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Hillsborough Inquests hears Police were asked to say fans had been drinking

Hillsborough stadium
Hillsborough stadium Credit: PA

The Hillsborough Inquests have heard that police officers were asked to mention in their statements that fans had been drinking.

Philip Colin Lomas, a police sergeant acting up to inspector in 1989 was questioned about the veracity of his statements.

Mark George QC, a lawyer representing 22 of the bereaved families, put it to him that: "It hurt you, as a loyal trooper, that your police force was apparently being blamed for the fact that 96 people had died at a football match."

"It was certainly distressing for me to feel that we were blamed for something which I didn't believe that we were guilty of," he replied, "but not so much that it would make me tell untruths."

Hillsborough stadium
Hillsborough stadium Credit: PA

Guy Gozem QC, representing retired Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Anderson, asked the witness if it was clear in his mind who said what, when.

He replied: "After 25 years I don’t think anybody can put their hand on their heart and say they are 100% certain about every fact.

I do recall ACC Anderson saying we should avoid mentioning the radios, avoid mentioning the staffing levels down there and they needed the evidence about the drink that I saw people carrying etc."

Liverpool fan
Liverpool fan Credit: PA

Mr Lomas agreed that a number of officers had been traumatised by the disaster and his superior's comment that officers should not blame themselves for what happened was made in a welfare context.

Mr Anderson, he said, was in charge of the department that would deal with such issues.

The witness added that he would not have stretched the truth, even if Mr Anderson had asked him to.

On the subject of supporters carrying four-packs before the match, Mr Lomas told the court they must have either thrown the alcohol away or passed it on to somebody else before they arrived at the stadium.

He also agreed that it is difficult to know for sure if someone is drunk unless they happen to be falling down.

Questioned about his rough notebook, Mr Lomas explained that he never wrote a first version and then streamlined it or put it into greater detail in his official pocketbook.

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Police appeal for missing Chorley man

Steven Farrell
Steven Farrell Credit: Lancashire Police

Police are appealing for information about a 42-year-old man who has gone missing from his home in Chorley.

Steven Farrell was last seen at Sacred Heart Church on Brooke Street, Chorley at around 10.15am on Tuesday 26 August 2014.

He is described as white, around 5ft 7ins, with light coloured hair with hazel colour eyes.

He was last seen wearing a blue hoodie with white sleeves and a boxer motif on it, blue jeans and a black wax jacket.

He was also wearing white Reebok trainers and walking with crutches.

Police officer questioned over Hillsborough alcohol claims

Hillsborough stadium
Hillsborough stadium Credit: PA

Claims that the "vast majority" of fans at Hillsborough were the worse for alcohol have been questioned by a barrister representing families of the deceased.

Philip Colin Lomas, a police sergeant acting up to inspector in 1989, has previously told the court in Warrington that large volumes of fans were carrying drink and there was a large volume of ticketless fans.

Mr Lomas was positioned outside the stadium on Middlewood Road before the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

The Coroners' Court in Warrington
The Coroners' Court in Warrington where the Hillsborough Inquests are taking place Credit: PA

He told the inquests he saw people carrying six-packs, large bottles of cider and a carafe of wine.

Lawyer Brenda Campbell showed the witness a number of photographs and videos showing fans arriving at the Leppings Lane end of the ground.

Regarding one photograph she asked: "The photographer is looking in your direction, capturing those fans who have passed you by, and the majority of whom you have told us are the worse for wear for alcohol?"

"A static photograph does not show how people walk," he replied.

Ms Campbell continued: "Where in this photograph are the people with the large quantities of alcohol that were coming from your position?"

"I have no idea," he said.

Hillsborough Memorial
Hillsborough Memorial Credit: ITV Granada

The barrister then accused Mr Lomas of being "welded" to his account.

He answered: "I know what I saw. I know what I heard."

The witness was also questioned about the account of the disaster he made in his police pocketbook on 17th April.

Mr Lomas told the court he had a rough pocketbook which would later be destroyed but he did not remember making any rough notes about Hillsborough although it was the practice at the time.

Shown pages from the witness's 'good' pocketbook, he agreed it was neatly written without any mistakes.

Ms Campbell asked: "It came completely from your head through the pen and onto the page without any need to correct or change or amend?"

"Correct," he replied.

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Teenager stabbed in Manchester

Police are appealing for witnesses after a teenager was stabbed in Manchester.

At 7.45pm on Tuesday 26 August 2014, police were called following reports a 16-year-old boy had been stabbed in Crumpsall.

Officers found the boy off Herristone Road, he had injuries to his abdomen and arm.

He was taken to hospital for treatment and remains in a stable condition in hospital.

Detective Inspector Neil Jones said:

We believe there was an argument between the victim and another boy before the attack.

Thankfully his injuries are not life threatening but he is very lucky.

The incident took place on the basketball court and I would ask anyone who may have been in the Herristone Road area at the time and witnessed the attack to contact police.

– Detective Inspector Neil Jones, GMP

Police hunt for pair after brutal attack on taxi driver

CCTV of suspect
CCTV of suspect Credit: GMP

Police are hunting two men who attacked a taxi driver in Manchester leaving him with a broken jaw.

It happened on Rochdale Road in Harpurhey at about 4.45am on 20 July 2014.

The 36 year old driver had picked up the two passengers from outside Dixy Chicken.

CCTV of suspect
CCTV of suspect Credit: GMP

After a disagreement about the fare, the driver and the two passengers got out of the taxi and he was punched to the floor.

The men punched and kicked him in the head before stealing his money.

They then ran off towards Factory Lane.

Detective Constable Ania Ostafijczuk said:

These men were responsible for a totally unprovoked, sustained and brutal attack on a taxi driver who was simply trying to earn a living.

They set upon this driver like a pack of wild animals, leaving him with a broken jaw and numerous other injuries that needed hospital treatment, and all for £30.

It is a desperate, not to mention violent, act and we need to find the culprits.

We have released two CCTV stills of men we want to speak to in connection with the assault and I would appeal to anyone who recognises these men to come forward.

Alternatively, I would ask anyone who was in the area at this time and either witnessed the assault itself, or perhaps saw two men getting into or out of a silver Volkswagen mini-bus, to call us.

– Detective Constable Ania Ostafijczuk, GMP

Witness appeal after 14 year old cyclist killed

Police are appealing for witnesses after a 14 year old cyclist was killed on a road in Preston. The collision happened at 10.15pm last night on New Hall Lane (the A59) towards Brockholes Brow.

The boy was taken by ambulance to the Royal Preston Hospital but died in the early hours of this morning.

Sgt Gareth Hill, of the Road Policing Unit, said: “This was a tragic incident where a teenager has sadly died and I would appeal for anyone who witnessed this collision or who has any information to contact us.”

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