The Hillsborough inquests commenced on March 31, 2014 and are the subject of reporting restrictions that have been imposed by the Attorney General's office. Liverpool Football Club is respectful of these restrictions and will therefore only be making available updates from other media channels for the duration of the inquest.
The report below - and the witness testimony contained within it - does not necessarily reflect the views of Liverpool FC. Please be aware that the reports on these pages will contain evidence about the day of the disaster which may be distressing.
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Courtesy of the Liverpool Echo - October 8
The dad of a 16-year-old killed at Hillsborough described seeing his son for the last time in the crush.
Roger Ball, whose son Kester was among the 96 who died in the 1989 disaster, had been “convinced” he would died in the crush but thought his son would be OK, the inquests heard.
Mr Ball, whose statement was read to the court as he has since died, travelled to the match with Kester and his two friends Dr Andrew Edwards and Craig Wrangles.
The court heard Kester, who was born in Maghull, and the group travelled from St Albans and, after experiencing traffic on the way, arrived outside the Leppings Lane entrance at about 2.30pm.
In his statement, Mr Ball said: “Very quickly, we became embroiled in the melee and I became concerned for the safety of the three boys.”
He added: “I saw one man almost knocked over by a police horse and so I told the boys to leave the crowd and stand next to a fence by the river and wait there until the situation eased.”
He said they then went through exit gate C when it was opened.
Mr Ball said they went through the tunnel and he shouted to the boys to move to the right of the terrace.
He said: “I then saw that there was a vertical blue fence blocking us in completely on the right.
“The crowd surged and we were carried to our left and downwards.
“It was at this point that I lost sight of Andrew and Craig, but Kester was in front of me, just to my left with both of us about two or three feet away from the front fence and immediately behind the goal.”
He added: “The pressure on me then became intolerable and I was having difficulty breathing.
“I tried to raise myself on tiptoes to enable me to breathe.
“I saw Kester on my left and felt that, as he was taller than those around him, he would be OK.
“He looked a little pale, but I thought I was in more trouble.
“This was the last time I saw Kester alive.”
He said: “People were groaning and screaming but most were quiet.
“I was convinced that some of the people in front of me were dying.
“I was bitten just below my left shoulder by someone behind me in agony.
“I became semi-conscious but forced myself back to consciousness.”
The court heard in evidence to the last inquests he said: “I wanted to say to Kester ‘stand on tiptoe’, which is what I was trying to do, but I couldn’t.”
He said: “I do recall seeing a police officer walking from my left to my right across the south stand in a very slow manner, almost caricature of a policeman is how I remember it, with his arms behind his back.
“People were shouting at him to open the gate or to do something and he was just ignoring those cries.”
In his statement, Mr Ball said he noticed the gate in the pen had been opened and saw Kester’s friend Andrew outside the pen.
He said: “I thought Kester would be OK but I was convinced I would die.
“I remember somebody coming over the top of me and his leg knocked my spectacles off.
“My watch had also been ripped off. I then passed out.”
Mr Ball said he was carried back out of the pen and came to on the tarmac outside gate C.
He said: “Eventually I got to my feet and began to look for Kester and Craig. I went back toward the tunnel entrance and wandered around the courtyard area.”
The court heard Mr Ball later looked for Kester at the police station, hospital and boys’ club in Sheffield.
He went to the gymnasium and identified his son at 10.45pm.
Footage showed Kester being picked up in the pen by two fans, including John Simons, who was also seen lifting Mr Ball up moments earlier.
But John Lawrence, a police officer on duty on the day, told the court he had removed Kester from a pile of bodies at the front of the pen and carried him out of the pen and into the inner concourse behind.
He described attempting CPR with another officer, but later said he helped to move Kester to an area on the service road, where he was confirmed dead by a doctor.
Mr Lawrence said he was sure he carried Kester out from the pen.
In his statement, he said: “At no time had I seen any civilian giving assistance to the injured.”
After being shown footage of spectators carrying Kester, he described his account as “perverse”.
Peter Wilcock, representing Kester’s family, said: “The only explanation is that you recorded an inaccuracy, which I suggest can’t have been anything but deliberate?”
But Mr Lawrence said that was not true.
He accepted it was possible that he picked Kester up at a point that was further up the pen than he had described in his statement.
The friend of a victim said in a statement he saw him being treated after the crush - but told the inquests he didn’t think that was true.
Liverpool fan John Murray told the court he had travelled to the semi-final on April 15, 1989, with a group of friends including Martin Wild, 29, from Derbyshire.
He said they went through gate C and into pen three, but he lost sight of Martin in the pen after they had come through the tunnel.
He said he then became caught up in the crush.
In a statement made on April 30, 1989, he said: “About a minute after I was pulled back I had recovered and I went back down towards the front and started to pull people back.
“At this point I saw Martin Wild, he was a few feet back from the gate, two St John’s ambulancemen were carrying him by his armpits and feet towards the back of the terrace, through the tunnel and into the area at the back of the stand and put him on the ground.
“I went with them.
“One of them gave him the kiss of life, but it was no good.
“He was dead.
“They put a coat over his head and went back into the tunnel.”
But Mr Murray told the court that was not his recollection.
He said: “I didn’t see Martin at all. Not until the gymnasium, later on that day.”
He added: “I didn’t know whether he was dead or whether he was injured. I didn’t know.”
The court also heard evidence about Peter Thompson, 30, originally from Widnes.
He had travelled to the match on his own from his home, near Wigan.
The jury was told he was taken out of the back of pen three and resuscitation attempts were believed to have been made in the inner concourse.
He was later taken to the gymnasium, where he was later identified by his brother, Tony.