Inquests into the deaths of 96 victims of Hillsborough disaster

All the latest from the inquests into the deaths of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster that are taking place at a purpose-built Coroner's Court in Warrington.

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  1. Andy Bonner, Hillsborough Correspondent

Hillsborough victim showed "no signs of life"

Vincent Fitzsimmons

Witnesses have told a court they did not see any signs of life when they tried to help a victim of the Hillsborough disaster.

Richard Shimwell, a police constable in 1989, described trying to revive Vincent Fitzsimmons on the pitch but did not hear a heartbeat.

"I thought from the moment I took hold of him that he was dead," he said.

Liverpool fan Stephen Mitton, who was in pen 3 during the crush, said he also did not see any signs of life when he carried the 34 year old to a temporary mortuary.

The inquest heard Vincent had travelled to Sheffield by coach from Ashton-in-Makerfield but a friend lost sight of him after a "large surge" in pen 3. Relatives thanked those who tried to help.

WATCH - The sister of Vincent Fitzsimmons, Dr Dorothy Griffiths, read out a statement outside court in Warrington:-

  1. Andy Bonner, Hillsborough Correspondent

Friend of three teenagers who died at Hillsborough describe their desperate attempts to rescue them

A friend of three men who died at Hillsborough has described being unable to help one of the victims following a surge on the terrace.

James Thomas said he noticed Gary Church was looking distressed when they were pushed against a barrier.

The inquests in Warrington heard today that Gary who was 19 and from Seaforth was one of three friends to die.

Our Hillsborough correspondent Andy Bonner has been listening to the evidence.


  1. Andy Bonner, Hillsborough Correspondent

Fan "couldn't help" friend in crush at Hillsborough

Christopher Devonside, Simon Bell and Gary Church

A friend of three men who died at Hillsborough has described being unable to help one of the victims following a surge on the terrace.

James Thomas said he noticed 19 year old Gary Church, from Seaforth, looking distressed as they were pushed against a barrier.

Mr Thomas told his inquest: "He shouted my nickname, “Daffa, help me. I'm dying...” I shouted back to him that I couldn't help him. I said “I can't. I can't move” and he looked at me really angrily."

The witness said he would have done anything for Gary, who he said looked "absolutely petrified."

He added that he briefly saw him disappear under the crowd after the barrier broke.

The court heard that Christopher Devonside, 18, and Simon Bell, 17, were also part of the large group of friends who had entered the ground together.

Jason Kenworthy told the court how Christopher had been distressed by the amount of people inside the pen and wanted to move somewhere less crowded.

Mr Kenworthy, who asked Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar to stop the game after escaping the pen, later helped carry Christopher across the pitch but saw no signs of life.

Fan wishes he could have done more to save Hillsborough victim

Credit: ITV NEWS

A football fan who escaped from the terraces at Hillsborough has told a jury how he wished he could have done more for a 20 year old victim of the disaster.

Garry Williams-Verrall who was 16 at the time said he helped carry Gordon Horn, from Liverpool, across the pitch to an area where he hoped there would be some kind of treatment.

The witness, who identified himself on a photograph carrying the makeshift stretcher, said he only learnt Mr Horn's name three weeks ago. Mr Williams-Verrall told the inquest in Warrington that he did not see any signs of life but hoped he would be dealt with by a paramedic.

Friend Mark Griffiths, speaking via videolink from New Zealand, told the court that he assumed Mr Horn was conscious because of the urgency in which they were directed to take him. The pair were thanked for their efforts.

Hillsborough police officer shocked at death of teenager

Credit: ITV NEWS

A police officer who tried to revive a teenage Liverpool fan has told the Hillsborough inquests he was shocked to be told he had died.

David Butler said he gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Colin Ashcroft, 19, on the pitch at the Sheffield Wednesday ground before a doctor checked his pulse, declared life extinct and covered his face.

Mr Butler said he was shocked by what the doctor informed him but told the court today that he could not say whether Colin, from Warrington, was alive or not.

The court heard there was no evidence about Colin's earlier entry into the stadium but that a ticket stub for the west terrace was later found on him. A lawyer representing Colin's mother thanked Mr Butler for his efforts.

  1. Andy Bonner, Hillsborough Correspondent

Hillsborough Inquests: victim tried to move before barrier collapsed

Paul Hewitson Credit: Hillsborough Inquests

A friend of a man who died in the Hillsborough disaster has told his inquest how they tried to move before a barrier collapsed.

