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Courtesy of the Liverpool Echo - September 18
A Merseyside police officer added detail about Liverpool FC fans drinking alcohol to a statement about Hillsborough and removed lines about supporters being well-behaved.
Former inspector Keith Wilkinson led 14 mounted officers from Merseyside, who assisted South Yorkshire Police at the match on April 15, 1989.
The inquests in Warrington heard on April 24 in his first account, he wrote about the "carnival atmosphere" before the game, with fans drinking on grass verges and outside pubs.
But in a second statement made in January 1990, he removed a comment that "there was no hostility" and "most moved when requested" and added that someone had struck his horse.
Peter Wilcock QC, representing seven bereaved families, said: "Is it the case, to reverse the song, you have been encouraged by others to accentuate the negative and eliminate the positive, as far as the behaviour of Liverpool fans was concerned?"
"That is not the case," he replied.
The jury heard "a number of Merseyside police officers" made second statements on January 11, seven months after the tragedy which led to the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters.
Mr Wilkinson said he couldn't remember making the statement.
Mr Wilcock said: "Have you been involved in anything as tragic as the Hillsborough disaster in your life?"
"No," the ex-officer replied.
Mr Wilcock said: "How is it that, in that context, you cannot remember one of the only two statements that you have ever made about it? Are you trying to hide something?"
Mr Wilkinson said: "There is nothing to hide."
He said he couldn't remember why he added detail about fans blocking pavements "drinking alcohol".
Mr Wilcock said by January 1990, there had been a judicial inquiry into the deaths at Hillsborough and "an onslaught of media coverage".
He said: "Some may think it remarkable that the only thing you can think to add to your additional account in that context is the reference to half a dozen people drinking cans of alcohol on a bridge 45 minutes before.
"Can you really not remember how that came to be added in?"
Mr Wilkinson said: "I can't. I honestly, honestly cannot remember why that phrase was put in. But if it was in a statement that I made, it is something that I saw. To my knowledge, nobody asked me to put anything into my statement at all."
Mr Wilcock said: "Do you think you, yourself, would have sat down and thought about the 95 people from Liverpool that had died and thought, 'Actually, my first statement is inaccurate because I have overemphasised how nice they were and I have not emphasised how much - how late they were drinking'? That's not going to have happened, is it?"
He said: "That is not the case, no."
During questioning by Matthew Hill, for the inquests, the court heard Mr Wilkinson wrote in 1990 his horse "panicked" and "reined back" when the crowd was packed tightly around him, adding: "I can only surmise that he had been struck on the head."
However, he didn't put this in his first statement, and told the court he didn't know whether the horse was hit and didn't actually see it happen.
Mr Wilcock said: "Mr Wilkinson, you are not from South Yorkshire Police. Someone has told you, haven't they, to make these alterations?"
"No, that's not the case," he replied.
Mark George, representing 22 of the families, said he also said after a horse moved out of a cordon by the perimeter gates, he saw Gate B open.
He wrote: "I assumed that it had been forced open." However, he told the court police may have opened it.
John Beggs QC, representing former chief superintendent David Duckenfield, and ex-superintendents Roger Marshall and Roger Greenwood, said Mr Wilkinson had tried with other officers to set up a cordon at the perimeter gates to relieve the crush.
In an account to Operation Resolve two months ago, he said Liverpool supporters were attempting to force them open and some got through.
Mr Beggs said: "The reality is, despite your best efforts, many supporters were simply continuing to push through, weren't they?"
He replied: "They were, yes."
He agreed if people had accepted his requests to move back, officers would have maintained the cordon, and those on the other side of the gates would have gone through turnstiles without being crushed.
In his 1990 account, he wrote: "All attempts to reason with those queuing were ignored and some attempted either to push the horses out of their way or squeeze past them."
Mr Beggs said: "Again, you have got a relentless picture of supporters ignoring reason, ignoring commonsense. That's it, isn't it?"
He replied: "That's correct, yes."