Socialist Worker

Cop on Hillsborough pitch was ‘unhelpful’, inquest hears

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2465

A Hillsborough memorial

A Hillsborough memorial (Pic: Flickr: Gareth Simpson)


The husband of a victim of the Hillsborough disaster has told an inquest into her death that police blocked him from searching for her.

Some 96 Liverpool football fans died as a result of a crush at Sheffield’s Hillsborough stadium in 1989. 

Stephen Jones was in pen 3 with his wife Christine. He said he became separated from her and later asked a police officer where casualties had been taken to.

He said the officer was “unhelpful and obstructive”. Stephen told the inquests, “He said, ‘Wherever they have taken them, they don't want the likes of you there, do they?’.”

Stephanie Conning gave evidence about her brother Richard Jones, known as Rick, and his girlfriend Tracey Cox. 

The three were caught in a crush outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles and entered the ground through gate C after police opened it.

Rick and Tracey both died as a result of the disaster.

Stephanie told the court, “Something that I have found very difficult over the 26 years, that's been almost as bad as the bereavement, is about the people that went through gate C. 

“We have often been blamed for causing the deaths. We had no choice but to go through gate C. We were being crushed outside.”

The gate led to a concourse, from where many fans headed down a tunnel leading to terrace enclosures.

More than 2,000 Liverpool fans went through the gate in about five minutes, the inquests have heard.

Rick, Tracey and Stephanie went through the exit gate at 2.53pm, the jury heard.

Footage

By 2.56pm they were seen on footage among the crowd in pen 3.

After two surges of the crowd she became separated from her brother and Tracey. She never saw them alive again.

Fan John Walsh helped to carry Rick on a hoarding.

He told the court, “Somebody did actually feel a pulse.”

When asked how confident he was that this related to Rick, given the number of people he helped on the day, John replied, "Very confident.”

Former police officer Paul Bromley helped carry a fan thought to be Rick on a hoarding and said he saw no signs of life. 

Bromley said the gymnasium was “chaos” with a “pile of casualties”.

Brian Matthews, who died as a result of the disaster aged 38, was shown in the pen at 3.02pm. His wife Margaret said he looked alive in the photograph.

“He looks as though he’s suffering some kind of pain,” she said.

Peter Harrison was 15 when he died as a result of the disaster. Footage showed him on the pitch at 3.27pm with police officers stepping over him.

Former detective inspector John Charles gave evidence. 

The court heard that he helped carry Peter to the gym on a hoarding. He said he didn’t check for signs of life. “I assumed that had already been done,” Charles told the court. He added, “I thought he was recoverable”.

The inquests will resume on 1 September.


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