Hillsborough police officer 'raised stadium access concerns'

The Hillsborough disaster Ninety-six fans died as a result of the crush at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final

A South Yorkshire police officer raised concerns about access at the Hillsborough stadium three years before a fatal crush developed at the ground.

At new inquests into the tragedy, former superintendent Terence Stuart was shown a police memo highlighting problems over access to the ground.

Mr Stuart had helped draft a letter to Sheffield City Council giving the stadium "a clean bill of health".

He said he had not seen the memo before but it merited "very serious action".

The memo was written in June 1986 by Insp Clive Calvert to the head of the force's F Division, Ch Supt Brian Mole.

Insp Calvert was the police force's liaison officer with Sheffield Wednesday at the time and attended meetings of the officer working party, the committee which oversaw the club's safety certificate.

'Absolutely stunning'

In the memo, he "highlighted various topics" which had been raised with the football club "with very little success".

It said: "One of the greatest problems we have is access to the ground, particularly at the Leppings Lane end.

"The redesigned turnstiles do not give anything like the access to the ground, either on the Leppings Lane Terraces or in the West Stand, needed by away fans.

"On occasions last season when large numbers attended we had away supporters who were justifiably irate because of the inefficiency of the system, which was turned on the police and could have resulted in public disorder."

The Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough was where all of the Liverpool fans that died as a result of the crush on 15 April 1989 had accessed the ground.

Mr Stuart said he found the document "absolutely stunning".

"Surely the chief superintendent of that division should have brought it to the attention of the officers who were meeting regularly for this and ensured that it got some attention," he said.

"Why it hasn't I've not got a clue but it should have had.

"It should have been brought to the attention of all the people that attended the safety of Sports Grounds meetings.

"That's what we are there for, so it should go to that."

'Clean bill of health'

Mr Stuart was involved in drafting a reply to Sheffield City Council after the authority, in November 1986, asked for the police force's opinion on Hillsborough, in relation to the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975.

He told the jury he could not recall the letter but accepted that he had not heard Insp Calvert's views on the access into the ground before it was sent.

Referring to the memo, Jonathan Hough QC, junior counsel to the inquests, said: "It may be suggested in a properly run system, when asked to produce a document of this kind giving a clean bill of health to the stadium, from your point of view, you should have spoken to Inspector Calvert."

Mr Stuart said: "Well, I should, providing I know what he is doing."

Fiona Barton QC, representing South Yorkshire Police, showed documents to the jury which appeared to show the force consulting with the club about some concerns.

One of them illustrated how Sheffield Wednesday's engineers were asked to investigate the turnstiles at Leppings Lane, but could not find a solution.

She said: "The '86 memo from Calvert has given rise to discussions about the adequacy and efficacy of the turnstiles.

"Concerns that had been raised by the police had been taken to the club and looked at by the surveyors who came up with no answer."

Mr Stuart replied: "That appears to be the case."

After seeing those documents, Mr Hough asked Mr Stuart: "The fact remains Mr Calvert raised a concern about the turnstile access, nothing was done about it, but a clean bill of health was still given?"

Mr Stuart replied: "Yes."

The new inquests in Warrington are being held to investigate how 96 Liverpool fans died as a result of the Hillsborough disaster.

The hearing continues.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Liverpool

Weather

Liverpool

6 °C 4 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    13:00: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A Warrington-based charity is bringing together 90 leading education specialists from across Europe today to look at how to protect young people from radical groups.

    It is in response to the growing number of teenagers falling prey to extremism.

     
  2.  
    12:47: Injury check on Baines

    @Everton tweets: INJURY UPDATE: Baines to be assessed today ahead of #STOvEFC. Atsu to return to training on Friday.

    Leighton Baines
     
  3.  
    12:31: Fire consultation starts Tom Airey BBC News

    A second public consultation is underway to discuss proposals to merge fire services in West Wirral.

    Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is considering its options to make cutbacks, including closing West Kirby and Upton fire stations and building a new station.

    West Kirby station

    Public meetings will be held in Saughall Massie, Upton and West Kirby.

    A final decision will be made in June.

     
  4.  
    12:11: Rattle's return to UK Tom Airey BBC News

    World-renowned Liverpool conductor Sir Simon Rattle is to join the London Symphony Orchestra as its music director from September 2017.

    Sir Simon Rattle

    The 60-year-old currently has three years left on his contract with the Berlin Philharmonic.

     
  5.  
    11:59: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A Warrington-based charity is bringing together 90 leading education specialists from across Europe today to look at how to protect young people from radical groups.

    It is in response to the growing number of teenagers falling prey to extremism.

     
  6.  
    11:48: Rocky fight reports 'ridiculous' Tom Airey BBC News

    Liverpool boxer Tony Bellew has described reports of a fight on the set of the new Rocky film as "ridiculous".

    Various media outlets in the US reported Sylvester Stallone had to step in after a brawl started during the filming of Creed.

    Tony Bellew

    Bellew, who is playing 'Pretty' Ricky Porter in the film, tweeted he had not been involved in "any kind of fight" on the set.

