Hillsborough Inquests: Jury shown footage of exit gate being opened

Gate C was opened at 14:52

The Hillsborough inquests jury has seen video showing the opening an exit gate which allowed about 2,000 Liverpool fans into the ground.

The footage is part of a sequence of police video, CCTV images and BBC film of events leading up to the disaster.

Jurors and families present at the hearing in Warrington were warned the images were "distressing".

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died following overcrowding at an FA Cup semi-final in 1989.

Members of bereaved families attending the inquests in Warrington were told they could leave court before the footage was shown if they wished, but none did.

The jury was shown CCTV footage from South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club of the opening of exit Gate C at the Leppings Lane End at 14:52 on the day of the game.

Gate opened again

Supt Roger Marshall, who was stationed at the turnstiles, asked for Gate C to be opened.

Who were the 96 victims?

Eight of the Hillsborough victims, CW from top left: Paul Clark, Stephen Copoc, Tracey Cox, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, Steven Fox, Vincent Fitzsimmons, Christopher Edwards

About 2,000 fans were estimated to have entered stadium after the gate was opened on the orders of Ch Supt David Duckenfield, the inquests heard.

On Tuesday, the jury heard "painstaking work" had been carried out by police and families to identify the victims in thousands of videos and photos.

Jonathan Hough QC, counsel for the inquest, asked: "Is it right from that last short clip, your team have managed to identify a large number of those who died?"

Det Supt Neil Malkin, the senior investigating officer for Operation Resolve - the police criminal investigation into the disaster - replied: "We did."

Mr Hough added: "In some cases, the last image before they were later found as casualties."

The inquest jury watched another video which showed Gate C was opened again at 14:59, after it was closed at 14:58 where there was a "much less strong flow" of fans.

They were also shown a police video of Liverpool fans on the roof of the turnstile area at the Leppings Lane end.

A minute before kick-off, force HQ in Sheffield asked the police control room at the match if ambulances were required and were told: "No, no injuries. Standby."

Supt Roger Greenwood went to the Leppings Lane stand to observe and then radioed the control room for the match to be stopped.

He ran onto the pitch to speak to the referee before the game was abandoned at five-and-a-half minutes past three.

The Hillsborough disaster The jury will be shown the video clips more than once because there is a lot of detail to take in

By 15:07, police requested a "fleet of ambulances".

South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service responded by saying a "fleet" could not be sent and they would first assess the situation on the ground.

Appeal for medics

At 15:10, police control radioed to the police garage for bolt cutters but they were unable to help. The fire service were called three minutes later.

Another video at 15:20 showed fans putting casualties on advertising hoardings and an ambulance being driven onto the pitch.

A senior ambulance station officer was the first to declare Hillsborough a "major incident" at 15:21 and estimated 30 to 50 were injured.

Nine minutes later, an appeal was made over the public address system for any doctors or nurses in the ground to help treat people on the pitch.

The gym at the stadium was cleared to be used as a temporary medical aid station and mortuary, while medical staff treated the fans.

At 15:35, Ch Supt Duckenfield, Asst Ch Con Jackson and representatives of the club and FA held a 12-minute meeting in the club boardroom, where it was agreed the match would be abandoned.

Once the video evidence concluded, the jury was told about investigations that have been undertaken about the Hillsborough disaster.

South Yorkshire Police initially carried out an inquiry, which was then taken over by West Midlands Police.

This evidence was used in a public inquiry into the disaster led by Lord Chief Justice Taylor and also in the original inquests.

There was also a private prosecution of Ch Supt Duckenfield and Supt Bernard Murray, the jury was told.

The inquest was adjourned until tomorrow.

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