked if he could prove the conspiracy. Brookes told them he couldn’t, and Groome said they concluded that it would not be investigated. Asked why in his earlier accounts about the events of the day he did not include the rumoured meeting of freemason officers, Groome replied: “Basically, I’d have been committing professional suicide.”

Marshall, who was in command outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles at Hillsborough, had requested a large exit gate to be opened, to alleviate a crush of Liverpool supporters outside the ground, and allow a large number in. The jury has heard that police did not close off a tunnel inside, which led to the Leppings Lane terrace’s crowded central “pens”. that many of the incoming fans headed down it, and the lethal crush happened in those pens.

Groome said he subsequently heard of the meeting between senior officers, said to have included Duckenfield, superintendents Roger Greenwood and Bernard Murray, Inspector Steven Sewell and Chief inspector David Beal.

“Being unable to prove it, I believe that most of them were masons,” he said.

The coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, sent out the jury of seven women and four men to allow legal discussions after Groome gave his evidence about the freemasons’ meeting. At the end of the day, the coroner referred the jury to “evidence of a meeting said by Mr Groome, on the basis of rumour, to have taken place on the morning of April 16”.

Goldring told them: “I should say this quite clearly to you: we have no other evidence than this rumour, said to emanate from the [South Yorkshire police] area office. It amounts to no more than what the witness described as ‘scuttlebutt’.’”

Groome, who on the day helped other Liverpool supporters carry one of the 96 victims, Colin Wafer, 19, on an advertising hoarding being used as a makeshift stretcher, said the police operation as the disaster unfolded was “chaotic”. The inquest was shown Groome’s original statement – typed “recollections” made on plain paper after the event. He said officers were told not to write their accounts in their official police pocketbooks. Groome’s criticisms, which were removed in handwritten amendments after he submitted the statement, included a comment that “certain supervisory officers were conspicuous by their absence”.

Asked by Jonathan Hough, counsel for the coroner, to whom that comment was referring, Groome replied: “Duckenfield”.

Groome had also written: “The control room [where Duckenfield was in command] seemed to have been hit by some sort of paralysis.”

Other criticisms he made in his statement, which were also deleted, included the decision not to delay the match’s 3pm kick-off; reductions in police manpower; staffing of the control room; that “too many officers were sitting around in the gymnasium” and pointed to the removal from command at Hillsborough of the experienced officer, Chief superintendant Brian Mole. The jury has heard that Mole was replaced on March 27 1989, 19 days before the semi-final which 54,000 people would attend, by Duckenfield, who had never commanded a match at Hillsborough before.

Groome subsequently signed a typed up version of his amended statement, he says, because he feared that it would not see the light of day otherwise.

The “main thrust” of the pressure to change his statement was, Groome said: “They were terrified of junior officers criticising senior officers and therefore, in their eyes, undermining the command structure of South Yorkshire police.”

The inquests continue.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/17/hillsborough-disaster-police-masonic-conspiracy
Klopp on next year’s final being in Istanbul… I told UEFA already: we will be there! Give me a few minutes!

Offline MichaelA

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #58 on: December 18, 2014, 05:42:47 PM »
Do you have the time and the skills to assist in searching the Hillsborough Independent Panel archive?


We need people who can demonstrate some of the following skills


- research skills - archive experience, academic research, etc
- understanding of police procedure - ex-officers, civilian staff
- medical knowledge - health care professionals, paper medics, operational staff
- criminal law - relating to inquests and criminal prosecution
- an understanding inquest procedure
- a first hand or working knowledge of the disaster
- a willingness to pitch in and make a difference to the fight for Justice For the Ninety Six


If you think you can make a commitment in terms of time and effort, please drop me a PM with your details, and any areas of expertise or knowledge that you feel may be of use. I’ll try and reply to everyone, but it might take some time to get back to you.

