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 Liverpool Echo - March 30
The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police was 'upset' by comments from Police Federation secretary Paul Middup blaming Liverpool supporters in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the new inquests have heard.
Proceedings in Warrington resumed this morning after a week's delay due to jury illness with evidence from former deputy chief constable Peter Hayes, the most senior surviving member of the South Yorkshire Police top management in April 1989.
Mr Hayes said he took the leading role for South Yorkshire Police in terms of dealing with issues relating to the Taylor Inquiry and the court was shown the minutes of a Police Federation meeting on April 19, 1989 that then chief constable Peter Wright (now deceased) attended partway through.
The minutes detailed Mr Wright's reaction to comments made by Mr Middup in the days after the tragedy where he said: "I am sick of hearing of how good the crowd were. Some arrived tanked up and the situation faced by officers was simply terrifying."
Jonathan Hough, counsel to the inquests, said: "Did you and the other members of the senior management team play any part at all in briefing the press during these early days, other than the chief constable's conference on the Saturday?"
Mr Hayes said: "No, not that I'm aware of. The chief constable was quite upset about it. He didn't want it to happen."
The minutes recorded that Mr Wright said he had made a conscious decision not to talk about the behaviour of the fans but admitted he would have liked to have been able to make the comments which Mr Middup had made.
Mr Hough suggested Mr Wright did not seem unhappy with Mr Middup's briefings to the press but Mr Hayes reiterated that he thought Mr Wright was unhappy.
He said: "My view is that Mr Middup should not have been making these statements to the press.
"I would have been quite unequivocal about that.
"And I can't understand, really, what Mr Wright was thinking or meaning when I read these comments."
The court also heard that Mr Hayes had a private discussion with Mr Wright on the evening of the disaster who told him to take primary responsibility for administration rising out of the tragedy and to deal with legal issues and liaise with insurers and lawyers, in the expectation there would be a public inquiry and other litigation.
Mr Hayes confirmed that by April 19 1989 a team from the West Midlands Police - the force appointed to look into South Yorkshire's handling of the disaster - had arrived in Sheffield and had visited force headquarters for a brief meeting where he said "they were accorded every courtesy, because we placed a great importance on good manners."
The court was also shown an attendance note of a meeting from the same day that Mr Hayes attended along with South Yorkshire officers, insurers and the newly appointed lawyers Hammond Suddards.
The notes record that Peter Metcalf, from Hammond Suddards, advised Mr Hayes that Mr Wright would have to produce a statement for the public inquiry.
Mr Hayes said Mr Metcalf had also talked about the force gathering evidence from its own officers to assist with the report they needed to submit to the inquiry.
A letter sent the following day from Mr Metcalf to Mr Hayes was shown to the court which indicated it would be necessary to have statements from as many as possible of the officers deployed at the ground on the day.
In the letter Mr Metcalf said: "The quality of the proof of evidence submitted by the chief constable will depend very much on the accuracy and quality of the information provided by the officers who were on duty."
Mr Hayes told the jury: "I made the point to the insurers and the lawyers that a problem for me was that I had no experience whatsoever in dealing with a public inquiry and neither had any of my colleagues and that I was facing this situation of producing evidence to the inquiry on behalf of South Yorkshire Police, and I simply didn't know where to begin or how to do it, and that I needed help."
The court was told of an internal South Yorkshire Police meeting held in Mr Hayes' office the following week attended by Assistant Chief Constables Jackson and Anderson, chief superintendent Brian Mole and chief superintendent Terry Wain, where Mr Wain - whose evidence to the new inquests was scheduled for last week but has now been delayed due to juror illness - was delegated to produce the formal statement on behalf of the chief constable to the inquiry.
Mr Hayes said: "My recollection is that I thought I needed help with the production of the formal statement to the inquiry, which I saw as a quite formidable task, and I decided I wasn't going to do that myself, I would delegate it, and I delegated Mr Wain to do it, because he was very competent in the skills required to do this."
The inquests in Warrington continue.