Former Hillsborough commander backed decision to open exit gate

CCTV of fans at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989 Closed turnstiles meant 6,000 more fans had to enter the stadium through the Leppings Lane entrance

An experienced police match commander would have opened an exit gate to "preserve life" outside the ground, the Hillsborough inquests jury has heard.

But Ch Supt Brian Mole said there was time to warn the crowd inside the ground of the incoming surge of fans.

He had moved away from Sheffield just days before the disaster.

His evidence to a previous inquiry into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final was read to the court as he has since died.

Mr Mole was the match commander for the 1987 and 1988 FA Cup semi-finals at Hillsborough.

The match on 15 April 1989 was abandoned at 15:06 BST as the fatal crush spread through pens three and four on the Leppings Lane end at Hillsborough.

Earlier, at 14:52 BST, his successor as match commander, Ch Supt David Duckenfield, had given the order to open exit gate C.

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

He was asked to do so by a senior officer stationed outside the ground.

A massing of fans at the Leppings Lane turnstiles was threatening to cause a deadly crush, he was told.

A barrister, Mr Glasgow, who represented Sheffield Wednesday Football Club at the Taylor Inquiry, asked Mr Mole if he had ever found himself in a situation when he had "contemplated opening floodgates to allow an in-flow of a large number of people".

He said he had not.

Mr Glasgow asked him if crowd pressure outside "might have dictated that safety required that the gates be opened?"

Mr Mole replied: "Having looked at what occurred, I think that it may well have dictated a need for that, in the interests of the preservation of life outside the turnstiles."

Hillsborough inquests evidence picture of pen 3 In his 1989 testimony, Brian Mole also said he would have given 'serious consideration' to delaying kick-off

He was told the gap between the request for the gate to be opened and its opening was five minutes.

Mr Glasgow asked if this was "ample time" to warn fans inside the stadium to expect an in-rush of people.

"Given the scenario you have given me, and I have no background to it, I would have to agree that five minutes is a fair amount of time to ensure that such messages were relayed," Mr Mole responded.

"But I cannot, unfortunately, put myself in the position that was being faced at the time," he said.

In his testimony to the 1989 inquest Mr Mole also said he would have given "serious consideration" to delaying the kick-off of the match.

But he denied Mr Duckenfield was "thrown in at the deep end" when he took command of the division covering Hillsborough.

He said his successor's "experience of policing football is wide" and although he was aware that his colleague had not policed a semi-final before he had "certainly policed crowds in large numbers".

The inquests continue.

More on This Story

Related Stories

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

BBC Liverpool

Weather

Liverpool

Min. Night 10 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    18:00: Good night

    That's all from Local Live today. We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 to give you the day's news, sport, travel and weather updates.

    In the meantime, you can get in touch by emailing merseyside.locallive@bbc.co.uk.

     
  2.  
    17:48: Cloudy and mild night

    It will be cloudy and mild overnight with an increasing westerly wind and gales developing in places, BBC Weather reports.

    Weather forecast

    There will be some rain too, mainly on windward-facing hills, and some hill fog.

     
  3.  
    17:40: Coming up Annabel Tiffin Presenter, North West Tonight

    "Unreliable" and "not seaworthy" are among the words used to describe the so-called yellow duck marine that sank on Merseyside's waterfront last year.

    The sinking duckboat

    More than 30 passengers and crew were on board the sightseeing vehicle when it began taking on water.

    On North West Tonight we also have coverage of the Hillsborough inquests and Liverpool's Capital One Cup quarter final away to Championship leaders Bournemouth.

     
  4.  
    17:30: Woman jailed over drink-drive death Chester Chronicle

    A woman from Holywell has been sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty of death by careless driving while over the prescribed alcohol limit.

     
  5.  
    17:27: Cherries clash: Head to head stats BBC Sport
    • Liverpool are unbeaten in all five previous meetings with Bournemouth - all cup matches (W3, D2).
    • The Reds won 2-0 at Bournemouth in the fourth round of last season's FA Cup, Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge with the goals.
    • Two of the three cup ties hosted by Bournemouth have finished level after 90 minutes.

    Read more team stats by clicking here.

     
  6.  
    17:24: Ambulance delay raised with PM Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    The prime minister has promised to look into an incident in Halton, which saw a 78-year-old woman wait an hour-and-a-half for an ambulance.

    She was bleeding after a fall at home and her MP Derek Twigg told David Cameron it was typical of the health service under the coalition.

    Mr Cameron said his criticism was unfair.