Please do not comment or reply in this thread.

http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=318914.0

Offline hansen6

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #59 on: December 19, 2014, 02:32:52 PM »
Kenny is giving evidence today. Follow David Conn on twitter for updates.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 03:42:47 PM by MichaelA »

Offline MichaelA

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #60 on: December 19, 2014, 03:42:56 PM »
No comments folks. :wave

Offline gazzalfc

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #61 on: December 19, 2014, 04:09:47 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-30545273

Hillsborough Inquests: Kenny Dalglish recalls 'mayhem' during disaster

Former Liverpool player Kenny Dalglish has described the "mayhem" at Hillsborough during the disaster.

"Nobody knew what was going on," he told the inquests. "There were stories coming from every angle."

Mr Dalglish was Liverpool's manager on the day of the April 1989 tragedy when his side met Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.

Ninety-six fans were fatally injured after crushing on the terraces at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium.

After the match was stopped, police asked him to make an announcement to fans, appealing for calm.

Wearing a red Liverpool FC tie and a "96" lapel badge, Mr Dalglish was first questioned by Christina Lambert QC, on behalf of the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring.

He outlined his arrival at the stadium, telling the court how his focus was on the match.

He said at first he did not notice anything amiss on the Leppings Lane terraces, as his team were attacking the opposite end of the pitch.

It was the first time Kenny Dalglish had given evidence about the disaster in a court of law
But he said news soon filtered through of a developing emergency, although he did not understand the severity of the situation.

"We knew there'd been fatalities. We weren't told what the cause was, but we knew it wasn't people fighting or hooliganism," he told the jury in Warrington.

Mr Dalglish described being asked by police to speak to fans in order to "call for calm".

He said a microphone in the police box was not working and that he had to use a microphone in the DJ's box instead.

The 63-year-old was then questioned by John Beggs QC, who represents the retired Hillsborough match commanders.

Mr Beggs showed the jury a copy an excerpt from Dalglish's autobiography, My Liverpool Home.

He asked him about a paragraph which talks about Liverpool fans "bunking in" to Wembley without tickets for the 1986 FA Cup final between Liverpool and Everton.

Mr Beggs also quoted a Home Office report about that match, describing attempts by ticketless fans to enter the stadium as "troubling".

Mr Dalglish replied: "I'm just a normal human being. Not judge and jury on how people should behave."

Mr Beggs was then repeatedly interrupted by the coroner as he tried to ask Mr Dalglish if he agreed whether late or drunk fans contributed to the Hillsborough disaster.

Lord Justice Goldring told the hearing Mr Dalglish "can't possibly answer such questions".

On three separate occasions, the jury was asked to leave the court while the coroner and barristers discussed legal issues.

Mr Dalglish later told the court how he refused to accept a telephone call from Kelvin Mackenzie, then editor of The Sun, which published the controversial front page headlined "The Truth".

The story, printed four days after the tragedy, made false claims about the behaviour of Liverpool fans.

Such was the anger prompted by the story, Mr Dalglish said he was asked to visit HMP Liverpool in an attempt to "calm down" prisoners.

His evidence marks the first time he has spoken about the tragedy in a court of law.

The former player, who returned to manage Liverpool between 2011 and 2012, was affected deeply by the Hillsborough disaster and attended several funerals of those who died.

Known as King Kenny, Mr Dalglish excelled as player in the 1980s and was made manager in 1985.

Liverpool won three league titles and two FA Cups under him before he resigned in 1991 on health grounds.

He is one of the most high-profile witnesses to give evidence at the inquests, which started in March with personal portraits of each of the 96 victims being read to the court.

The inquests have now finished for Christmas and will resume on 6 January.

EDIT: I've removed a personal analysis section just in case it is wrong to post it. The rest is fact provided by the BBC
« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 04:11:32 PM by gazzalfc »

Offline Trada

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #62 on: December 19, 2014, 07:01:17 PM »
Jan Gorski-Mescir ‏@Fydsy 8m8 minutes ago

Hillsborough Inquest: Anger caused by the S*n was such Dalglish was asked to visit HMP Liverpool in an attempt to calm down prisoners. Wow.
“I carry them with me: what they would have thought and said and done. Make them a part of who I am. So even though they’re gone from the world they’re never gone from me.”

