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  1. ITV News Correspondent, Damon Green

Bettison briefed officers ahead of Taylor Inquiry

Sir Norman Bettison said 'hearsay evidence' at Inquiry was 'admissible' Credit: PA

A Chief Inspector said to have played a key role in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster drafted a note briefing officers for an inquiry, the inquest heard today.

Jonathan Hough, counsel for the coroner took Sir Norman Bettison through the note he drafted for junior officers to prepare them for the Taylor Inquiry in May 1989.

The note said that it was an "opportunity to put our case to the inquiry" and reminded officers that "hearsay evidence and opinion are perfectly admissible".

Bettison told the court: "I thought that might be worth inclusion... so officers were not taken aback by that."

He added that by 'our' case he meant the case of the whole force.

Whenever in the officers' experience there's an internal inquiry set up, somebody at the end of the day is going to get shafted.

– Sir Norman Bettison
  1. ITV News Correspondent, Damon Green

No plan to shift blame for Hillsborough, says Bettison

Sir Norman Bettison denies there was a plot to pin the blame for the Hillsborough disaster on drunken Liverpool fans Credit: PA

Former Chief Inspector Sir Norman Bettison denied going to a meeting days after the Hillsborough disaster to plan how to shift the blame from officers.

Clive Davis, a former inspector at South Yorkshire Police, had earlier told the Hillsborough inquests that Bettison encouraged him to attend the meeting in the mess of the Force HQ because it "could be career-enhancing".

But questioned by Jonathan Hough, counsel for the coroner, at the inquest today, Bettison said: "I attended no meeting on the 17th of April. I gave [Davis] no such encouragement."

Asked whether his then senior officer, Terry Wain, ever told a meeting that he was seeking to blame Liverpool fans, the former Chief Inspector told the court: "Mr Wain never said anything that resembled those remarks. Mr Davis' account is untrue."

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Bettison denies plot to pin blame on fans for Hillsborough

A senior policeman, said to have played a key role in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, has denied allegations there was a plot to bin the blame on drunken Liverpool fans.

Taking to the stand to give evidence at the inquests, Sir Norman Bettison - who was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police at the time - refuted claims that he revealed the plan during a conversation in a bar.

ITV News correspondent Damon Green reports:

Bettison tells what he learned after Hillsborough

Former police chief Sir Norman Bettison has told an inquest of what information he learned in the immediate aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.

He is being questioned by coroner's counsel Jonathan Hough QC.

JH: Were you aware that the exit gates at Leppings Lane had been opened shortly before the disaster?

NB: Yes, I was

JH: And on police authority?

NB: Yes, I was

JH: In those early days did you become aware of what David Duckenfield had initially said to FA officials about the gate having stormed by fans?

NB: Yes, I did.

Hillsborough inquest begins questioning of ex-police chief

The counsel for the coroner overseeing the Hillsborough inquests has begun his questioning of the man who was chief constable of West Yorkshire and Merseyside police forces at the time of the disaster.

Sir Norman Bettison confirmed to Jonathan Hough QC that he was at Hillsborough for the match, as a spectator.

Asked when he realised what was happening, he told the court:

I noticed PC Marsh and another officer carrying a young boy to a spare portion of the pitch directly below where I was sitting and the two officers and a man dressed in civilian clothes, who I later learned to be a doctor, gave oral resuscitation and chest compressions in my presence – in my vision.

It was at that point that I realised that this was something very serious.

– Sir Norman Bettison

Ex-police chief Bettison arrives at Hillsborough inquest

Former chief constable of West Yorkshire and Merseyside police forces Sir Norman Bettison has arrived to give evidence at the Hillsborough inquests.

Sir Norman was a chief inspector at the time of the disaster on April 15 1989 in which 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives at Sheffield Wednesday's ground.

Sir Norman Bettison arrives at the Hillsborough inquest in Warrington Credit: Press Association

He will be questioned about his role on the day of the FA Cup semi-final and his subsequent involvement in gathering evidence for the Taylor Inquiry, which began the following month after the disaster.

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Duckenfield accused of lying to Hillsborough criminal investgators

David Duckenfield has been accused of lying to investigators from Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation into the Hillsborough disaster.

The former officer has claimed that he had a change of heart about his role in the tragedy at the time of the Hillsborough Independent Panel in September 2012.

But today, lawyer Pete Weatherby took him through the statement he made to investigators in March last year, before the start of the current inquests, pointing out that he included none of the admissions he has since made before the coroner in Warrington.

"Why were you prepared to say to Operation Resolve and the IPCC you couldn't add anything apart from minor amendments?" Mr Weatherby asked.

He added: "You were still sticking to the denials you'd made in the past. This was a misleading statement."

Mr Duckenfield replied: "It wasn't misleading"

Mr Weatherby said: "It wasn't the truth was it?...You've been following these proceedings. You've seen the writing on the wall and you've been driven to accept responsibility."

"I've now learned of my failings, and I'm accepting them," Mr Duckenfield replied.

Duckenfield questioned over 'buck stops with me' comment

David Duckenfield was questioned on the extent of his admission of responsibility after he admitted lying about his role in the Hillsborough disaster and apologised to the victims' families last week.

Today Peter Weatherby, lawyer for 22 of the families, repeated Mr Duckenfield's statement before the jury that 'the buck stops with me'.

The barrister pointed out that at various times he has blamed the part of supporters, junior officers at Hillsborough, and the quality of the monitors in the police control box.

Mr Weatherby said: "When you're cornered about what you said before the Taylor Inquiry [in 1989] you say you were traumatised.

"Although you have accepted some responsibility, we have had the book of excuses, haven't we?" he added.

Mr Duckenfield replied: "I told the truth".

"You accept responsibility, you're making expressions of sorrow and regret, but you're offloading onto other people," Mr Weatherby told him.

"No sir", Mr Duckenfield replied.

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