     
  7.  
    17:22: Four arrested in rape inquiry Warrington Guardian
  8.  
    17:19: Hillsborough PC 'pressured by chiefs' Paul Burnell BBC News

    A police officer feared his statement about the Hillsborough disaster would be "spirited away" if he did not accept changes to it, the inquests have heard.

    Maxwell Groome told the jury "a sort of paralysis" had hit the police control room during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

    Hillsborough disaster

    The PC said senior officers did not want the junior ranks undermining South Yorkshire Police's command structure.

    He described a meeting with a chief inspector during which he was told what needed to be removed from his account.

     
  9.  
    17:17: Bournemouth: 'We don't fear Liverpool' Tom Mullen BBC News

    We've heard plenty from the Liverpool camp ahead of tonight's tricky tie away at Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup. But what do the Cherries make of their chances?

    Tommy Elphick

    Popular captain and Liverpool supporter Tommy Elphick has told the Bournemouth Daily Echo his team will respect Liverpool - but won't be in awe of them.

    Elphick, 27, who played in Bournemouth's match against Liverpool in January, said "It would be foolish to be in awe of them. They have a wealth of talent and an amazing squad so you have to respect them."

     
  10.  
    17:16: Sturridge to have rehab with Red Sox

    Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge will spend Christmas in Boston in a bid to speed up his return from injury.

    Daniel Sturridge

    The 25-year-old has already spent time in Los Angeles working on his thigh injury and will now link up with medical specialists at baseball team Boston Red Sox.

    He has played only three league games this season and is not expected to return to action for several weeks yet.

     
  11.  
    17:14: Cup clash date announced

    Tranmere Rovers tweet: Tranmere's FA Cup 3rd round tie v Swansea City will take place on Saturday 3 January, kick off 3pm at Prenton Park tranmererovers.co.uk/news/article/s…

     
  12.  
    17:11: Wrong documents cause flight delay

    A UK-bound flight has been delayed after a passenger boarded without the correct documentation, an Easyjet spokesman confirmed.

    EasyJet

    All passengers on the flight to Liverpool were taken off the aircraft shortly before take off from Madrid airport in Spain at about 14:35 GMT.

    Passengers with the correct documents were later able to re-board the plane causing a delay of about an hour.

     
  13.  
    17:03: Charity gift for grieving family Leanne Harper Reporter, BBC Radio Merseyside

    Earlier today I spent some time with the Colleran family, from Huyton, who lost their six-year old son Bobby in a road accident two months ago.

    Colleran family

    They have received a Christmas hamper from Merseyside Police Federation Charitable Trust.

     
  14.  
    17:00: Bournemouth v Liverpool

    Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is expected to name his strongest possible team for the League Cup quarter-final tie against Liverpool later.

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe during last season's FA Cup tie between the two clubs

    Howe has rotated his squad in previous rounds, but top scorer Callum Wilson is in line to make his first League Cup start for the Cherries.

    Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will retain Brad Jones in goal after dropping Simon Mignolet "indefinitely".

     
  15.  
    16:59: Merseyside train line closures

    Network Rail Northern Programme tweets: #Liverpool The line btwn Liverpool Lime Street & Manchester Victoria/St Helens Central will be closed 27-28 December bit.ly/1hWrY6x

     
  16.  
    16:56: News on the hour Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    At 17:00: A Merseyside mother who lost her six-year-old son in a road accident just eight weeks ago says people's kindness will help the family get through Christmas.

     
  17.  
    16:50: Drugs snatched in handbag theft

    Police are warning anyone who finds powerful prescription drugs stolen from a woman in Liverpool to hand them in.

    Lark Lane, Liverpool

    The tablets, including Diazepam and Tramadol, were in the woman's bag when it was snatched from her shoulder in Lark Lane on Monday.

    The medication is potentially dangerous and should be handed into a police station or pharmacy.

     
  18.  
    16:42: Four held in police raids Wirral Globe

    Four people were arrested on suspicion of theft and drugs offences in raids at properties in Birkenhead, Tranmere and Frankby.

     
  19.  
    16:28: Drivers warned to avoid road

    Drivers are being warned to avoid a section of Elton Head Road in St Helens because of a suspected chemical leak earlier.

    It's thought to have come from an industrial site nearby.

     
  20.  
    16:16: Chemical leak at warehouse

    Firefighters have been called out to a chemical leak at a business site in St Helens.

    Elton Head Road

    Merseyside Fire and Rescue was called to a warehouse in Elton Head Road, in Lea Green, just after 12:20. A cordon is in place and staff have been evacuated.

    People living nearby are advised to keep windows and doors closed as a precaution.