Miss you Tracy more and more every day xxx

Offline SP

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #63 on: February 13, 2015, 10:14:17 AM »
Paul Middup is being cross examined today. It should be interesting.

The Echo live feed is here:
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/live-hillsborough-inquests---friday-8637203

As always, given the Attorney General's guidance, please do not discuss the inquests on RAWK.

Offline Red Berry

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #64 on: March 9, 2015, 01:08:48 PM »
Duckenfield takes the stand this week.  The Echo summarises what we already know:

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/david-duckenfield-faces-hillsborough-inquests-8794532
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Offline MichaelA

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #65 on: March 9, 2015, 06:20:55 PM »
Duckenfield takes the stand this week.  The Echo summarises what we already know:

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/david-duckenfield-faces-hillsborough-inquests-8794532

We will all be watching. Watching, but not commenting. :missus

Offline barneystuta

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #66 on: March 10, 2015, 09:53:33 AM »
A live blog/updates this morning can be found here:

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/live-david-duckenfield-evidence-hillsborough-8806147

Quote
I'm in Birchwood Park, Warrington, today where the inquests are expected to resume at 10am. Today the court is expecting to hear from David Duckenfield, who was match commander at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989.

Offline sinnermichael

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #67 on: March 10, 2015, 01:10:47 PM »
David Conn's twitter is always a good place to follow this:

https://twitter.com/david_conn

Offline kennedy81

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #68 on: March 10, 2015, 07:07:32 PM »
quick heads up....

Conn is on talksport at the mo talking abut the inquest.

Offline eddymunster

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #69 on: March 11, 2015, 04:55:50 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-31821211

David Duckenfield - The match commander on the day of the Hillsborough disaster has admitted lying about fans forcing an exit gate open to enter the ground.

Offline SP

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #70 on: March 12, 2015, 09:50:21 AM »
The families' QCs will cross examine David Duckenfield today. Echo live link for today:

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/live-david-duckenfield-evidence-hillsborough-8823152

We will all be watching. Watching, but not commenting. :missus

Offline BlackandWhitePaul

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #71 on: March 12, 2015, 11:03:50 AM »
David Conn's twitter is always a good place to follow this:

https://twitter.com/david_conn
Thanks for the link.
Ashley, Ashley
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Ashley, Ashley
When will you jump in the Tyne-and-Wear
With no salad in your bowl
And no money in your coats
You can say we're dissatisfied
Ashley, Ashley
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Offline No666

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #72 on: March 13, 2015, 08:33:00 AM »
Reminder - Do not comment:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/mar/12/hillsborough-commander-denies-police-conspiracy-to-blame-liverpool-fans

David Conn

The South Yorkshire police commander who admitted lying as the Hillsborough disaster was happening has denied that his false statements were the start of a police cover-up to conceal the force’s failings and blame the deaths of 96 people on Liverpool football club supporters.

“I don’t think I was involved in any cover-up,” former chief superintendent David Duckenfield said, on his third day of evidence at the new inquests into how the 96 supporters died at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Duckenfield admitted that he did not act as a reasonably competent match commander on the day, 15 April 1989, having been promoted to that role as chief superintendent just 19 days earlier. In his previous day’s evidence he accepted he made a “serious mistake” when he failed to foresee where fans would go, after he allowed hundreds in by ordering a large exit gate to be opened to relieve serious congestion outside Hillsborough stadium’s Leppings Lane end.

As the spectators came through the open gate, Duckenfield admitted it was a mistake not to take steps to close the tunnel facing them, which led to the overcrowded central “pens” of the terrace where the lethal crush happened.

Answering questions from Rajiv Menon QC, representing 75 families whose relatives were killed, Duckenfield accepted his mistakes led to the crush, although he did not accept he was negligent, or grossly negligent.

At 3.15pm on the day, while the disaster was unfolding, Duckenfield has admitted he lied to Graham Kelly, then the Football Association chief executive, who asked what had happened. Duckenfield admitted he did not tell Kelly that he had ordered the exit gate open; instead, he said “words to the effect” that Liverpool fans had “forced open” a gate.

