Hillsborough trial: police officer recalls fears of a coup de theater

HillsboroughCopyright of the image
Getty Images

Legend

Ninety-six people died as a result of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989

A former police officer broke down in court while he was recalling the Hillsborough disaster to a jury.

Stephen Ellis was a police inspector from South Yorkshire outside the stadium on the day of the tragedy.

Preston Crown Court learned that he was "seriously concerned" about crushing the turnstiles, but then felt a "huge relief" when an exit door was opened.

The match commander, 74-year-old David Duckenfield, denies the manslaughter committed by 95 Liverpool supporters.

Copyright of the image
Pennsylvania

Legend

David Duckenfield denies manslaughter for gross negligence

The former chief superintendent of Ferndown, Dorset, was in charge of the FA Cup semifinal on April 15, 1989.

Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, 69, denies a stadium safety certificate and a health and safety charge.

Mr. Ellis' job that day was to escort Liverpool fans aboard a "special football" train to the ground, he said.

The jury has previously heard that at 14:45 BST, a dense crowd was formed off the ground and that more than 24,000 spectators from Liverpool had arrived for the occasional posting. . Mounted police and foot patrols were overwhelmed and spectators were crushed under the turnstiles.

Mr. Ellis told the jury that he had knelt on a Land Rover police and had shouted the crowd with the help of a loudspeaker "to stop pushing" , inviting fans to "go back".

He said that he had told the fans "" people are crushed to the front … stop being anxious ", all that I could think of.

"I may have said that we were delaying the kickoff even though I had no instructions.

"People were shouting," Make him wait, so I told them what they wanted to hear to calm the situation. "

At 14:52, the largest exit door, Door C, was opened and more and more fans entered the floor, but within minutes, supporters of the pens three and four behind the goal were shot and the match was dropped.

Legend

The 96 people who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster

Mr. Ellis said, "This part annoys me because I worried so much for the safety of people in front of Leppings Lane and I was screaming over this speaker system for 20 minutes."

"I was seriously worried and what seemed like seconds, I looked again and there were about five meters of spectators in front of the turnstiles.

"I had a huge sense of relief, but where did they go?" They entered quickly … "

Former Chief Inspector Malcolm Edmundson, who was based in the force's operations room that day, also testified.

He told the court that he had never heard the word code to indicate a major incident and that it was 3:17 pm before he started treating him as such.

The court learned how his team received requests from dog handlers and additional officers while the fans were crushed.

At 15:07, he said that a message had been sent asking the paramedics to get to the ground.

The trial continues.