Hillsborough inquests: PC's briefing notes were changed

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

A police officer's notes about the Hillsborough tragedy were altered by his bosses, a jury has heard.

PC Gary Cammock's account had lines "scrawled out" and annotations not in his own handwriting, the inquests heard.

The court was also told lawyers for South Yorkshire Police suggested the language in his statement should be "reviewed".

Ninety-six fans died following a crush in the stadium on 15 April 1989.

A typed version of the officer's statement, from 8 May 1989, with handwritten annotations, was shown to the court.

Mr Cammock's account of his experiences on the day of the tragedy included a briefing in the North Stand at Sheffield Wednesday's ground, where he could not hear the speaker.

In his original statement he wrote: "For a start. the microphone was next to useless and I and others around me could hear very little of what was being said.

"We kept asking senior officers to speak up but still only heard two words out of four."

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

This had been crossed out and was amended to say: "From my position, it was difficult to hear...".

Another section referred to the police response at Leppings Lane, following the call for available officers to help at the ground.

'Out of control'

Mr Cammock had stated: "I had stopped getting details as things were well out of control by now and the names and addresses were the last thing on my mind."

He wrote: "One thing that I do remember was that throughout all the chaos and [expletive], only one gaffer was, as far as I was concerned, doing anything and that was Chief Superintendent Nisbet and he was doing a brilliant job."

The expletive was crossed out and the passage relating to "only one gaffer" was deleted completely.

The jury was shown an internal letter to South Yorkshire Police from its instructing solicitors, Hammond Suddards, dated 1 June 1989, relating to Mr Cammock, which stated: "We should like him to review his criticisms of the briefing so as to ensure that this is not exaggerated."

It said bearing in mind it was going to be submitted to a public inquiry, he "may like the opportunity of reviewing some of the language used".

The firm's solicitor noted the officer agreed to remove bad language but was "not inclined to alter his criticism of the briefing".

Pete Weatherby QC, appearing on behalf of some of the bereaved families, said to Mr Cammock: "This appears to be a chain of events where officers, at a DCI level at least, are keen to get you to change your account."

Mr Cammock replied: "That is what it looks like."

The inquests continue.

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