Menon put it to Duckenfield: “It was the beginning of the creation of a false narrative that sought to blame the Liverpool fans for what happened and sought to conceal the truth about your failings and the failings of other senior South Yorkshire police officers.”

Duckenfield replied: “There was no conspiracy as far as I was concerned. I have admitted my failings.”

Menon asserted that a cover-up was being perpetuated in these new inquests, by the barristers representing Duckenfield, who have repeated allegations that a substantial number of Liverpool supporters at the match were drunk, and arrived late and without tickets.

“That false narrative has been pursued at these inquests by your lawyers on your behalf – that’s right isn’t it?” Menon said.

“My lawyers are acting in my best interests,” Duckenfield replied.

Asked if he believed those allegations, Duckenfield replied: “Sir, I am of the view that many people on that day contributed to the disaster, and I hold the view that football fans played a part.”

On his own role, Duckenfield accepted a connection between the opening of the gate that he ordered, and the crushing in the central pens.

“You breached your duty of care to ensure the safety of the fans, didn’t you?” Menon asked.

Duckenfield responded: “Overall, yes sir.”

The coroner, Sir John Goldring, intervened after Duckenfield had repeatedly declined to answer directly whether he had failed to act competently. He agreed that a reasonably competent match commander, when ordering the gate to be opened, would have foreseen where the fans were likely to go, and would therefore have taken steps to close off the tunnel.

Goldring asked him: “Then it therefore follows – tell me if I have misunderstood – that on the day, you did not act as a reasonably competent match commander?”

“Yes sir,” he replied.

Duckenfield said he could not deny the conclusion in Lord Justice Taylor’s 1989 official report, that the failure to close off the tunnel after ordering the gate open was: “A blunder of the first magnitude.” However, Duckenfield rejected that he had been negligent, or grossly negligent.

Menon put to him. “Your negligence caused the disaster and the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans, didn’t it?”

“I wouldn’t use the word negligence, sir,” Duckenfield replied.

“What word would you like to use?” Menon asked.

“Mistakes, oversight,” he said.

He described the South Yorkshire police force in the 1980s as authoritarian, hierarchical, and agreed he was on the “disciplinarian wing” of it. Other witnesses have said Duckenfield was a freemason, and said that was a way officers got on in the force, so Menon asked him whether that might explain his promotion, given his admitted inexperience at football policing.

Duckenfield said he had been a freemason for 14 years by 1989, and the following year he became leader, worshipful grand master, of his lodge. He said he would not like to think freemasonry had anything to do with his promotion.

“You do not know why you get promoted,” Duckenfield said, “you just get promoted.”

Challenged about why it had taken 26 years for him to admit his mistakes, Duckenfield replied he had probably been in denial for years, and also did not trust the press to represent his views accurately. Menon told him that many relatives of those who died have themselves passed away, so never heard him make the admissions.

“Sir I must confess that had never crossed my mind,” Duckenfield replied.

The inquests continue
Klopp on next year’s final being in Istanbul… I told UEFA already: we will be there! Give me a few minutes!

Offline gazzalfc

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #73 on: March 13, 2015, 04:36:01 PM »
Remember Please don't comment.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/live-david-duckenfield-evidence-hillsborough-8831240

Mr Duckenfield accepts he didn't use the opportunity of the Taylor inquiry to make the "full and frank concessions" he made to this jury.

He accepts he didn't use the opportunity of the last inquests.

He says he wasn't invited to participate in the Stuart Smith scrutiny.

Mr Mansfield says: "Over the years that followed - that's from 1989 right up until these inquests..."

John Beggs, representing Mr Duckenfield, stands to object.

Mr Mansfield continues: "You chose to remain silent about all of those matters you have told this jury."

Mr Duckenfield says: "I didn't trust the press to put forward my thoughts or anybody else with the truth and honesty that I wanted."

He adds: "When the panel report was published, I hid myself away and could not bear the word Hillsborough and could not bear to think about it.

