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 BBC - November 24

The match commander at the Hillsborough disaster "did not step up to the plate", an inquest jury has heard.

An ex-sergeant, who was in the control box, agreed Ch Supt David Duckenfield made a "gross error" in not considering the effect of opening an exit gate.

The jury heard it was Mr Duckenfield's "duty" to consider the implications of opening the gate and that he had enough to time to do so.

Ninety-six people were fatally injured at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

A barrister said Mr Duckenfield's decision was an error "with fatal consequences".

Michael Goddard has been giving evidence at the new inquests in Warrington.

He was a sergeant who operated the radio inside the police control box on the day of the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium on 15 April 1989.

Mr Goddard was inside the control room when a superintendent outside the ground asked for a set of gates at the Leppings Lane end to be opened to allow entry to a crowd of fans who had gathered at the turnstiles.

The first request was made at 14:48 BST and the order to open the gates was given at 14:52 BST, after the superintendent had made the request twice more.

Mr Goddard agreed with Brenda Campbell, a barrister representing bereaved families, that it was "the duty of the match commander to consider the consequences of opening those gates".

He also agreed that the four minutes between the first request and the order being given was enough time to think about what would happen.

The jury has heard that during the five minutes the gate was open around 2,000 spectators went through it into the stadium.

Ms Campbell asked whether Mr Duckenfield had time to give instructions to make contingency plans and to let the police officers on the other side of the gate know what was going to happen.

Mr Goddard said that he did have time.

Ms Campbell also suggested "there was time for him to look out of the windows of the police control box".

She added: 'Mr Goddard, because if he had asked you 'What's going on in the pens?', you would have said 'They look full'?"

The former officer replied: "I would have probably said 'Well, look you can see'."

Mr Goddard told the court there was no discussion of any contingency plans by those inside the control box.

He agreed that was a "gross error".

Ms Campbell said: "It doesn't need to be pointed out that it's [an error] with fatal consequences."

Mr Goddard said that, after the first request to open the gates was made, Mr Duckenfield mentioned that he was concerned that opening the exit gate may allow fans without tickets to enter the ground.

Ms Campbell asked: "There was no information at all coming into the control that volumes of people in Leppings Lane were there without tickets, was there?"

Mr Goddard said: "Not coming into the control room, no."

The lawyer said Mr Duckenfield had "no reason" to believe there were many fans trying to get "unauthorised" access to the stadium.

She added: "There was time to put in a contingency plan for when those gates were opened.

"One of those contingency plans that could and should have been put in place was closing that tunnel, do you agree?"

Mr Goddard said: "Yes."

She continued: "It does not take a genius, it takes a match commander, would you agree with that?"

"Yes," said the witness.

The "reality", Ms Campbell said, was "that Mr Duckenfield did nothing".

Mr Goddard agreed, saying: "That's true."

The jury heard that Mr Goddard had told Operation Resolve, the ongoing police investigation into the disaster, that "some people did not step up to the plate".

Ms Campbell asked him: "What you mean by that is Mr Duckenfield did not step up to the plate?"

Mr Goddard said: "Well, yes."

Ms Campbell continued: "And his second-in-command, [Bernard] Murray, did not step up to the plate?"

Mr Goddard said: "On reflection, yes, that's what I'm thinking".

The inquests continue on Tuesday.