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.
To view archive reports from each day of the inquest hearings, click here.
Courtesy of the Liverpool Echo - April 4
The Hillsborough jury was told it should make a decision on suggestions that South Yorkshire Police sought to “manipulate the narrative” after the disaster.
The inquests into the 96 deaths heard a 24th day of summing up from coroner Sir John Goldring.
Sir John reminded the jury of the topic of evidence gathering as he neared the end of his summary of evidence - which he said, “keeping our fingers crossed”, he expected to finish tomorrow (Tuesday).
As he finished his recap of the topic, the coroner said: “The suggestion being made, at least at times, by representatives of the families, was that South Yorkshire Police, because it knew it was at fault, had decided at the highest level to manipulate the narrative of the disaster and in some instances to suppress or modify the evidence.
“The process of vetting the evidence was used to remove inconvenient material.”
He told the jury: “Members of the jury, it is for you to decide what you make of this; whether and how it helps you in assessing the evidence about the disaster itself.”
The jury were also told to consider whether evidence relating to Norman Bettison might suggest possible manipulation by the police.
Sir John reminded the jury that Mr Bettison, who was a chief inspector in South Yorkshire Police in 1989, was appointed to the post of chief constable of Merseyside Police in 1998.
He did not mention his role following Hillsborough in his application form but Mr Bettison told the inquests there was no opportunity for him to.
The coroner said: “Only if you were to conclude that Sir Norman Bettison deliberately sought to hide his role concerning Hillsborough would this evidence be relevant; for, only then would it be evidence capable of going to possible manipulation by South Yorkshire Police of the narrative of the disaster.”
The Hillsborough jury was today reminded of the role of former chief inspector Norman Bettison - who went on to become chief constable of Merseyside Police.
Coroner Sir John Goldring reminded the court of the evidence gathering following the disaster on April 15, 1989.
As he started his 24th day of summing up, he told the seven women and three men on the jury that he “hoped” they would retire to consider their decisions on either Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
Sir John recapped the evidence of Mr Bettison, who was a chief inspector in South Yorkshire Police at the time of the tragedy.
Mr Bettison had told the inquests he was asked to become part of a team tasked with gathering evidence to brief lawyers ahead of the inquiry led by Lord Justice Taylor.
He said he was part of the team preparing the Wain Report - which was submitted to the force lawyers for the inquiry.
The coroner said: “He was involved, he said, in seeking self-taken statements.
“He remembered no queries regarding them, he said.”
Mr Bettison said he was responsible for a section of the report on the events of the day, which included some disparaging comments about the fans.
Sir John said: “He agreed they were to some extent gratuitous and not necessary to a proper understanding of the event.”
Mr Bettison was asked about his role during the Taylor Inquiry.
The coroner said: “He said that Mr Hayes, the deputy chief constable, selected him to be the liaison officer with the legal team.
“He attended virtually every day.
“He dealt with many matters. They included the arrangements for the witnesses to be called, the finding of documents and the buying of sandwiches for lunch.”
The court heard two business students who attended evening classes with Mr Bettison said he had told them about his role in the aftermath of the disaster.
John Barry, who had been at Hillsborough on the day, said he had been in the pub with Mr Bettison after a class in May 1989.
He said: “Norman said ‘I’ve been asked by my senior officers to pull together the South Yorkshire Police evidence for the inquiry and we are going to try and concoct a story that all of the Liverpool fans were drunk and that we were afraid they were going to break down the gates so we decided to open them’.”
Mark Ellaby described a conversation with Mr Bettison in the same pub in April 1989.
Sir John said: “Mr Ellaby said he remembered Mr Bettison saying that he’d just been seconded to an internal team in South Yorkshire Police who were tasked with making sure that South Yorkshire Police bore no blame for the Hillsborough disaster and it was all the fault of the drunken Liverpool supporters.”
But Mr Bettison had denied both accounts.
The court heard after the Taylor Inquiry Mr Bettison attended a Police Federation meeting on October 1989, where MP Michael Shersby was present.
He showed a video compilation to the meeting and later went to the Houses of Parliament to show the video to a group of MPs.
The video compilation was said to have included some police footage, some material from the Taylor Inquiry and extracts from a video called ‘Planning for Disaster’.
The coroner said: “That contained elements of hooliganism to put what followed, he said, into context.
“He said there was no suggestion that hooliganism had played any part in the Hillsborough disaster.”
Click here for a full transcript from April 4.