     
  21.  
    16:06: Hillsborough 'blame shift' meeting Ben Schofield BBC Radio Merseyside

    A police officer has told the Hillsborough inquests he believes the match commander and other senior officers met after the disaster to try to shift blame.

    Fans climbing out of the terrace pens

    Former South Yorkshire PC Maxwell Groome said Ch Supt David Duckenfield met other officers on the Sunday after the 1989 disaster.

    He told the jury he believes Mr Duckenfield was a Mason who was a "grand master" of a "particularly influential lodge" and met with other officers who were also Masons.

     
  22.  
    15:54: News on the hour Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    A Merseyside mother who lost her six-year-old son in a road accident just eight weeks ago, says people's kindness will help the family get through Christmas.

    Listen live to the 16:00 bulletin.

     
  23.  
    15:41: Goalkeepers seek end to feud Lawrence Barretto BBC Sport

    Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard says he now accepts former United States team-mate Brad Friedel did not block his move to Manchester United in 2003.

    Tim Howard

    The claim emerged in Howard's autobiography, which alleged Friedel, then playing for Blackburn, refused to endorse his application with a letter of support.

    Friedel called the claim "complete garbage" and demanded an apology. Howard, 35, has now said: "I have decided to take Brad at his word."

     
  24.  
    15:33: Lorry breakdown causing delays

    BBC Travel is reporting disruption to traffic between the A567 Bridge Road in Litherland and Hawthorne Road in Liverpool, due to a broken down lorry.

     
  25.  
    15:10: Give us your feedback Tom Mullen BBC News Online

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

     
  26.  
    14:56: News on the hour Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    A special memorial service to remember sex workers who have been murdered on Merseyside has heard more needs to be done to end violence against them.

    The event was held at the Armistead Centre in Liverpool which, along with Merseyside Police, has played a leading role in helping to improve protection.

    Listen to the 15:00 bulletin.

     
  27.  
    14:40: Sex worker tells of ordeal BBC Radio Merseyside

    Tune in at 15:00 to hear from a former Liverpool sex worker who was once left for dead.

    She has been at a memorial service held for prostitutes murdered on Merseyside. The event was held at the Armistead Centre in Liverpool, which has played a leading role in helping to improve protection for sex workers.

     
  28.  
    14:26: Woman injured in bag-snatch attempt

    Police investigating an attempted robbery in Widnes at the weekend are appealing for the public's help.

    Greenway Road

    A 47-year-old woman was walking along Greenway Road, near St John′s Church, when a man tried to snatch her handbag at about 23:30 on Saturday.

    She managed to keep hold of the bag but fell over in the struggle, bruising her arms. The offender is described as white, 5ft 6in, and wore dark clothes and a baseball cap.

     
  29.  
    14:13: PC criticism 'deleted from statement' Ben Schofield BBC Radio Merseyside

    A police officer who helped carry a dead fan off the pitch at Hillsborough says he feared his statement about the disaster would disappear if he did not accept changes being made to it.

    Hillsborough disaster

    Former South Yorkshire PC Maxwell Groome's original statement included criticism of senior officers at the ground. He also said that the control room seemed to have been hit by a sort of paralysis.

    Those thoughts and others were deleted from his statement. He says he was told about the changes during an hour-long meeting. He was told that if he didn't accept them, the statement wouldn't be sent off to either the public inquiry or the initial inquests. The latest inquests continue.

     
  30.  
    13:59: News on the hour Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    A former driver on the Duckmarines in Liverpool claims he told bosses about the vehicles' technical issues before two of them sank.

    A report has revealed they were "poorly maintained" and didn't meet the required standards, with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch saying it is fortunate no-one drowned.

    Listen to the 14:00 bulletin.

     
  31.  
    13:51: School targets unusual record Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    A Merseyside school is attempting to break a rather unusual world record later.

    Dalmation

    North Liverpool Academy's hoping to have more than 1,000 people dressed as Dalmatians.

    They're raising money for the Police Dogs Benevolent Fund. The current record is 450.

     
  32.  
    13:41: £1m drug haul seized Liverpool Echo

    Drugs with a street value of up to £1m were seized in a routine police stop-and-search in south Liverpool.

     
  33.  
    13:30: Johnson and Balotelli out for Reds BBC Sport

    Liverpool remain favourites to progress in tonight's tricky Capital One Cup tie away at Championship high-flyers Bournemouth - but they will be unable to call on the services of at least two players.

    Glen Johnson

    Right-back Glen Johnson, who came off with a groin injury during the Reds' defeat to Manchester United, is likely to be out for about a month. Mario Balotelli is also sidelined.

