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 - December 17

A police officer feared his statement about the Hillsborough disaster would be "spirited away" if he did not accept changes to it, the inquests have heard.

Maxwell Groome told the jury "a sort of paralysis" had hit the police control room during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

The PC said senior officers did not want the junior ranks undermining South Yorkshire Police's command structure.

He described a meeting with a chief inspector during which he was told what needed to be removed from his account.

Ninety-six football fans were fatally injured at the Liverpool versus Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final, held at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium.

Mr Groome, who had policed 140 football matches - about half of which were at Hillsborough - was stationed at the Forest end of the ground on the day.

As the disaster unfolded, he told the jury, he helped tear down an advertising hoarding to use as a makeshift stretcher.

He helped fans carry one of the victims, 19-year-old bank clerk Colin Wafer, off the pitch on one of the hoardings.

On 18 April, three days after the disaster, Mr Groome said he wrote a statement that included a number of criticisms about how the match was policed.

He said the control room "seemed to have been hit by some sort of paralysis" and that "certain supervisory officers were conspicuous by their absence".

The jury saw a copy of his statement in which both sentences containing those phrases had been crossed out.

At the end of the statement, Mr Groome also listed 10 points, eight of which were deleted and one changed.

In one of the removed points he questioned why the 15:00 GMT match kick-off was not delayed, at the time when the Leppings Lane terraces and the West Stand "were not very full, except for the centre pens".

He also asked why there was a "10% reduction in manpower" from the previous year's semi-final, adding: "80 more police officers at the Leppings Lane end could have made a difference filtering the fans."

In addition, Mr Groome claimed policing at Hillsborough had become "complacent".

He remarked that the decision to replace an experienced chief superintendent before the semi-final "needs to come under some scrutiny".

In another paragraph, he said: "The deployment of officers around the crucial time needs to come under some scrutiny. Too many were sat around in the gym, whilst other officers were rushed on their feet."

Those comments were also removed.

Mr Groome said he first heard about the need for changes to his statement when three sergeants, whom he knew, approached him.

He told the jury the officers said: "They want you to change this, they want you to change that."

"I just said 'no', you know, 'I'm not changing anything'."

The jury heard that on 30 May 1989, Mr Groome was called to a meeting with Ch Insp Alan Foster at South Yorkshire Police headquarters.

Mr Groome said: "I sat down. He had a copy of my statement in front of him. He started to go through the statement saying 'you can't say that'."

Mr Groome said he asked why not and was told: "Well it criticises senior officers, you can't criticise the command structure."

He added: "I said 'why not - it's failed'."

Mr Groome said the meeting went on "for an hour".

"The main thrust of the thing, it seemed to me," Mr Groome said, "was that they were terrified of junior officers criticising senior officers and therefore in their eyes, undermining the command structure of the South Yorkshire Police, if you like.

"He basically inferred that if I didn't agree to those amendments, the statement... wouldn't be presented to the Taylor Inquiry and that it wouldn't be part of the West Midlands Inquiry and it would be spirited away, you know, disappear."

The jury heard that in a recent statement, Mr Groome said: "Although he didn't say it, I assumed that my statement would be 'magicked' away or disappear, in a box never to see the light of day again, if I hadn't changed it.

"I felt that I would not have had the chance to get my say."

Mr Groome said Ch Insp Foster told him the statement would not go forward to the inquiries into the disaster but did not say outright that it would disappear. He said he "gained the impression" his "account would disappear".

After the meeting the amended statement was sent to him to be signed.

"It came to me and I signed it," Mr Groome said. "I thought if I don't, I'm not going to get the chance to say what I want to say."

The inquests, sitting in Warrington, continue.