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Officer tells Hillsborough Inquests South Yorkshire Police were negligent

Gates at tunnel entrance under the west stand Credit: Hillsborough Inquests

The Hillsborough inquests heard that the former police inspector Harry White was "extremely unhappy" at the time he was medically retired and had attempted to sue South Yorkshire Police for negligence.

Rajiv Menon QC, representing ten bereaved families, said: "You and other officers were alleging that the South Yorkshire Police had been negligent in failing to prevent overcrowding in the central pens, is that right?"

He replied: "That is correct."Mr Menon continued: "And that that negligence caused the disaster and the deaths of the 96 Liverpool fans; is that fair?"

"I think that was the conclusion," he responded.He agreed that he was concerned that there had been a number of failings, including:

  • Fans being left to find their own level
  • A failure to delay the match kick-off
  • Superior officers failing to institute any system for regulating the passage of fans into pens after exit gate C was opened
  • No order being given to close the tunnel into the central pens
  • A preoccupation to prevent a pitch invasion resulted in insufficient consideration being given to the safety of fans entering pens
  • Senior officers not considering the danger of overcrowding pens- Lack of leadership to monitor the filling of pens
  • Lack of leadership to monitor the filling of pens
  • A failure for those in the control box to observe or recognise overcrowding and crushing and taking steps to alleviate the pressure of the weight of people entering those pens.

Mr Menon asked: "Of all those failings… the most catastrophic of all was the failure to order you or any other inspector or officer in the inner concourse to close the tunnel.

That was the most catastrophic error of all, wasn't it?"

He replied: "I would think so."

Mr White agreed that it would have been straight forward to close the tunnel, had he been given an order from the police control box to do so.

Muslim Council of Britain call for the release of Alan Henning

Alan Henning

The Muslim Council of Britain has called for the immediate release of the Salford taxi driver Alan Henning without harm.

Alan Henning travelled to Syria in an aid convoy organised by British Muslims to help innocent civilians.

Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said:

Such a man should be celebrated, not incarcerated. Taking such people hostage, and murdering them are against the principles laid out in the Qur’an and our Prophetic traditions.

These actions are against the spirit of the Shariah which Henning’s captors reportedly claim to uphold.

Henning travelled to Syria to help people, mostly Muslims, who were in distress as their lives ravaged by war.

Teachings of our faith surely is to commend his work, treat him with respect and release him without further delay. We urge the captors to listen to this appeal and release this man back into the arms of his waiting family.

– Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain

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IPCC say police missed opportunities to save Becky McPhee's life

The murder of a woman by her estranged husband in Southport could have been prevented according to the police watchdog.

Becky McPhee was stabbed 21 times by Paul Holmes two years ago.

The independent Police Complaints Commssion found that officers from the Merseyside force had previously logged 17 incidents involving the couple.

Merseyside Police accepts watchdog's criticism over Becky McPhee murder

Becky McPhee Credit: Merseyside Police

Merseyside police said the force fully accepted the Independent Police Complaints Commission's recommendations following the murder of Becky McPhee and says many of them had already been implemented.

The police force says they have held a number of training events since Ms McPhee's death and more than 1,200 staff had been briefed.

The force responds to more than 34,000 calls a year about domestic violence, or 2,800 a month.

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Pilling said:

Merseyside Police wishes to pass on its sincere condolences to Rebecca's family following her tragic death, for which Paul Holmes was convicted of murder.

"In relation to Rebecca's death, there were shortfalls on the part of Merseyside Police. In particular, there was a failure to recognise the risk posed to the victim by her killer, who had threatened to commit suicide.

"Individual officers appeared more concerned regarding the threat of self-harm on the part of Paul Holmes rather than about recognising the potential for him to pose a real and significant threat towards Rebecca."

"All incidents are unique and many are complex, and an appropriate service should be provided to every victim and their family," he said.

"Merseyside Police is determined to ensure we improve the service we provide in this respect.

"We take a robust approach to such incidents and since May this year we have made full use of the new legislation regarding the issuing of Domestic Violence Prevention Orders.

"These orders give the police new powers, which did not exist at the time of Rebecca's murder, to remove suspects from the marital or family home to give victims the time they need to seek professional advice and support."

"Merseyside Police also recognises the comments made by the IPCC concerning two inspectors but would like to highlight that this was an independent investigation by the IPCC in which they assessed only one of those officers as having a case to answer for misconduct.

The force has no power to prevent a police officer retiring in such circumstances.

"The force fully accepts all the recommendations of the IPCC report and will do all we can to ensure that they are implemented in their entirety.

– Assistant Chief Constable Ian Pilling, Merseyside Police

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Man jailed for stabbing his partner in Manchester

Stuart Coope Credit: Greater Manchester Police

A man who tried to kill his partner with a bread knife has today been jailed for eight years.

Stuart Coope, 37 attacked his boyfriend after he lured him to his home in Moston on 29th March 2014.

When his partner entered the kitchen, Coope lunged for a knife block and grabbed a large, serrated bread knife.

Coope stabbed his partner repeatedly but he managed to get out of the house and a passer-by intervened and called the Police.

Detective Constable Louise Edwards said:

The brutality and animosity of this attack is shocking, even for an experienced Police officer.

Had he not been interrupted, I have no doubt that Coope would have continued his assault until the victim was dead.

– Detective Constable Louise Edwards, GMP
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