Socialist Worker

Police solicitor asked Hillsborough cops to 'review' evidence, inquests hear

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2432

Flowers commemorate the 96 Liverpool football fans who died due to the Hillsborough disaster

Flowers commemorate the 96 Liverpool football fans who died due to the Hillsborough disaster (Pic: Edmund Gall/flickr)

Former police officers were asked to “review” their evidence in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster.

The revelation came during new inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans, who died as a result of the disaster.

A letter from South Yorkshire Police solicitor Peter Metcalf to the deputy chief constable in July 1990 referred to retired inspector Stephen Sewell.

It read, “What I would like to understand is whether these officers, on reviewing the transcript, agree that it gives the true flavour of what they meant to say.”

Metcalf asked four officers to review their evidence that police were responsible for monitoring pens at the Leppings Lane end of the ground.

He drafted a statement for the officers which described the transcript of their evidence as “misleading”.

The draft read, “I have re-read the transcript of the evidence which I gave to the inquiry and confirm that the answers which I gave to the questions are accurately recorded.


“Nevertheless, the transcript gives a misleading impression of what I understand to have been the position in relation to the control of numbers entering individual pens on the Leppings Lane terraces on April 15, 1989.”

Stephen Sewell was asked if he had ever drafted a statement for a witness in his policing career. Sewell said he had not and agreed it would have been “improper” to do so.

Sewell told the inquests that it was “reassuring” to see former match commander Brian Mole arrive at the ground as “he would organise everything and everything would just run as good as it could do”.

Chief superintendent David Duckenfield was match commander on the day of the disaster.

A reference in Sewell’s original statement about Brian Mole’s presence reassuring officers had been removed.

The jury also heard that some debriefing sheets from officers on duty during a game in 1988 have not been found.

These were officers who would have been involved in closing the tunnel leading to pens 3 and 4 when the pens became full.

The inquests continue.

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Article information

Tue 2 Dec 2014, 15:38 GMT
Issue No. 2432
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