"I hope you understand this: I hoped it would go away.

"But then two years ago, I had to force myself to look at matters and, as a result, I could only do so with the assistance of dcotors."

He adds: "I dug my head in the sand, didn't admit things to myself, but I am now very much older, very much wiser, and very much more understanding of the events of the day and have decided to tell the whole truth."

Mr Mansfield suggests he has known the whole truth from the beginning

Mr Duckenfield says: "On the day, I was traumatised and, like many things in life, you only remember the good days, and sometimes sadly and unfortunately, you bury the bad. As far as I'm concerned, I buried the bad to survive."

Mr Mansfield says: "What about the families? Did you think about them?"

Mr Duckenfield says: "Sir, it is now that I have thought very seriously about the families.

"I've seen a video of late, a very distressing video, and for the first time, I have seen what it means to a mother to lose a loved one, to lose a loved one, not only in these tragic circumstances, but to have to say their goodbyes so unexpectedly, in a gymnasium, on a dirty floor, cuddling that person tearfully, and you can't share with that person your grief, your sorrow and your sadness."

Mr Duckenfield says: "To the families, I say this, I am terribly sorry. It has now dawned on me what it means to you, and I am dreadfully sorry."

Offline No666

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #74 on: March 13, 2015, 04:52:00 PM »
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/mar/13/hillsborough-police-chief-called-dogs-instead-of-ambulances-inquests

From David Conn

The police officer in command at Hillsborough when 96 people were killed in a crush called for police dogs instead of ambulances, even after he realised he was facing a medical emergency, not an incident of disorder.

Former Ch Supt David Duckenfield, giving evidence for the fourth day at the new inquests into the 1989 football disaster, said he realised there was a medical emergency when he saw a man collapse on the pitch at 3.04pm.

Yet the next entry on the South Yorkshire police log of radio instructions was a call for police dog handlers to come to the football ground, which was hosting the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Rajiv Menon QC, questioning Duckenfield on behalf of 75 families whose relatives were killed in the crush in the overcrowded central “pens” of Hillsborough’s Leppings Lane terrace, asked him: “It’s a medical emergency. Can you explain that? Why on earth do you need dogs at the stadium?”

Duckenfield said he had “no idea” why he had requested dog handlers, but said it was not because he still believed at the time he was facing crowd disorder or a pitch invasion. He said he may have wanted to create a “secure area” for the rescue operation.

“So dogs requested, ambulances yet to be requested. Correct?” Menon asked.

“It would appear so,” Duckenfield replied.

Menon put to Duckenfield that he never declared a major incident, which would have prompted fire brigade crews with cutting equipment and ambulances being called to the ground. Duckenfield admitted on his first day of evidence that he did not know the codeword – “catastrophe” – used by South Yorkshire police to declare a major incident.

At 3.06pm the police log noted Duckenfield called for operational support – a request for all available police officers to go to the stadium – which Menon said would suggest to them it was a disorder incident rather than an unfolding disaster with injured and dying people.

Menon asked: “Why more manpower?”

“To help the rescue,” Duckenfield replied.

Menon responded: “What rescue? You have yet to call for ambulances or fire crews.”

Duckenfield agreed with Menon that in a crushing incident “every second counts” if lives were to be saved, but denied that the orders he gave were “too little, too late”. He said that although the police log does not record him declaring a major incident, he believes he did, but in the “manic” atmosphere of the control box, junior officers did not have time to record it. He said it was “one of my failings” that he did not insist his declaration was entered in the log.

He agreed with Menon, who showed him a series of photographs and film of the pens as they became packed, that he did not realise the pens were overcrowded at any point on the day before the crush happened and the match was stopped at 3.06pm.

Duckenfield, who was inexperienced at football policing before he was promoted to command the semi-final, was presented with evidence from Colin Allen, a Merseyside policeman who went to the match as a Liverpool supporter and survived the crush. Allen said that having policed hundreds of football matches and attended thousands as a fan, the policing outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles, where Duckenfield accepted police lost control, was “non-existent or shambolic at best”.

