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

Hillsborough Inquests

Related Stories

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

BBC Liverpool

Weather

Liverpool

17 °C 14 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Birkenhead tunnel closed 12:38:

    There are reports the Queensway (Birkenhead Tunnel) is closed in both directions due to a police incident from the toll booths to Byrom Street / Old Haymarket (Liverpool City Centre).

     
  2.  
    What do you think? 12:33: Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    We've introduced BBC Local Live from our base in Liverpool to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place. Tell us what you think.

     
  3.  
    Warrington's televised cup tie 12:21: BBC Sport

    tweets: Warrington Town's FA Cup first-round tie v Exeter City will be televised live on the BBC on Fri, 7 Nov from 19:30 GMT

    BBC Sport logo
     
  4.  
    Firework safety 12:16: Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    Merseyside's Police and Crime Commissioner is allocating £35,000 to protect communities over Halloween and Bonfire Night.

    Fireworks

    Jane Kennedy is giving the money to 25 local groups, to help them divert young people away from dangerous activities.

     
  5.  
    Poppy seller's bike theft 12:06: Liverpool Echo
  6.  
    News on the hour 11:57: Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    An 87-year-old woman who was hit on her mobility scooter by a vehicle in Liverpool has died.

    The incident happened on Croxteth Hall Lane on Monday.

    Listen live to the bulletin at 12:00.

     
  7.  
    Your pumpkins 11:53: Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    You're still sending in your photographs of the pumpkins you've carved for Halloween.

    Carved pumpkin

    I'll be carving mine tomorrow, but doubt it will be as show-stopping as this one from Carol Ramsey who posted it on Facebook. The devil, as they say, is in the detail.

     
  8.  
    M6 night closures 11:48: Warrington Guardian

    The M6 around Warrington will be closed for two nights as work begins for a £1 million repair project on a bridge at Winwick.

     
  9.  
    Fuel spill 11:39:

    Sefton Council tweets: 1 lane of Derby Road, Bootle (A565) remains closed heading north between Millers Bridge and Nelson Street due to spillage on the road

     
  10.  
    Woman dies after scooter crash 11:32: Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    An 87-year-old woman who was hurt when her mobility scooter collided with a van on Croxteth Hall Lane has died in hospital.

    Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident, which happened at 12:55 on Monday, to contact them. The woman's next of kin are being informed and she has not yet been named.

     
  11.  
    Thieves say sorry for flooding pub 11:24: Lynette Horsburgh BBC News

    Read more on the thieves (pictured on CCTV) who apologised after flooding a Merseyside pub while stealing a safe.

    Suspects breaking into the Scotch Piper Inn

    Scotch Piper Inn manager Phil Moran said there was "an element of remorse" to the note, but the flood had created "carnage".

     
  12.  
    Spookily warm 11:19:

    BBC Weather tweets: It's looking spookily warm for #halloween this year. Hottest on record if we see the expected temps of 20/21C. Jo

    Pumpkin
     
  13.  
    news on the hour 10:58: Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    A Merseyside health expert says government plans to treat more elderly people at home is a step in the right direction.

    It's hoped joining up services will cut hospital admissions by more than 160,000 next year.

     
  14.  
    Three Graces 10:45:

    This photograph showing Liverpool's Three Graces looking stunning at dusk was sent in by Andy Sivitter.

    Liverpool three graces

    We always love to see your photos, you can send them in on email, Facebook or Twitter.

     
  15.  
    New homes in Halton 10:49: Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    More than 100 new homes are to be built at Sandymoor in Halton, it has been announced.

    The 19-acre site will be developed by David Wilson Homes after the Homes and Communities Agency invested more than £3.7m in flood protection works and new road infrastructure.

    The development will include more than seven acres of public open space for residents.

     
  16.  
    Reds go to Bournemouth 10:37: Phil Kinsella BBC Merseyside Sport

    Liverpool's reward for reaching the last eight of the Capital One Cup is a trip to the south coast.

    The Reds have been drawn away at championship side Bournemouth who are in the quarter finals for the first time ever. The game will take place at the Goldsands stadium on the week beginning 15 December.

     
  17.  
    Fuel spillage 10:26:

    One lane is closed on the A565 Derby Road northbound at A5058 Miller's Bridge after a fuel spillage.

     
  18.  
    Halloween disorder warning 10:16: Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    Merseyside Police has issued a warning ahead of Halloween and Bonfire Night that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.

