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 29
A superintendent who looked into the pens at Hillsborough in the minutes before the match was stopped thought the situation was “retrievable”, the inquests heard.
Coroner Sir John Goldring reminded the jury of evidence of senior officers on duty on April 15, 1989, as he continued his summing up for a 15th day.
The court was reminded of the evidence of former Superintendent Roger Greenwood, the officer who stopped the match at 3.06pm.
The jury was shown pictures of Mr Greenwood in front of the central pens where the crush happened at 3.03pm.
The coroner said: “He said, and I’m summarising, that for some time he thought the position was recoverable.
“I think he used that phrase more than once. That was the judgement at the time, he said.”
One photo showed Mr Greenwood appearing to look into the pens.
Sir John said: “He agreed he was about an arm's length from the woman in the light blue top pressed against the railings.
“He agreed he must have been able to see the position of those people in the open pens.
“They were within an arm’s length from where he was standing. Two of the people in the picture are the Hicks sisters.
“He repeated that his judgement at the time was that the situation was completely retrievable.”
The court heard Mr Greenwood ran onto the pitch to stop the match between 3.05pm and 3.06pm.
He spoke to the then assistant chief constable Walter Jackson and then returned to the pens.
In a statement made in 1990, Mr Greenwood said: “I had to concentrate on the disaster itself and deal with it with the resources immediately to hand.
“I expected the control box, who were aware of the seriousness of the situation, to take control.
“I felt as if I was dealing with the disaster alone.”
The coroner also began to sum up the evidence of Mr Jackson during the hearing this morning.
He told the jury: “There was medical evidence that Mr Jackson had a difficulty recollecting things.
“You will need to bear that in mind when you assess the reliability of his evidence.”
The coroner in the Hillsborough inquests today began summing up the evidence of match commander David Duckenfield.
Sir John Goldring continued his summing up for a 15th day, as he told the jury they were expected to retire to consider their decisions on Wednesday, March 9.
He reminded the jury that Mr Duckenfield, who was 70 when he gave evidence last year, had been promoted in the weeks before the FA Cup semi-final on April 15, 1989.
He told the inquests into the 96 deaths that Mr Duckenfield knew on March 20, 1989, when the draw was announced, that he would be taking on the role of match commander.
He said: “He said he never thought of declining it.
“If he refused to command the semi-final, he said, the chief constable would have chosen someone else for promotion.”
Mr Duckenfield had told the court: “I was delighted at the promotion and I didn’t feel at all concerned because I had been given assurances that I had an excellent team around me.
“I accepted the job and was looking forward to the challenge.”
Sir John said: “There is no evidence to suggest that Mr Duckenfield being a Freemason, as he was, played any part in his promotion.”
Mr Duckenfield said he had a number of other duties in his new role as chief superintendent of F Division, but he said with hindsight he should have thought more about his limited knowledge of the role of match commander.
The coroner said: “He said that, having reflected on it for many years, he was probably not the best man for the job, although he did not think, he said, he was overconfident.”
He added: “He said ‘with hindsight it was a serious mistake’ to accept the role of match commander.”
The court heard that Mr Duckenfield agreed that as match commander he was in overall charge on the day of the semi-final.
Sir John said: “He was or should have been the leader of all the officers policing the match.
“He agreed they were entitled to look to him for instruction and guidance.
“He agreed that to shift blame on others would be disgraceful.
“He said he had not sought to do so.”
Mr Duckenfield said he had visited the stadium twice in April 1989 before the disaster.
He said on one of his visits he went to the club control room, although he was not sure if he was aware of the system for counting fans through turnstiles.
The coroner said: “He agreed that as a reasonable match commander, he should have been aware what the club system could and could not tell him.”
Mr Duckenfield said in the preparation for the semi-final there was no discussion about a contingency plan if large numbers of fans arrived at the same time.
Sir John said: “He finally accepted that there should have been a contingency plan to deal with situations where the available entrances at the ground have proved insufficient to stop unduly large crowds from gathering outside.”
Mr Duckenfield was asked during his evidence about the system of fans “finding their own level” on the Leppings Lane terrace and denied it amounted to police abdicating responsibility.
He said the system required monitoring by all officers concerned, not just those in the police control box.
Sir John said: “He agreed that monitoring the pens was his ultimate responsibility. He failed to do so.”