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Courtesy of Press Association - June 13
Police chiefs gave Hillsborough a clean bill of health while a more junior officer was raising concerns about the ground, heard the inquest into the football disaster.
But Terence Stuart, the former head of the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) unit responsible for public order and football matches, denied there was "complacency" within the force and told the jury it was "stunning" to now be shown an internal memo raising concerns about the stadium.
The retired officer was questioned about his involvement with Hillsborough in the years before the disaster when he was the superintendent in charge of the Force Operations division, with responsibility for policing football matches and was also the football liaison officer for South Yorkshire Police.
He left the post just a month before the disaster on April 15 1989 when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed on the Leppings Lane terrace of the ground during an FA Cup semi-final.
Mr Stuart was asked about a paper trail of numerous letters and memos dating back to the 1980s involving Hillsborough.
The jury was shown a memo from an Inspector Calvert on 'F' Division of SYP, covering the Hillsborough stadium, to his boss the Chief Superintendent, dated June 11 1986.
In it the inspector complained of "crowd access to the Leppings Lane" and "congestion due to crash barriers" but approaches to the club had met with "little success in many cases".
Mr Stuart said such matters were not brought to his attention.
He said: "Never seen it at all and I find it absolutely stunning. The content merits some serious action. I have never seen that document in my life."
Mr Stuart was then asked to comment about a letter with his initials on it, sent seven months after the memo, responding to a Sheffield City Council enquiry to police about safety and giving Hillsborough a "clean bill of health".
The witness said: "It should've reached me at some point, but again it is the first time I have seen it since this investigation took place.
"I'm sorry but I just don't know. These documents are just strange items."
Jonathan Hough QC, counsel for the inquest, suggested it was "rather unsatisfactory" that officers in 'F' division were saying one thing internally but the official "corporate view" was saying another.
Mr Stuart replied: "It is, very unsatisfactory."
Heather Williams, representing the family of John McBrien, 18, at the inquest in Warrington, said there was a "clear disconnect" between the contents of the memo and the letter.
She suggested to the witness, it must be that either officers in F Division failed to tell him their concerns - or he failed to check with them.
Mr Stuart said: "Well, I have not got a clue."
Ms Williams replied: "There was some complacency at the time on your part and on the part of South Yorkshire Police?"
Mr Stuart replied: "No. Not at all, that is simply not on.
"I would have dealt with it if I had known of the existence of that.
"If I don't know something exists, how can I do something?"
The jury was also shown a statement from Inspector Calvert, who is now deceased, which said that after Sheffield Wednesday were promoted to the top division in 1984 there were problems at the Leppings Lane end of the ground due to the increased numbers of away fans.
It had been suggested demolishing the turnstiles and re-designing the "bottleneck" area outside the terrace end but "in the light of spending on football grounds" a compromise had been reached and some new turnstiles added, concluding, "anything is better than nothing".