    Extra officers will be out on the streets over the next few days, and shopkeepers are being urged not to sell any items that can be misused to cause damage, such as eggs, flour and cans of shaving foam.

     
  19.  
    Pub thieves 'sorry' 10:07: Lynette Horsburgh BBC News

    I'm working on a story about thieves who left a note of apology at a pub they broke into in Lydiate.

    Apology message

    The gang ripped a boiler off the wall to get to the safe, leaving the place flooded. They said they tried to turn the water off but couldn't find the stopcock.

     
  20.  
    News on the hour 09:58: Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    A Merseyside health expert says government plans to treat more elderly people at home is a step in the right direction.

    It's hoped joining up services will cut hospital admissions by more than 160,000 next year.

    Listen live to the bulletin at 10:00.

     
  21.  
    Warrington Town FA tie 09:49: Phil Kinsella BBC Merseyside Sport

    Warrington Town will make an announcement this morning regarding what date their FA Cup first round tie against Exeter City will be played.

    Warrington's chairman has confirmed that the game will definitely be staged at their Cantilever Park ground.

     
  22.  
    rail services running normally 09:39:

    Merseyrail tweets: All services are currently running normally.

     
  23.  
    Barkley backs Bonfire campaign 09:32:

    Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is backing a campaign urging people to stay safe on Bonfire night.

    Ross Barkley with fire crews

    The Liverpool-born player is echoing the sentiments of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and urging people to attend an organised fireworks display this year to visit organised displays instead of holding their own.

     
  24.  
    Beatles inspire design 09:21: Liverpool Echo

    A life-long Beatles fan was chosen to design a unique installation for the new Royal Liverpool Hospital.

     
  25.  
    Mountain herd 09:08: Marc Gaier BBC Radio Merseyside

    I'm at Knowsley Safari Park where I've met some new additions, the mountain asses from Tibet Alistair, Soba, Khal and Amala.

    Marc Gaier at Knowsley
     
  26.  
    top headlines
     
  27.  
    News on the hour 08:56: Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    A Merseyside health expert says Liverpool's been ahead of the game on government plans to join up services for older patients.

    Listen live to the bulletin at 09:00.

     
  28.  
    Play us a tune 08:45: Paul Salt BBC Radio Merseyside

    Coming up on Breakfast, we'll be talking to the 79-year-old cinema organist from Wirral who's still going strong.

    Organist

    He has played at the Liverpool Philharmonic for 25 years!

     
  29.  
    M56 lane closed 08:33:

    There is a lane closed on the exit slip road from the M56 westbound to the M53 northbound at Junction 15.

     
  30.  
    Reds could sign Reus 08:28: BBC Sport

    The BBC Sport Gossip Column is reporting that Liverpool are in pole position to sign Germany midfielder Marco Reus, 25, after talks over a new contract at Borussia Dortmund collapsed.

    Marco Reus
     
  31.  
    On safari 08:16: Marc Gaier BBC Radio Merseyside

    We're live at Knowsley Safari Park just before 08:30 to say hello to Alistair, Soba, Khal and Amala, a new herd of Kiang at Knowsley Safari Park.

    Safari pic

    They are a breed of wild asses from China.

     
  32.  
    Patchy rain 08:10: Mel Coles BBC Weather

    A dull start with mist and fog patches, and some outbreaks of rain.

    Weather image

    Through the day the rain will gradually ease, and some breaks will develop in the cloud too. It will feel milder than Wednesday.

     
  33.  
    News on the hour 08:01: Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    Jaguar Land Rover insists workers at the firm's Merseyside factory are not in danger of losing their jobs as it focuses more on the foreign market.

    Last week, a plant was opened in China where a huge number of the Discovery vehicles are sold.

    Listen live to the bulletin at 08:00.

     
  34.  
    Good morning 08:00: Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    Hello and welcome to the BBC Local Live service form Liverpool. I'm here with you today bring you all the news, sport, travel and weather from across Merseyside and Cheshire. I'd love to hear form you, so if you'd like to send in a comment or photo you can contact me on email, Facebook or Twitter.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • EarthWater world

    Are ‘oceans’ hiding inside Earth? BBC Future investigates

Programmes

  • Francis Rossi, co-founder of band Status QuoHARDtalk Watch

    Status Quo's Francis Rossi explains how alcohol led him to take cocaine

BBC © 2014 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.