     
  34.  
    13:17: Women in the church Tom Mullen BBC News

    The issue of women in the clergy has always been a controversial topic within the Church of England. Here are some key facts about women in the Church.

    Bishop facts
     
  35.  
    13:06: Savage support for Reds boss

    Under-pressure Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers must keep his job, but the club should sell striker Mario Balotelli and buy a defender, according to Robbie Savage.

    Brendan Rodgers

    Rodgers has been criticised after a start to the season that has left the Reds 11th in the Premier League and out of the Champions League.

    But Savage said: "Rodgers is the man that deserves to take them forward."

     
  36.  
    12:57: News on the hour BBC Radio Merseyside

    In the 13:00 news bulletin: A former driver on Liverpool's yellow duckmarines has told BBC Radio Merseyside the vehicles were an accident waiting to happen.

     
  37.  
    12:50: Hillsborough update Ben Schofield BBC Radio Merseyside

    The Warrington inquests have continued with evidence from former South Yorkshire Police PC Maxwell Groome.

    Hillsborough clock

    Mr Groome said that during a morning briefing, match commander David Duckenfield said there was "no provision" for the kick-off of the FA Cup semi final to be put back.

    Mr Groome says Mr Duckenfield also said "under no circumstances" was anyone allowed off terraces on to the perimeter track.

     
  38.  
    12:38: Calls to scrap 'bedroom tax' Marc Gaier BBC Radio Merseyside

    It is claimed 10,000 households on Merseyside are suffering because of the government's changes to housing benefits.

    Today, Labour MPs will again call on the Coalition to abolish the policy they describe as the bedroom tax. A vote will take place in Parliament later, on a proposal to abolish it.

     
  39.  
    12:27: Roadworks update

    St Helens Council tweets: ROADWORKS UPDATE - Foxwood, Rainhill Traffic control measures (Stop and Go sign) in place to repair dangerous manhole sthelens.gov.uk/what-we-do/tra…

     
  40.  
    12:19: Royal visitor

    Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner's office has published a YouTube video of Princess Anne's visit to officially open the region's new joint police and fire command and control centre.

    Princess Anne
     
  41.  
    12:08: A&E wards under pressure Liverpool Echo

    Under-pressure hospitals in Merseyside are struggling with the "unprecedented" demand on A&E departments over the festive period.

     
  42.  
    11:57: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    "Extremely poor maintenance and a failure to meet standards" have been highlighted in a report looking at the sinking of two yellow Duckmarines in Liverpool last year.

    Listen live to the 12:00 bulletin.

     
  43.  
    11:39: Coming up Roger Phillips BBC Radio Merseyside

    On the show today we'll be hearing from Tony Blair's former chief of staff Jonathan Powell, who gave a fascinating lecture last night at the University of Liverpool's Eleanor Rathbone Theatre.

    Jonathan Powell

    Talking To Terrorists - How to End Armed Conflicts was the title of his talk.

    I made the point to Mr Powell that every politician I have known says you don't talk to terrorists, but the fact is they all do. Listen from 12:00 to hear his response.

     
  44.  
    11:30: Trains not stopping

    Trains are not stopping on Merseyrail at Hamilton Square due to engineering works, reports BBC Travel.

     
  45.  
    11:18: Hillsborough inquests Ben Schofield BBC Radio Merseyside

    Former South Yorkshire Police inspector Peter Darling has been giving evidence at the Warrington inquests this morning.

    Hillsborough disaster

    He was in charge of officers in front of the West Stand, including the central pens where crushing occurred.

    Insp Darling agrees with a lawyer representing Hillsborough families that it would be "wholly wrong" to scapegoat junior officers to deflect blame from commanders.

     
  46.  
    11:09: Reds linked with Chelsea's Cech BBC Sport

    Liverpool continue to be linked to a move for Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, 32, on loan, according to the Gossip column.

    Petr Cech

    The Reds want to sign the veteran shot-stopper on loan, the Daily Mirror reports.

     
  47.  
    10:56: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A report into an incident in which a yellow Duckmarine vehicle sank in Liverpool has revealed it was "extremely fortunate" no-one was drowned or seriously injured.

    Listen live to the 11:00 bulletin.

     
  48.  
    10:44: Crumbs! Chester player takes the biscuit

    Chester's Gareth Roberts was spotted enjoying a packet of biscuits during his side's FA Cup second round replay against Barnsley last night.

    Gareth Roberts

    But the energy boost failed to work - Barnsley comfortably won the game 3-0 to book their place in round three.

