Socialist Worker

Hillsborough inquest hears of attempts to revive Adam Spearritt

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2456

Adam Spearritt

Adam Spearritt

Fresh inquests into the Hillsborough disaster heard evidence about 14 year old victim Adam Spearritt on Monday of this week.

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

The court heard a statement from Edward Spearritt, Adam’s dad, who has since died. Edward and Adam were at the front of pen 3 when the crush began.

Edward said he screamed at a police officer to open a gate in the fencing “but he just looked at me and seemed to take no notice”.

Former police officer Matthew Fenwick lifted Adam out of pen 3 and passed him to officer Fiona Nicol.

Fenwick told the inquests, “When I initially took hold of Adam, in my mind, I had him as alive. But I felt he died as we were passing him over the fence.”

Fenwick said he didn’t check for a pulse but thought Adam died because he became “floppy”.

Judy Khan, on behalf of Adam’s family, asked if he could have fallen unconscious.

Fenwick replied, “Absolutely yes. I have no medical training or background to be able to say that he was alive or dead at that time.”

Footage from 3.15pm shows Fenwick in pen 3 holding Adam. Footage at 3.17pm shows Adam being treated on the pitch.

Fiona Nicol told the court, “I laid him down and then I checked. He wasn’t breathing. I checked his pulse and he didn’t seem to have a pulse. So I started mouth to mouth straight away and then heart massage.”

She said she didn’t see any signs of life.

Former voluntary special constable David Pearson told the court he gave mouth to mouth to Adam and chest compressions. He said, “I never saw any sign of breathing, but I did intermittently detect a faint pulse in his neck.”

He said he was 100 percent confident that he felt the pulse.

Pearson said he was approached by a doctor who advised him on how to treat Adam. He said the doctor checked for a pulse in Adam’s groin and said, “The doctor found a pulse.”

He added that Adam vomited while being treated and that no breathing was apparent.

In his 1989 statement Pearson said of Adam, “Pulse and breathing was registered.” In a later statement he said he was “positive” that Adam started breathing because he was coughing and being sick.

He said he thought the coughing was active, not passive.

Trevor Dale was divisional superintendent of operations for South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (SYMAS) at the time of the disaster.

He said he checked for a pulse and breathing when Adam was put into an ambulance and found none.

Dale told the court, “I thought we had a chance of saving him because his colour were good.”

Dr Roger Quartley helped Adam in hospital. He said a heart rate monitor was attached to Adam and, after he was given fluid and drugs, cardiac output was established.

Quartley said Adam was transferred to intensive care at about 4.30pm. He said Adam’s heart rate slowed as the drugs wore off and he died after about 20 minutes.

The court heard a summary of evidence Dr Edward Walker gave to the inquests. He said he may have treated a patient who may have been Adam and thought he was conscious to an extent and had a cardiac output.

The court heard that a police officer read out a list of names to families of people reported missing who were safe and well. Adam’s name was on the list.

The inquests continue on Wednesday of this week.

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Article information

Tue 2 Jun 2015, 15:45 BST
Issue No. 2456
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