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 - January 29

Ambulances sent to the scene of the Hillsborough disaster got stuck on a ramp and were damaged because of the difficulties in gaining access to the stadium.

The delay happened as a St John ambulance was exiting the ground and the first of two South Yorkshire ambulances was trying to enter.

Today's hearing of the Hillsborough inquests heard oral evidence given by Alan Hopkins, South Yorkshire's deputy chief ambulance officer at the time of the disaster, to the Taylor inquiry held in June 1989.

Mr Hopkins was unable to attend the new inquests in person due to ill-health.

He told the inquiry that the "body" of the ambulance got stuck on a gate post, saying: "We were trying to get an ambulance on at the top of the slope and there was a problem there which, frankly, surprised me because I had not seen it before. There was a ramp running down the side of the stand on a large block of concrete at the bottom of it.

"My ambulance came in on a left-hand lock and the moment he hit the concrete his body on the other side went over on to the gate-post.

"You could not negotiate the gate-post unless you came at it straight and we were attempting to push the vehicle off the top gate-post when the St. John (ambulance) came out, trying to come off the pitch at the bottom.

"His bumper was fast on the stanchion holding the perimeter railing up and I recall he had a couple of runs at it and bounced off it again and then had a real run at it and came off it minus his number-plate and I think some damage to his bumper."

In a written statement he made shortly after the disaster, in June 1989, Mr Hopkins said when he first arrived and he got on to the pitch, people started grabbing at him and shouting at him to help.

He said the scene looked like "a battlefield", with people lying on the pitch, and others behind the fence with their faces pressed against it.

But Mr Hopkins said he ignored the pleas for help as his role was to supervise the whole of the ambulance operation.

Mr Hopkins said the system as far as ambulance personnel was concerned was to have an ambulance stationed around the outside of the stadium as the streets became quite congested.

A total of three ambulances eventually went on to the pitch. The others assembled in the yard so they could be loaded with casualties before being driven to the nearest hospital.

Mr Hopkins later went into the gymnasium, where the scene seemed to be "chaos." There were already some bodies laid on advertising boards.

Mr Hopkins said he managed to get all the injured away from the ground by 4.30pm. The first time he became aware of what had gone on at the Leppings Lane (turnstile) end in its entirety was later that night. He said he had "enough on his plate" at the ground and at the Penistone Road end.

He added that he "wasn't conscious of any problems inhibiting me from doing what I wanted to do", including congestion caused by police vehicles and horses in the yard where the ambulance crews assembled.

Mr Hopkins confirmed to the Taylor Inquiry that all three emergency services were absolutely clear where they should have been when they arrived at Sheffield Wednesday's ground, and that police should have taken the leading role as co-ordinators. This formed part of the disaster emergency plan for the ground.

Mr Hopkins said he did not see it as his function to "chase round" the ground trying to find a senior police officer who "knew what he was doing". He saw his function as to move casualties out of the football ground to the nearest medical centre in the shortest possible time.