Jump to content

South Yorkshire Chief Supt (in '89) telling lies in the Mail


Recommended Posts



I was in charge of the Forest end, and, just before kick-off, I radioed to say all the fans were safely inside and there were no problems.


While my driver went to fill up the Range Rover, I thought I'd pop in and have a quick look at the game.


As I did, an inspector ran up and said: 'I'm glad you're here. There's a pitch invasion at the Leppings Lane end.'


I looked at people being lifted over the fencing and the players heading for the dressing room and knew instantly it was far more serious than that.


I dashed straight across the pitch and began trying to deal with what was happening.


I set up a line of officers to help get people out of the crush and on to the pitch and I ordered another line to stand across the halfway line to make sure rival supporters were kept apart.


There was a lot of anger and frustration, and the last thing we needed was a brawl developing.


I also took hold of a loudspeaker and asked people to stay in the ground to allow the best possible access for emergency vehicles.


I basically tried to take control, but it was clear lives had already been lost.


As I was giving out instructions, it was clear people lying in front of me were dead. There was so much fear, and I remember lifting one little boy of about 10 out of that pen, and he kept saying to me: 'Don't drop me, mister, will you? Don't drop me.'


He looked terrified, and I said: 'Don't worry, lad, I won't.'


I laid him down on the pitch and said to a woman officer nearby: 'Look after him.' He seemed fine, other than being scared, but so many others were not. It was an ordeal for the police men and women who were in the thick of it as well, but I saw so many young officers come of age that day.


We were helped by the fantastic efforts of Liverpool fans who acted as stretcher bearers and did all they could to help the stricken to first aid centres. It is quite possible more lives would have been lost without their endeavours.

I ended up working right through the night, because there was so much to do, in terms of turning the gymnasium into a mortuary and making arrangements for identifying the bodies.


John Nesbitt, pictured when head of security at Hillsborough in 1998

All those who had been certified dead were photographed, and the pictures placed on a board. You couldn't have relatives wandering round the gym, looking at one body after another, and this seemed the best way.


If they recognised someone, they would be taken directly to them. I remember at about one in the morning, a chap from Runcorn came to me in a really distressed state. He had lost his son and feared the worst. He had been to both hospitals and had looked through every photograph, but there was no sign. I took him into the police room and told him to use our phone to call his wife. She said their son had somehow managed to travel back independently and was back home safe and sound.


I'll never forget the look on his face. He walked over and put an arm round me and burst into tears.

One thing the Taylor Report did not mention was that we gathered 1,500 witness statements from people living near the ground who said there had been heavy and sustained drinking by a significant minority of Liverpool fans before the game.


That had an influence on events, because people arriving in that state tend to be agitated and more difficult to control.


The majority of Liverpool fans are loyal and dedicated people, but that minority caused a problem.


I know a lot has been made of the decision to open Gate 3, but I don't think that contributed as much as some people think.


There was no mad rush down that tunnel. There can't have been, because there was a six foot high fence running from the end of the tunnel down to the pitch that divided the two central pens.


If there had been a stampede, that would have been flattened and there would have been casualties at the mouth of the tunnel. There weren't any.


What happened was a crash barrier to the right went over. Pressure on it lifted the concrete mountings out of the ground, people went down with it and others piled on top of them. That created a sort of vacuum that others poured into, and it made the situation worse.


Equally, if the gate had not been opened, there would have been crushing and problems outside the ground. It was a case of dammed if you open it, dammed if you don't.




He's due to be on Five Live's Drive Time on Tuesday. You can contact them here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/programmes/drive.shtml

Edited by Maldini
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...