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 - March 3

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield said his mind “went blank” when the exit gate to the ground opened, the inquests coroner today told the jury.

Sir John Goldring continued summing up the inquests into the 96 deaths for a 16th day, although the court only sat for just over an hour before the hearing was called off due to juror illness.

On Monday the coroner began summing up the evidence of Mr Duckenfield, but juror illness meant court was cancelled on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This morning the jury was reminded of Mr Duckenfield’s evidence about the opening of exit gate C - which allowed fans from outside the ground to come into the stadium and go down the tunnel to the central pens.

Mr Duckenfield said he thought he heard two requests over the radio from Roger Marshall, the superintendent in charge outside the ground, and said the second time Mr Marshall told them someone might be killed.

He said ground commander Bernard Murray had asked him what he was going to do.

Mr Duckenfield said: “And I remember saying to him quite clearly, ‘Mr Murray, if people are going to die, I have no option but to open the gates’.”

He added: “The sole thought I had was that I had got to save lives.

“I was left, in my view, with no option whatsoever that I had to comply with his request and my brief thoughts about it at those very difficult moments for me were such that I only thought about the room on the concourse where, if people had been allowed to come in, if people were outside those gates were in danger of dying, or being crushed, they would feel some sort of relief and comfort in the concourse.”

Mr Duckenfield said he was in a “surprised state” and did not consider where fans would go from the inner concourse.

Sir John told the jury: “He agreed that the most likely route for fans would be through the tunnel.”

The coroner reminded the jury that Mr Duckenfield had said: “I think it’s fair to say that that is arguably one of the biggest regrets of my life, that I did not foresee where fans would go when they came in through the gates.”

Mr Duckenfield added: “I think it’s fair to say that I was overcome by the enormity of the situation and the decision I had to make and, as a result of that, that is probably very hard to admit, as a result of that, I was so overcome, probably with the emotion of us having got into that situation, that my mind, for a moment went blank.”

Sir John said: “He said the possibility of overcrowding in the pens did not occur to him. He accepted that it was a mistake not to have taken steps to close the tunnel.”

When he gave evidence last March Mr Duckenfield was asked if it should have been expected that it would occur to him.

He said: “If I had been a knowledgeable, experienced match commander at Hillsborough, it should have been expected of me to know that. But sadly I wasn’t.”

Click here for a full transcript from March 3.

Gary McAllister

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