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 - February 13
The former secretary of the South Yorkshire Police Federation denied being the chief constable's "mouthpiece" in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster.
Paul Middup accused one of the barristers for the families of "attacking him aggressively and unnecessarily" as he was asked about his descriptions of Liverpool fans attending the 1989 FA Cup semi-final as "tanked up".
Mr Middup was asked about minutes of a Police Federation meeting which was attended by Chief Constable Peter Wright and held four days after the disaster, in which 96 Liverpool FC fans died.
The minutes said: "Mr Wright admitted he would have liked to have been able to make the comments which Mr Middup had made."
Mark George QC, representing 22 of the families, said: "You are the chief constable's mouthpiece, Mr Middup, aren't you?"
Mr Middup said: "No I am most certainly not, and I resent that remark."
Mr George asked: "Dancing to his tune?"
Mr Middup said: "That's just the way you want to make it out. It wasn't that way."
He added: "I spoke only for the Police Federation."
Yesterday the court was shown a TV interview of Mr Middup, filmed after the disaster, in which he described a "mob" of fans.
He was asked about his description of officers as traumatised after the disaster on April 15, 1989.
Mr George said: "When you spoke in those terms on the TV that day, did you consider how many of the Liverpool families had been traumatised by the events of that day.
Mr Middup replied: "No, well I wasn't, other people were looking after the Liverpool families and other people from that side.
Mr George added: "Did it occur to you that what you were doing, Mr Middup, in spreading this gossip doubled the agony for the families?
"It was bad enough to lose a family member and now to find the police blaming the fans and denigrating people from Liverpool who had gone to this match."
Mr Middup said: "They were blaming some of the fans not all of them."
Mr George suggested Mr Middup took up the cause of blaming drunken, ticketless fans "with enthusiasm".
Mr Middup replied: "I think you're attacking me aggressively and unnecessarily and I don't think you're being fair with the way you're speaking to me."
He said he only discovered when told yesterday that some of those who died had been in the crowd outside the turnstiles.
But he later said he had read the interim Taylor report, although he couldn't remember the paragraph which stated that at least 16 of the victims had come through exit gate C.
Michael Mansfield QC, representing 75 of the families, said: "Of the 75 families, 22 at the moment, is the latest count we can make, of their family relatives went through gate C once it was opened.
"They weren't drunk, they weren't ticketless, they weren't part of a marauding mob and they weren't late when they turned up."
Mr George told the court seven of the 22 families he represented had relatives who died after entering through exit gate C.
The jury was also shown minutes of a meeting between MP Michael Shersby, the parliamentary consultant for the Police Federation, and the Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, in September 1989, after Lord Justice Taylor's interim report into the disaster was published.
A note of the meeting said: "The federation of South Yorkshire was also concerned at the decision of the force solicitor to eliminate some material from the police evidence to the inquiry.
"The evidence in question turned on emotional matters such as the alleged theft of items which had fallen from the victims' pockets and instances of those in the ground pouring urine on the police."
Minutes of a meeting held in October of that year and attended by Mr Shersby, Mr Middup, and a number of senior officers from the force were also shown.
The meeting, also attended by Norman Bettison, who later went on to become chief constable of Merseyside, included officers' descriptions of what happened on the day.
The minutes recorded Mr Shersby as saying: "We have listened to 50 police officers. I am very unhappy and disturbed about what I have heard, not only about the events you had to deal with but that so many police officers feel so strongly about the inquiry which has been set up by parliament.
"It is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs and you have my assurance that I will remedy it."
Jonathan Hough, counsel to the inquests, said: "What would you say to the suggestion that the federation was attempting to put forward a hostile picture of Liverpool fans, both through Mr Shersby in Parliament and through this publication?"
Mr Middup says: "I think what the federation was trying to do was to put some balance into it."
He adds: "They wanted some rebalancing of it, not to try and put all the blame on those football supporters, but for some of it to go that way, because it was sort of being obliterated, as if it didn't happen, and that's just not how it was, because it did happen, and so they wanted that putting forward."
The inquests continue.