Jurors retrace steps of Liverpool fans on day of Hillsborough tragedy

Lord Justice Goldring
Lord Justice Goldring Photo: ITV Granada

Jurors on the inquest into the deaths of 96 football fans killed in the Hillsborough disaster have retraced the steps of Liverpool supporters on the day the tragedy occurred.

Under grey skies and intermittent showers, the 11-strong jury has left the courtroom in Warrington behind for the day for a site visit to Sheffield, home of the Hillsborough stadium.

Hooked up to wireless headphones, the jurors were guided by coroner Lord Justice Goldring along Leppings Lane, to the ground's terrace of the same name, where Liverpool fans arrived for the FA Cup semi-final 25 years ago.

Britain's worst sporting disaster unfolded at the stadium on April 15 1989 during Liverpool's match against Nottingham Forest as thousands of fans were crushed in the ground's Leppings Lane terrace.

Coach arrives at Hillsborough
Coach arrives with jurors Credit: ITV Granada

Huddling under umbrellas, jurors were briefly taken round the edge of the stadium, decorated in the home team Sheffield Wednesday's blue and white colours.

Lord Justice Goldring highlighted structural changes, before taking jurors down the tunnel to the former location of pens three and four, where the fatal crush occurred.

Jurors were shown the police control box, which is "much larger" than its 1989 counterpart.

Looking down the tunnel, the coroner explained the pitch is without grass as the football season has ended and it will be returfed.

Earlier, two coaches, escorted by police motorbikes and cars, transported the jury, counsel, court staff, the coroner and a small press pool to the stadium.

Lord Justice Goldring pointed out the White Horse pub, just off the A61, where some Liverpool supporters went before the match.

He also showed them the former site of Wadsley Bridge Train Station, from where Liverpool supporters were accompanied by police officers as they made their way to the stadium.

A marked police van closed off Leppings Lane as the jurors disembarked from the coach and were taken towards the entrance, site of gates A, B and C, all used by Liverpool fans on the day of the 1989 match.

Traffic and police cones, as well as orange tape, had been laid out to illustrate to jurors the layout of the entrance in 1989, such as the location of a railing and gate no longer present.

Awnings had been constructed in advance to shelter jurors from the expected rain.

Hillsborough stadium
Leppings Lane entrance of stadium Credit: ITV Granada

Earlier this week, the inquest heard a minute by minute countdown of how the disaster unfolded.

The hearing was told of key events accompanied by rarely seen footage of the day taken by police and BBC cameras and stadium CCTV as the cup tie began.

Jonathan Hough QC, counsel for the inquest and Neil Malkin, the senior investigating officer for Operation Resolve, the police's criminal investigation into the disaster, took the jury through events of the day, interspersed with a compilation of both black and white and colour video captured from the cameras.