     
  7.  
    11:38: Search for doctor relatives Warrington Guardian
  8.  
    11:32: Southport outdoor film vote

    @seftoncouncil tweets: King's Gardens, Southport, will host 4 outdoor film screenings this year. What will those films be? You decide http://ow.ly/JRCHZ

    King's Gardens
     
  9.  
    11:12: 'Lucky to be alive' - Ted Robbins Lynette Horsburgh BBC News

    In his first interview since collapsing on stage, Phoenix Nights' star Ted Robbins describes the moment he suffered a cardiac arrest.

    Ted Robbins

    The comedian who was born in Liverpool collapsed during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live, at Manchester Arena, on 31 January.

    Watch his interview online.

     
  10.  
    10:59: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A Warrington charity is helping teachers, academics and policy makers prevent the radicalisation of young people.

    The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace says extremism is a major issue in education.

     
  11.  
    10:50: Everton striker search BBC Sport

    The Football Gossip column reports Everton may miss out on signing Galatasaray striker Goran Pandev.

    Reports in Italy claim the 31-year-old has signed a pre-contract agreement with Genoa.

     
  12.  
    10:38: Men cleared in kidnap case Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News
  13.  
    10:23: Merseyside derby tonight

    @LFCladies tweets: It's MATCHDAY!! @LFCladies face @EvertonLadies tonight in a pre-season friendly at @SelectStadium - 7.30pm KO!

    Liverpool Ladies
     
  14.  
    10:07: M56 delays BBC Travel North West

    There's slow traffic on the M56 westbound between junction 12 for Runcorn and junction 14 at Hapsford.

    It's after an accident caused a lane closure earlier this morning.

     
  15.  
    09:59: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Six men have been released on police bail over a fight outside a Liverpool nightspot.

    Officers were called to the Heaven club on Victoria Street in the early hours of Monday morning.

     
  16.  
    09:51: Rodgers 'wary' of Clarets BBC Sport

    Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says he is "wary" of the threat posed by Burnley.

    Rodgers

    The Reds face the Lancashire side on Wednesday night and are hoping to continue their unbeaten run in the league in 2015.

     
  17.  
    09:42: Tranmere in action Phil Kinsella BBC Merseyside Sport

    Tranmere captain Steve Jennings has warned his team mates they have 12 games left to secure their League Two status as their relegation battle turns serious.

    Rovers go into tonight's crucial home game with promotion chasing Wycombe just a point above the drop zone.

    Striker Rory Donnelly and winger Jennison Myrie-Williams are both injury doubts for the Prenton Park fixture.

     
  18.  
    09:31: Men arrested over street brawl Lynette Horsburgh BBC News

    Six people arrested over a street brawl outside Heaven nightclub in Liverpool have been released on police bail.

    Heaven

    Officers were called to Victoria Street in the early hours of Monday morning.

     
  19.  
    09:20: Dog fight warning Liverpool Echo
  20.  
    09:10: Phoenix Nights star thanks medics

    Phoenix Nights' Ted Robbins has said he is "eternally grateful" to the medical staff who treated him when he collapsed on stage a month ago.

    Ted Robbins

    In his first interview since leaving hospital, the Liverpool-born comedian said: "I am so lucky to be alive."

    The 59-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live, at the Manchester Arena, on 31 January.

     
  21.  
    09:00: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Six men arrested after a fight outside Heaven nightclub in Liverpool city centre have been released on bail while police investigations continue.

    Patrols were called to Victoria Street in the early hours of Monday and found a 21-year-old with cuts to his head, face and hands.

     
  22.  
    08:46: Man jailed for killing brother Nafeesa Shan BBC News

    A man who admitted killing his older brother after an argument turned violent has been jailed.

    Mark Lowe, from Skelmersdale, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Wayne Lowe who died from blunt force head and neck trauma.

    Mark Lowe

    The 33-year-old's body was found in Southport in September last year.

     
  23.  
    08:30: Reds back in black BBC Business

    Liverpool FC have reported a profit for the first time in seven years.

    Balotelli

    The club reported a pre-tax profit of £0.9m in the year to 31 May 2014, compared with losses of £49.8m a year earlier.

    It's largely due to a rise in revenue from the Premier League.

     
  24.  
    08:17: Hillsborough Inquests Ben Schofield Hillsborough reporter

    An off-duty Merseyside Police chief has denied trying to "assist" the South Yorkshire force by writing a "glowing" statement, the Hillsborough jury has heard.

    Hillsborough

    Sir James Sharples insisted officers were "composed", "very professional" and "outstanding" in his account of the 15 April 1989 disaster.

     
  25.  
    08:10: Traffic building

    BBC Travel reports there's congestion in several areas this morning, but no major traffic incidents so far.

    The A59 is busy in Aintree between the A506 and Junction 7 of the M57.

    It's also congested on the westbound A5058 in Bootle.

     
  26.  
    08:05: Cold and bright BBC Weather Latest

    It's a cold but bright start for many this morning.

    Weather

    A mixture of sunshine and showers - heavy and thundery at times - will affect the whole of the North West later.

     
  27.  
    08:00: Morning folks Tom Airey BBC News

    I'm here to bring you the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates from across Merseyside.

    If you'd like to get in touch, you can do so on email, Facebook or Twitter.

     

Features

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back


  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6


  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?


  • A man shutting his eyes tightlyStrange light show

    What do you see when you close your eyes?


Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.