By Sadie Robinson
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Hillsborough inquests – could victims put in a mortuary have been saved?

This article is over 6 years, 5 months old
Issue 2463

Victims of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster may have been put with dead bodies in a temporary mortuary while they were still alive, inquests have heard.

Inquests are continuing into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans who died following a crush at the Sheffield football stadium.

Dr Allan Redgrave last week told the court that he spoke to a senior officer at the stadium’s gym, which was being used as a temporary mortuary.

Redgrave said, “The senior police officer I’d spoken to said that he was concerned that there may be people who possibly were alive who had been triaged to the temporary mortuary, and so his request to me was to check if there was anybody who might be alive.”

Barrister Nick Brown, who represents 75 families, said some relatives feared people may have been alive when they were assessed as dead.

Police records showed that two victims, 21 year old Steven Fox and 18 year old John McBrien, were confirmed dead twice—once in the gym and again at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher represents the family of John McBrien. He said, “He was certified dead both behind the West Stand at 4.35pm and simultaneously in the gymnasium at 4.35pm.”


James Wardrope was the consultant in charge of the Northern General Hospital’s A&E department. He said he thought four casualties were taken to a temporary mortuary without resuscitation because the hospital was so busy. 

They were David Thomas, Philip Steele, Arthur Horrocks and Paul Brady.

The court was read a statement from former police officer Andrew Eddison. He described pulling casualties from a pile in the gate to pen 3.

Eddison said, “I could see a hand from the bottom of the pile of bodies grabbing my trousers, somebody was still alive. 

“The pulling on my trouser leg stopped.”

The court saw footage showing victim David Birtle apparently alive and moving at the front of pen 3 at 3.08pm, two minutes after the match was stopped. And police sergeant William McCall agreed that lack of equipment stopped fans being helped sooner.

Andrew Brown told the inquests that he identified his brother Steven’s body in the gym at the ground.

He said, “I was then led to a table and interviewed by a police officer and Mr Graham Kelly from the FA and I made a statement to them. It seemed at the time all they were concerned about was basically how much alcohol we’d had to drink.”

The inquests continue.

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