Inquests into the deaths of 96 victims of Hillsborough disaster

New inquests into 96 deaths at the 1989 Hillsborough disaster have resumed.

Latest ITV News reports

Hillsborough PC: Officer in charge was not a leader

The jury at the Hillsborough inquests has heard claims that the match commander 'did not offer true leadership at any stage' as the disaster unfolded.

David Duckenfield was in charge in the control box as the crush started at the Leppings Lane terrace of Sheffield Wednesday's ground.

Alongside him was PC Trevor Bichard who has described Mr Duckenfield as a manager, not a leader.

Ann O'Connor reports from Warrington.


Hillsborough Inquests hears match commander was like 'a fish out of water'

Hillsborough stadium
Hillsborough stadium Credit: PA

A former police constable has told the Hillsborough inquest the match commander 'didn't offer true leadership at any stage' as the disaster unfolded.

Former PC Trevor Bichard said Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield was 'a fish out of water'.

He had replaced a more experienced senior officer in charge of the police operation only days before the FA Cup semi-final at the Sheffield ground.

The former constable was with Mr Duckenfield in the control box as the crush started at the Leppings Lane terrace.

PC Bichard monitoring CCTV around the ground.

He told the new inquests in Warrington 'David Duckenfield was a manager not a leader'.

The jury in Birchwood also heard that complaints were made about problems with police radio transmissions more than an hour before kick-off.

'Without communication there is no control' said Mr Bichard.

He said there were no messages coming from radios around the perimeter fence where fans had started trying escape the crush that killed 96 Liverpool fans.


Witness claims people without tickets allowed into Hillsborough ground

The Hillsborough inquest has heard claims that turnstile operators took money to let people without tickets into the ground in the 1980s. A witness said that ten percent of supporters at two previous semi-finals either did not have a ticket or had a seat elsewhere.

And he also agreed that it should have been "completely obvious" that the capacity at the Leppings Lane end would almost inevitably be exceeded. From Warrington, Andy Bonner reports.


Former turnstile operator claims touts were buying up tickets within the secure area of the stadium

The witness also claimed he saw two suspected touts in a secure area of the stadium where they cashed in. The court heard how turnstile operators and stewards would be given a chance to buy tickets to forthcoming semi-finals. Dr Gauntlett said the strangers had gone past some of the senior stewards.

He thought they were there to buy the tickets. "By definition, we weren't going to be able to use those tickets because we were going to be working that day," he said. The witness also claimed one colleague sold his own ticket for the 1980 semi-final to a fan. He said: "At about 12.30,

it was so very quiet, hardly anybody was going into the ground, but plenty of people were gathered around, he closed up his turnstile. He crossed Leppings Lane to a bunch of Liverpool fans and he sold his tickets to a Liverpool fan. Then he came back and got in his turnstiles and went back to work."



Former turnstile operator at Hillsborough - we had to get people in as quickly as possible

James Gauntlet was a part-time turnstile operator between 1979 and 1985 he said at FA Cup matches they did not take cash and were not told to keep count of the tickets stubs they took.

"No we were explicitly told in 1981 by Basil Jones that it was our job to get people through the turnstiles, to avoid a crush in the turnstile, and if somebody arrived at the turnstile without a valid ticket, we should allow them in."

– James Gaunlet, former Turnstile Operator, Hillsborough 1979-85

Mr Gaunlet went on to say that they were told by police they were under their instruction and officers would carry out the job of checking the tickets outside.

"We were told our role was to get people into the ground as quickly as possible. We were under the instructions of the police and they were – and this is implied I think – taking responsibility for any crowding or overcrowding. The whole thing was about moving people through the turnstiles as quickly as possible."

– James Gaunlet, former Turnstile Operator, Hillsborough 1979-85

Former police officer describes the Hillsborough disaster as "a scene of chaos"

Arthur Davies leaving today's hearing in Warrington Credit: Andy Bonner, ITV

A former police officer has told the Hillsborough inquests how he witnessed a "scene of chaos" as he tried to help fans on the pitch.

Arthur Davies gave assistance to at least four people, but said there was "total confusion" and he did not see senior officers taking control until later.

Mr Davies, who had been on mobile patrol, said the call to the ground was not of any great urgency.


Hillsborough: Questions over ticket allocations for big games

Hillsborough stadium Credit: PA

The jury hearing the Hillsborough inquests have been told they may hear evidence that an environmental health officer working for Sheffield City Council recommended refusing a safety certificate to Sheffield Wednesday.

Former football club secretary Graham Mackrell said he had no knowledge of the claims.

Jason Beer QC, representing Sheffield Wednesday, asked: "Do you think if there were to be a meeting to discuss effectively shutting the club down, you would have been invited to attend the meeting and you would have some knowledge of it?"

Mr Mackrell replied: "I believe so, yes."

Later, Mr Beer asked the witness about claims from his predecessor Richard Chester that he had held back 200-250 tickets from large games in the mid-1980s to reduce the numbers of fans in the terraces and pens.

Mr Mackrell said he thought it would be very difficult to achieve: "Initially the visiting club would know what their allocation of tickets was.

They would expect that allocation of tickets to be delivered to them and if there were 250 tickets missing, the first thing they would do is ask where the tickets were.

"He would be the person who had to physically take the tickets, post the tickets, send the tickets away."

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