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Father faced 'intrusive questions' by police after son's death

The father of a teenager who died at Hillsborough has told a court he was asked "intrusive questions" about alcohol after identifying his 18-year old son's body. Told to prepare himself for the worst, Barry Devonside said he searched for Christopher in hospitals and a mortuary after being told that he was not at Sheffield Wednesday's ground. He was later told to return to the gym, where he said a police sergeant pulled him back from kissing his son's body.

You don't go to a football match and not come home with your son. It's not reality. But this was, today, reality.

– Barry Devonside, father of Christopher,18

He said that within minutes of identifying Christopher, two officers asked him whether they had had a meal or consumed alcohol on the way to the ground.

I kept giving them the same answer: "What's that got to do with identification?

– Barry Devonside's response to police asking about alcohol

Former police chief James Sharples denies "painting adverse picture" of Liverpool fans

A former Chief Constable of Merseyside has denied trying to paint an adverse picture of Liverpool fans at Hillsborough.

Sir James Sharples had described seeing supporters drinking before the FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield.

Meanwhile, the inquests have heard from a former South Yorkshire officer who says he was intimidated into changing his statement about the disaster.

Andy Bonner reports:

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Inquests hear of breakdown of relationship between police and ambulance services after Hillsborough

The Hillsborough inquests have heard that the relationship between the bosses of South Yorkshire's police and ambulance services broke down in the days after the disaster.

Don Page, Chief Ambulance Officer in 1989, told the court he requested a meeting with Chief Constable Peter Wright because of concerns he had with press stories about casualties.

South Yorkshire Chief Constable Peter Wright at the Hillsborough disaster inquiry at Sheffield in 1989 Credit: Press Association

"There was a suggestion in the media that they were full of alcohol and they smelled highly of alcohol. My people were saying that there was a very, very few people in the fatality stage that had strong smells of alcohol on them."

– Don Page

He said Mr Wright told him: "That's our position. That's our stance and that's what we'll have to stand by."

Mr Page agreed that the ambulance service was not prepared to "sing from the same hymn sheet" as the police and said that was the end of the bosses' personal and professional relationship.

  1. Andy Bonner

Officer says he saved life of man 'left for dead' at Hillsborough

A police officer says he saved the life of a youngman who appeared to have been left for dead at Hillsborough.

Richard Brougham recalled a youth pointing at a pile of bodies near the gymnasium saying: "Look at him. I don't know if he’s dead. I don't think he is."

Outside of the gymnasium at Hillsborough Credit: Hillsborough Inquests

The inquests heard the constable pulled the casualty away and performed the kiss of life on him with another officer.

The witness said he then felt a pulse and helped carry the casualty to an ambulance.

Mr Brougham agreed that nobody else appeared to have been checking the bodies or trying to revive them.

Fans 'fighting for their lives' to escape pen at Hillsborough, inquests told

Radial fencing on the Leppings Lane terrace. Credit: Hillsborough Inquests.

A Liverpool supporter has described fans fighting for their lives as they tried to escape a pen at Hillsborough.

Anthony Barnbrock told the inquests how he crawled towards a gate, getting pushed against a post.

Mr Barnbrock said investigating officers from West Midlands Police later asked his 13 year old brother whether he had been drinking alcohol on the day of the disaster.

Meanwhile, another fan described moving from pen three because it reminded him of a prison.

In a statement to solicitors acting on behalf of some of the bereaved families, David Moreland said "I believe that if there had not been the side fences then the tragedy would not have happened."

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Fan tells Hillsborough inquests of terror in the pen

Hillsborough Inquests hears of 'horrific' scene

  1. Andy Bonner - Hillsborough Correspondent

Lives could've been saved if injured had been helped sooner, inquests hear

The Hillsborough Inquests have heard that lives could have been saved if those helping the injured had been organised sooner.

The jury heard that Liverpool fan Dr Niall Wilson, then a medical student, made the claim in his 1989 witness statement after giving basic life support to casualties.

It read: "If people could have been organised quicker to assist the injured its possible that so many people wouldn't have died. There appeared to be a total breakdown in communication between the emergency services."

Meanwhile, David Lockwood, a divisional officer for South Yorkshire County Fire Service at the time, agreed there seemed to be a lack of communication.

Mr Lockwood, who was at one point the most senior fire officer at Hillsborough, said police "virtually ignored" him when he tried to get more information from their control box.

But the witness said he understood why they acted like they did, saying they would have found the traumatic scene "very difficult to deal with".

Hillsborough Inquests juror dismisser for medical reasons

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