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Hillsborough rescuer tells how police superiors forced her to lie about boy's death


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Hillsborough rescuer tells how police superiors forced her to lie about boy's death

EXCLUSIVE by Kate Mansey 25/04/2009

 

Kevin died in my arms at 3.55. My police bosses made me lie it was 3.15

 

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A Hillsborough policewoman has become the first officer to admit she was bullied into changing her statement in a huge police cover-up.

 

Special Constable Debra Martin made a statement telling how a Liverpool fan of 15 died in her arms at 3.55pm on the day of the tragedy, which claimed 96 lives.

 

But officers branded her a "liar" and forced her to change the time in her account to 3.15pm – to hide the fact he could have been saved.

 

Crucially, police have always claimed victims of the disaster died almost instantly in the crush that forced the FA Cup game's end at 3.06pm.

 

They used that as the excuse for allowing only one of 45 ambulances on to the pitch to help victims. And the coroner Dr Stefan Popper brought in a "cut-off" point, ruling that all the victims were dead by 3.15pm.

 

But today Debra tells how at least one of the victims – teenager Kevin Williams – was still alive 40 minutes later. She said she gave Kevin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and remembers how he looked up at her just before he died and murmured the word "Mum".

 

Debra, 45, is the first member of South Yorkshire Police to go public with her revelations about cover-ups – and her evidence could prove vital in a new inquiry.

 

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She told the Sunday Mirror: "The whole thing made me feel angry. These families deserve the truth after all these years."

 

The dental nurse is believed to be among at least 12 officers ordered to change their initial statements.

 

She tells how she had four visits from senior officers who pressurised her into changing her statement. She also got hate mail at work.

 

 

Debra was in the Leppings Lane End when the crush began on April 15, 1989.

 

"It was bedlam," she says. "There were injured, dying and dead people everywhere."

 

One of those fighting for life was Liverpool fan Kevin Williams. Debra says: "Kevin was struggling to breathe. I gave him CPR (mouth-to-mouth). I'll never forget his little face looking straight into mine. He uttered the word 'Mum' – it was his last and he died in my arms." Debra became a problem for the police because her account didn't tally with the official line. And soon a terrifying operation began to silence her.

 

Debra says: "We were all told not to talk to the Press, then a female officer and a man knocked at my door.

 

"The WPC told me my statement was wrong and she was there to change it as it was inconsistent with what had happened."

 

Debra was determined not to alter her statement. "But when they came back a second and a third time, they were more insistent," she says.

 

"The WPC said, 'You're a liar. We don't even know if you were there. It's probably all in your imagination'. I couldn't believe it. Then I began getting hate mail at the police station.

 

"The final time the WPC hounded me at my house, they were adamant I had to change the time Kevin died. She put a new statement I hadn't written under my nose – I couldn't take it any more, so I signed it." Debra's revelations come as the Government prepares to make public all official documents relating to the disaster at Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest.

 

Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, Meredydd Hughes, said last week: "If I thought there was a cover-up, I'd already have dealt with it."

 

But Debra remains distraught at the way families such as Kevin's were denied the truth. She said: "Every year, the nightmares of what happened that day come back to the families. They have got to be told the truth – only then will those nightmares finally end."

 

Last night Kevin's mother Anne, 57, said: "I've been screaming for 20 years that my son could have been saved – he wasn't dead at 3.15pm. The police just covered it all up."

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