Duckenfield replied: “Sir, I was not outside the turnstiles, but I am not in a position to dispute his view.”

Questioned by Michael Mansfield QC, for the same 75 bereaved families, Duckenfield said he did believe that Liverpool fans turned up late and drunk and said colleagues from Merseyside police failed to tell the South Yorkshire force that Liverpool fans were in the habit of doing that.

Mansfield said: “But this isn’t what happened on this day, this wasn’t fans turning up late, having got into a drunken state, was it?”

Duckenfield insisted: “I will have to disagree.”

Pressed on whether he had any information before the disaster happened that fans turned up drunk and late, Duckenfield replied: “I can’t recall, Sir.”

He confirmed that he accepted he did not act as a “reasonably competent match commander” on the day, when he ordered a large exit gate to be opened to relieve the serious congestion outside the ground but failed to foresee the incoming fans would go into the overcrowded pens. He denied, however, that his leadership at the match was “woefully inadequate” and denied again that he had been negligent or grossly negligent.

After Duckenfield mentioned the contribution in the police control room of the then superintendent Bernard Murray, who has since died, Menon asked him if he was seeking to blame other people.

“Sir, I am the man in overall control,” he replied. “I seek guidance from people with greater experience and expertise than me. But ultimately the buck stops with me.

“The easiest thing in my position is to blame others, and I am not doing that.”

The inquests continue.

Remember not to post comments.
Klopp on next year’s final being in Istanbul… I told UEFA already: we will be there! Give me a few minutes!

Offline John C

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #75 on: March 16, 2015, 07:33:27 PM »
New message from Solicitor General regarding comments on Hillsborough.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/solicitor-general-issues-advisory-note-on-hillsborough-inquest

Offline Marty 85

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #76 on: March 17, 2015, 02:48:00 PM »
The Hillsborough police match commander David Duckenfield has agreed that his failure to close a tunnel "was the direct cause of the deaths of 96 people".

David Duckenfield also accepted that he "froze" during the afternoon of the 1989 football disaster.

Mr Duckenfield was giving evidence for a sixth day at the new Hillsborough inquests in Warrington, Cheshire.

He was being questioned by Paul Greaney QC on behalf of the Police Federation of England and Wales.

Mr Duckenfield, now 70, had earlier denied claims he "bottled it" and "froze" as the disaster unfolded.

The jury was told the former chief superintendent had at least three minutes to "consider the consequences" of opening an exit gate at the stadium, as a crowd of fans built up outside.

But Mr Duckenfield insisted he had "no idea" Liverpool fans would then head for a tunnel which led to the already-packed terraces.


Ninety-six Liverpool fans died after crushing at the FA Cup semi final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest held at Hillsborough.

Mr Greaney accused Mr Duckenfield of "concealing" his full knowledge of the geography of the ground from the jury.

The retired officer replied: "I can assure you, sir, I had no idea where fans go from [turnstiles] A to G, or the opening of gate C."

Mr Greaney said: "Can you not tell us whether on that day in that situation you simply froze?"

Mr Duckenfield said he thought it would be "fair to say that we were all in a state of shock."

But Mr Greaney said it was the match commander's job to "get past any feelings of shock".

"Yes, sir, but I am human," he replied.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31928476
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 03:31:28 PM by Marty 85 »
On Super bowl XLVIII -
Quote
I like the idea that there's one guy in that crowd going around looking for pills.
- KerryKop 03/02/14 01:14:49 AM

Offline SP

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #77 on: March 17, 2015, 02:51:42 PM »
The Echo's live report is at:

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/live-david-duckenfield-evidence-hillsborough-8855395

He is currently being questioned by his QC.

Offline SP

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #78 on: March 17, 2015, 03:36:11 PM »

Offline MichaelA

  • MasterBaker, honey-trapper and 'concerned neighbour'. Beyond The Pale. Vermin on the ridiculous. Would love to leave Ashley Cole gasping for air. Dupe Snoop Extraordinaire. RAWK MARTYR #1. The proud owner of a new lower case a. Mickey Two Sheds.
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