Socialist Worker

Court told of signs of life among victims as Hillsborough inquests finish hearing evidence

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2485

A memorial to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough football disaster

A memorial to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough football disaster (Pic: Nick/Flickr)

Inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool football fans who died as a result of the Hillsborough football disaster finished hearing evidence on Tuesday.

The fans died after being crushed at the Sheffield stadium in April 1989. Fresh inquests began into their deaths in March 2014 after the verdicts in the original inquests were quashed.

After 267 days the inquests are the longest running in British legal history.

The inquests heard evidence relating to signs of life among victims on the last day of evidence.

Victim Tony Bland died four years after the crush. Intensive care expert Professor Jerry Nolan said Tony’s heart could have been restarted on the pitch after the crush.

A video showed Tony being given “very high quality chest compressions” after he was carried from the pens at 3.23pm.

Off-duty GP Dr Colin Flenley and police constable Steven Plows gave Tony the chest compressions.

Nolan said, “They say they could not feel any pulses to begin with and then after two and a half minutes they were able to detect a pulse.

“In my opinion, Tony was in cardiorespiratory arrest when he was placed on that pitch, in other words he had no heartbeat and he was not breathing.”

The court also heard evidence relating to 18 year old victim James Aspinall. Medical expert Dr Jasmeet Soar agreed that it was possible James was not in cardiac arrest “at the conclusion of the crush”.


Footage showed James lying unattended on the pitch from 3.27pm to 3.29pm with his face covered.

The court heard that James’s life could have been saved with earlier treatment. Dr Soar said, “Earlier intervention before cardiac arrest may have been successful.”

Nolan said he was confident that 17 year old victim Carl Hewitt was alive when he was pictured in a pen between 3.01 and 3.03pm.

He said he could not be confident that Carl’s 16 year old brother Nick was alive at that time in the pen.

On Monday of this week, Nolan agreed that Barry Bennett could have survived with earlier treatment.

Jasmeet Soar agreed that Tracey Cox could have survived “if there had been a more sustained effort and chest compressions”.

He also agreed that the outcome for victim Rick Jones could have been better with improved treatment.

The court also heard that victims Eric Hughes and Graham Roberts were recorded as having bruising on their arms.

Dr Nat Cary said this could be consistent with them being gripped as they were carried, if they still had circulations at the time.

Coroner Sir John Goldring is expected to begin summing up the case on 25 January. The summing up is expected to take three weeks

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Article information

Thu 7 Jan 2016, 12:15 GMT
Issue No. 2485
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