Liverpool

Hillsborough inquests: Sarah Hicks 'tried in vain' to save sister

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Media captionCCTV shows the Hicks family at Hillsborough, as Judith Moritz reports

A teenager caught in the Hillsborough disaster tried in vain to save her younger sister as the crush worsened, a jury has heard.

The new inquests are focusing on the final moments of Sarah Hicks, 19, and her 15-year-old sister Vicki.

Witnesses said they saw Vicki crying and "in distress" on the terraces.

A fan who tried to pull Sarah out of the pen recalled she shouted for people to help her younger sister and there was "total terror" on her face.

The sisters were among 96 fans who died following a crush at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989.

They had travelled to the stadium in Sheffield with their parents, Trevor and Jenni Hicks.

Trevor was in a less crowded pen on the Leppings Lane end terraces while their mother had a seat in the North Stand.

Image caption Jenni and Trevor Hicks were both at court to hear the evidence from witnesses

'Nothing anybody could do'

The jury saw CCTV images of the girls and their father going through the turnstiles at 13:53.

Sarah and Vicki were also seen standing together in pen three, behind the goal, from 14:38.

In a statement, Shaun Fortune, a Liverpool fan who stood near them, said: "The dark-haired girl [Vicki] was crying and seemed in distress.

"There were a few police standing just in front of the pen and the crowd were trying to attract their attention to tell them that this girl was in trouble, but they didn't seem to hear."

Jeffrey Rex, a friend of Mr Fortune, told the jury he was standing behind the girls.

He said a fan next to them in the crowd turned around and shouted to those behind them: "Push back, push back, [the two girls] are in trouble.

"He did this for several minutes and there's no doubt his intention was to try to protect the two girls. The crush had got to such a level where there's nothing anybody could do."

Mr Rex recalled seeing Sarah holding Vicki up by her arms and could see the younger of the two girls "was deteriorating" and "affected very badly by the crush".

He said Vicki "may have been unconscious" and her head was tilted to one side.

'Fight for your life'

Alan Brookes told how he was immediately behind the girls on the terrace and "very shortly before kick-off" they were "sweating profusely", their "faces were very flushed" and "were obviously in trouble ."

He said at one stage the gate leading out of the pen was opened and some people spilled out on to the pitch before it was closed again.

"We had been surging backwards and forwards and you were just trying to fight for your life," he said.

"One minute [the girls were] there, we went forward again in another surge and they weren't there."

Another supporter, Brian Doyle, managed to escape the terraces and then tried to rescue people from the pens.

The jury saw images of him on top of the fence separating the crowd from the pitch between 15:06 and 15:08, just after the match was stopped.

He reached into the pen and tried to grab one of the girls - believed to be Sarah - who he said was still conscious.

Mr Doyle said: "I couldn't get her off the floor. I just had hold of her hand and she was crying for someone to help her sister.

"She shouted 'can someone help my sister?' then she was just crying, sobbing and her face showed "total terror".

He said: "Then people were grabbing my hand and I just lost her."

Liverpool fan Paul Taylor briefly tried to give Vicki mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but said her body was "limp" and "lifeless" and he "naturally assumed that she had already died".

The jury saw footage showing her being lifted from pen three into pen two at 15:27.

Mr Hicks has previously said that he saw Vicki being passed out of the pen and rushed to her side on the pitch. Sarah was eventually laid down next to her sister.

A police officer who rode with Vicki and her father in an ambulance said that they were "optimistic of the best outcome for Vicki".

Peter McGuinness said medics at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital worked on her for "three to five minutes" before telling him that she was dead.

He continued: "I recall that the treatment didn't appear to be particularly intensive... it was more general sorts of checks, is my recollection of what they were doing."

The jury heard how he then told Mr Hicks his youngest daughter had died.


Who were the 96 victims?

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BBC News: Profiles of all those who died


The inquests, sitting in Warrington, Cheshire, are due to resume on Tuesday.

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