     
  49.  
    10:34: Bright future for town building Warrington Guardian
  50.  
    10:25: Female bishop revealed Alex Kleiderman BBC News

    The first female bishop for the Church of England has been revealed as the Reverend Libby Lane, just a month after historic change to canon law.

    Libby Lane

    She will become the new Bishop of Stockport - part of the Diocese of Chester - a post that has been vacant since May.

    Mrs Lane has been the vicar at St Peter's Hale and St Elizabeth's Ashley in Cheshire since April 2007.

     
  51.  
    10:15: Christmas countdown BBC Radio Merseyside

    A week today it will be Christmas Eve. Got all your shopping?

    Christmas reindeer

    Let us know how you're getting on, via email, Facebook or Twitter

     
  52.  
    09:59: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Bosses at Mersey Care NHS Trust insist changes are being made to the way mental health patients are treated following a damning report into the care given to a paranoid schizophrenic who killed both of his parents.

    Listen live to the 10:00 bulletin.

     
  53.  
    09:48: Mario out for cup clash BBC Sport

    Struggling Liverpool face a tough test this evening at Championship table toppers Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup.

    Mario Balotelli

    The Reds, still smarting after a 3-0 loss to Manchester United at the weekend, will be without striker Mario Balotelli after he aggravated a groin problem.

     
  54.  
    09:38: First female bishop to be announced

    The Church of England is expected to name its first female bishop later, just a month after the historic change to canon law.

    It is understood a female priest will become the new Bishop of Stockport in the Diocese of Chester, a post that has been vacant since May.

     
  55.  
    09:25: Have your say Tom Mullen BBC News Online

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you news, sport, travel and weather updates in one place. We'd like to find out what you think of the service.

     
  56.  
    09:17: Boy, five, saves gran's life Chester Chronicle

    A five-year-old helped save his adored grandma's life when he brought her around after she suffered a cardiac arrest, in what his proud mum has called a 'Christmas miracle'.

     
  57.  
    09:07: Cup joy for Rovers BBC Sport

    Tranmere came from behind to beat League Two rivals Oxford and set up a meeting with Premier League Swansea in the FA Cup third round.

    Alfie Potter

    However, Dale Jennings struck twice as non-league Chester's hopes of another cup upset were clinically ended by League One side Barnsley.

     
  58.  
    08:58: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Bosses at Mersey Care NHS Trust insist they have learned lessons after a damning report criticised the care given to a paranoid schizophrenic who killed both of his parents.

    Listen live to the 09:00 bulletin.

     
  59.  
    08:47: Duck boat standards 'not met' Tom Airey BBC News

    Recent incidents involving Duck amphibious vehicles highlighted poor maintenance and a failure to meet standards, a report has found.

    Duck boats

    The Marine Accident Investigation Branch said it was "extremely fortunate" no-one was hurt when a craft sank in Liverpool in June 2013.

    It was the second vehicle to sink in Salthouse Dock in a three-month period.

     
  60.  
    08:34: Drugs raid pub on agenda Liverpool Echo

    The future of a pub forced to close for Christmas after a drugs raid is set to be decided by council chiefs.

     
  61.  
    08:25: Killer's treatment criticised Nafeesa Shan BBC News

    Treatment of a paranoid schizophrenic who killed his parents was marred by failings, a report said.

    Leslie Gadsby

    Mersey Care NHS Trust and mental health charity Imagine did not manage Leslie Gadsby's care on his release from a secure hospital and misunderstood his risk to the public, NHS England said.

    Gadsby, of Merseyside, stabbed his mother in 2010, after serving a custodial term for killing his father.

     
  62.  
    08:17: Rush hour delays

    BBC Travel is reporting congestion in both directions along Chaloner Street and Great Crosshall Street in Liverpool.

    There are also minor hold-ups at the A59 Scotland Road junction.

     
  63.  
    08:06: Mild and rainy Sara Blizzard Weather Presenter

    It's a cloudy start with outbreaks of rain which will continue, especially later in the day. These could be heavy at times.

    Sara Blizzard

    It promises to be a mild day with the best of any brighter spells across Cheshire and a top temperatures of 11C (51F).

     
  64.  
    08:00: Good morning Tom Mullen BBC News Online

    Hello and welcome to Wednesday's Local Live. I'll be bringing you all today's news, travel, weather and sport updates from across Merseyside.

    You can contact the team via email, Facebook or Twitter. We'd love it if you'd send us photographs, tip-offs or comments.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • HobbitHobbit review

    Nicholas Barber asks whether The Battle of the Five Armies is worthwhile or unnecessary

Programmes

  • Digital candlesClick Watch

    Inside the 'Harry Potter' church, using technology to explore "digital empathy".

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.