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 BBC - October 16

Senior South Yorkshire Police officers tried to "divert the blame" for the Hillsborough disaster on to lower-ranking colleagues, the inquests heard.

PC Fiona Nicol "always felt" she and others on the ground were "singled out" as "scapegoats".

She was not aware a major incident plan had been in place, saying "everybody realised too late" about the disaster.

Ms Nicol gave first aid and went to hospital with two casualties in an ambulance driven by a police officer.

Ninety-six fans died as a result of a crush at the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989.

After the disaster, Ms Nicol described being "extremely intimidated" by a senior officer as she wrote her account of the day.

The inquest in Warrington heard the officer kept interrupting her to read what she had written.

He later questioned her description of the central pens behind the goal being "full", the jury was told.

Ms Nicol, now known Fiona Richardson, had been on duty at the Leppings Lane end in front of terraces filling up with Liverpool fans.

Rajiv Menon QC, who represents a group of Hillsborough families, asked whether police officers in front of the central pens "seemed to realise" far too late what was happening.

Ms Nicol said: "I would say both for them and me also, we were all too late.

"Everybody realised far too late."

She said at the time of the 1989 Taylor Inquiry - which was set up in the aftermath of the disaster to establish the cause - she was "told by a few people... 'they're trying to blame you'."

Ms Nicol said: 'I've always believed that South Yorkshire Police were trying to scapegoat - yes, me.

"But once the Taylor Inquiry got under way, it didn't work out their way [and] I got left alone."

"I've always felt aggrieved towards senior officers in South Yorkshire Police, who I believe tried to divert the blame for what happened on officers on the ground and on the fans," she said in a recent police statement that was read to the court.

The court heard Ms Nicol attended a briefing by the match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield on the morning of the disaster.

"He wanted the match to go off smoothly. They didn't want any upset happening at the match," she said.

The court heard the written police orders for the day - known as the operational order - said the gates in the pitch perimeter fencing could be opened if a fan needed medical attention.

Ms Nicol said she never saw that order but agreed it would be "common sense", adding "it would be stupid not to".

During the course of the day, Ms Nicol said she opened a gate into one of the pens to allow a cub scout leader with six or seven children out.

She could not be sure if the gate led out of pen three, in which much of the crushing took place, or the less dense pen two, the jury was told.

She said she feared getting into "trouble" by opening the gate but took the decision because "it was children being upset".

After letting them out of the pen, she walked them down to the corner of the pitch to sit with St John Ambulance medics.

Later she helped carry casualties off the pitch on makeshift stretchers.

She described her first aid training as "inadequate". She had never used it before that day and was "not confident" about doing so, the jury heard.

Ms Nicol said she had not received training in policing a football match and was not aware of any major incident plan for the day.

"The fans were helping me more than [my colleagues] - the fans were helping me a lot and when I walked around I did see police officers and fans all giving CPR.

"But there were obviously a lot of people that were just stood around as well, including unfortunately both police officers and fans," she said.

Ms Nicol went to Royal Hallamshire Hospital with a "lad who was having trouble breathing" and another who had "either a broken arm or crushed ribs".

The inquests continue.