Socialist Worker

Hillsborough victims could have been saved, inquests hear

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2481

Earlier medical intervention could have saved the lives of Hillsborough victims Jimmy Hennessey and Steven Fox, a court has heard.

Some 96 Liverpool football fans died as a result of a crush at the Sheffield stadium in April 1989. Pathologists and medical experts are giving evidence to fresh inquests into their deaths.

Dr Cary told the inquests that Jimmy could have died after receiving “failed CPR”. His post-mortem recorded a large amount of vomit in his lung and airway. The court heard this could indicate that Jimmy had inhaled, or aspirated, stomach contents while he was still alive.

The court also heard evidence that Jimmy and another victim, Carl Brown, were alive after 3.15pm – the cut off time for evidence in the original inquests.

PC Carl Maltravers had said he saw Jimmy’s arm twitching as he lay on the pitch between 3.16pm and 3.20pm. Maltravers also said Jimmy’s eyes were open.

Intensive care expert Dr Jasmeet Soar told the inquests, “There’s a strong possibility he was still alive at that point or only just recently his heart and breathing had stopped.”

Professor Nolan agreed that it was possible that 18 year old Carl went into cardiac arrest on the pitch. He may have been alive when he was removed from the pen.

The court was shown photographs of two other victims that indicated they were alive minutes before the match was stopped at 3.06pm. Photographs showed 19 year old James Delaney in pen 3 at around 3.03pm. Dr Soar told the court, “Our view is that he’s possibly alive in those photographs.”

Conscious

Other photographs showed 24 year old Derrick Godwin on the terrace at 3.02pm. Professor Nolan said, “The fact that he stands reasonably clear of other people, doesn’t appear to have other people supporting his head in any way, I think the implication of that photograph is that he is still alive and conscious, because of the way he is holding his head.”

A post mortem for 17 year old Steven Robinson found bruising on his right arm. The court heard that this could have been caused if he was alive when he was carried out of pen 4.

Professor Guy Rutty told the inquests, “They can be caused by that part of his arm being gripped at any time when he was still alive. So that could have been prior to the incident, during the incident or whilst he was being carried out.”

Steven was put into an ambulance before being taken out and assessed as dead on the pitch by police inspector John Harper.

Dr Soar said there was a small chance that Harper could have missed signs of life.

The court heard evidence about brothers Kevin and Christopher Traynor, aged 16 and 26.

Dr Soar said there was a “high degree of certainty” that Kevin was alive between 3.06pm and 3.08pm. Fan Jonathan Ellis was standing next to Kevin and said he had spoken to him at around that time. The court was shown photographs of Kevin in the pen at the time.

Dr Soar added that there was a chance that Kevin was alive when he was carried onto the pitch at around 3.15pm.

He said there was a “small but real chance” that Kevin could have survived if resuscitation had started at that time.

The inquests continue.


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