Terry Moore went into pen 3 at the Sheffield Wednesday ground with friend Paul Hewitson, 26, from Crosby.

Mr Moore said in a statement: "It felt tight and we decided to try to move out but it was impossible to move."

"It was a few minutes later when I heard the barrier. It sounded as if the floor was going through. The second the barrier broke everybody just seemed to tilt forward as if we were on a hinge. All I could see of Paul was his head and he was looking towards me and he said ‘Get me out, Terry. Get me out’."

Holding back tears, Mr Moore told the court that Paul was a few feet ahead of him by the time he found him and "thought the worst."


  1. Andy Bonner, Hillsborough Correspondent

Hillsborough Inquests: victims were removed from ambulance

Steven Joseph Robinson Credit: Hillsborough Inquests

A teenage victim of the Hillsborough disaster was removed from the back of an ambulance before it left the stadium, a court has heard.

17-year-old Steven Robinson from Crosby was placed in the emergency vehicle after being pulled through a hole in fencing by rescuers at the Sheffield Wednesday ground.

But John Harper, a police inspector in 1989, told the inquests that he ordered the teenager and another victim be taken out of the St John Ambulance to make way for casualties still alive.

"We could barely move," he said. "Then I went to look for... injured people that we could put into that ambulance and get them some help quickly."

The witness said he "most likely" would have looked for signs of life before instructing the removal.

He added: "Any chance that they were alive, they had to remain [in the ambulance] and be given every chance and I knew that."

Liverpool fan Michael Hollinghurst, an off-duty nurse who worked at Whiston Hospital in 1989, said Steven did not show any signs of life in the pen but agreed it would have been easy to have missed a weak pulse.

  1. Andy Bonner, Hillsborough Correspondent

Hillsborough Inquests: St Helens teenager taken to hospital on floor of ambulance

Stephen O'Neill, 17, and his uncle David Hawley, 39. Credit: Granada Reports

The Hillsborough inquests have heard how a St Helens teenager was taken to hospital on the floor of an ambulance.

The jury heard how no-one has been traced who saw paperboy Stephen O'Neill, 17, and his uncle David Hawley, 39, enter the Sheffield Wednesday ground.

But Martin Carey, a Nottingham Forest supporter, said he saw Stephen later lying on his back alone on the pitch and felt a "light pulse" in his wrist.

Mr Carey said he tried to revive Stephen en route to hospital but believes his condition deteriorated in the ambulance which contained two other casualties.

The court heard Stephen and his uncle were identified by a relative in a temporary mortuary during the early hours of the following morning.

Hillsborough inquests hear recollections of victim's 13-year-old brother

Philip John Steele Credit: Hillsborough Inquests

A court's heard an account of a 13-year-old boy from Southport whose older brother died in the Hillsborough disaster.

The jury was read a statement that Brian Steele made in 1989 about the last time he saw Philip, 15, inside pen 3.

He said:

"I was pushed towards the goal in this crush. I don't know what happened to Philip and I didn't see him after the first crush. There were people all around me and I couldn't see anything."

"I had to put my head up to breathe and all I could see was the sky. I didn't know how long I was in this crush for but eventually the pressure released from me and I made my way out."

– Brian Steele, 1989 statement

The court heard Philip and Brian's parents had tickets for seats in the stand above the terrace where the crush took place.

John Boyle, an off-duty nurse who worked for Aintree Hospital in 1989, said he tried to resuscitate Philip on the pitch because of his pallor but found no signs of life.

  1. Andy Bonner, Hillsborough Correspondent

"No chance" for Hillsborough victim

David Leonard Thomas Credit: Hillsborough Inquests

An ambulance officer has told a court there was "no chance" for him to help a victim of the Hillsborough disaster.

Anthony Boyington said he saw a patient, thought to be Birkenhead joiner David Thomas, 23, being carried on a makeshift stretcher towards his ambulance.

The witness said he could not find any signs of life and concentrated his efforts on trying to save a second patient who was alive but had a possible brain injury.

Mr Boyington said he was now very confident that the first casualty was dead after watching video footage of rescue attempts on the pitch. He said:

"It’s fairly obvious that several minutes had gone by before I saw this casualty, during which time a doctor and a trained nurse had done their best to resuscitate David without success. So by the time I came into contact with David, unfortunately, there was no chance."

– Anthony Boyington

The inquests in Warrington, which are sitting for their 200th day, heard that Mr Thomas was taken straight to a temporary mortuary on arrival at hospital.

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