Socialist Worker

Hillsborough inquests hear of police plan to 'blame' Liverpool fans for disaster

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2444

A memorial for the 96 Liverpool football fans who died as a result of the Hillsborough disaster

A memorial for the 96 Liverpool football fans who died as a result of the Hillsborough disaster (Pic: Ben Sutherland/flickr)


Senior police officers met two days after the Hillsborough disaster and drew up a plan to blame Liverpool fans for the crush, an inquest has heard. 

Some 96 Liverpool football fans died as a result of the disaster at the stadium in Sheffield on 15 April 1989.

Former inspector in research and development for South Yorkshire Police Clive Davis gave evidence to fresh inquests into their deaths last week.

Davis said his colleague Norman Bettison asked him to attend a “briefing” on the morning of Monday 17 April.

He said Bettison saw this as an “opportunity for us to get ourselves noticed” and that it would benefit them “career-wise”.

Davis said Chief Superintendent Terry Wain addressed between 20 and 30 people at the meeting.

Davis told the jury, “His words were, and I can almost remember these verbatim, that, ‘We are going to put the blame for this disaster where it belongs—on the drunken, ticketless Liverpool fans.’”

He said Wain also spoke about “the kind of actions that were going to support this hypothesis”.

“He said, ‘We’re going to now go away and gather the evidence to show this.’ He began to recount a series of the kind of actions he wanted to pursue.

“I remember him specifically talking about going—I think it was to the M62 motorway—to look at cans, beer cans, alcohol cans.

Alcohol

“We were going to go to licensed premises, off-licences, look at what had happened there in terms of alcohol consumption.”

Davis told the inquests that he “felt this was a very high-level briefing”. He added, “It was really setting out that South Yorkshire Police were going to pursue this strategy.

“Mr Wain had been given a job to do, and he would have only been given that job by the direction of the chief constable.”

Davis said that he had thought it was “very early to have come to such a decisive, definitive conclusion”.

But he said he didn’t raise concerns at the time because to do so would have been “out of sync” with opinion in South Yorkshire Police.

“I probably would have had to walk and resign from the organisation,” he said. “My experience of South Yorkshire Police is that people that raise issues and problems become the problem.”

The inquests continue.

Chief superintendent David Duckenfield was in overall charge of policing on the day of the disaster. 

He began giving evidence as Socialist Worker went to press.


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News
Tue 10 Mar 2015, 16:47 GMT
Issue No. 2444
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