Liverpool

Hillsborough inquests: PC felt 'intimidated' by superior

Hillsborough disaster Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ninety-six people died after a crush at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield

A former police constable said he felt "intimidated" by a senior officer into changing his Hillsborough disaster statement, the inquests have heard.

Adrian Daley told the jury he was ordered to remove two parts of his account, where he wrote he had "no direction" during the 1989 tragedy.

He said he was "unhappy" with the request made during a meeting with Ch Supt John Nesbit, and that he did not want to make the changes.

Mr Nesbit denies the meeting happened.

Ninety-six fans were fatally injured on the Leppings Lane terraces at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989, during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

'Human carnage'

The court heard how Mr Daley, who was 25 at the time, had entered pen three on the terrace through a tunnel and began helping casualties caught up in the crush.

He described seeing a scene of "human carnage" in the pen and was hit by a "wave of shock".

After his first handwritten statement, Mr Daley was called to a meeting at Rawmarsh police station in Rotherham, the jury heard.

He said he was "absolutely certain" he met Ch Supt Nesbit and Det Sgt Michael Tissington.

He added he recognised Mr Nesbit because he saw the officer in TV news reports arresting miners' union leader Arthur Scargill at the Orgreave strike in 1984.

Recalling what Mr Nesbit said during their meeting, Mr Daley told the jury: "It was along the lines of he had got a lot more experience in these matters, policing serious incidents - this was my first one. I had never ever experienced anything like it before.

"It was something along the lines of 'I know what should and shouldn't be in statements'.

"I didn't know what to say. At the end of the day, back in 1989 the police force was a different organisation then.

"Officers from the rank of inspector, obviously we were told to respect them and do what they told you to do."

'No direction' references

Mr Daley added it was a "difficult situation" and that he felt Mr Nesbit was using "intimidation".

He recalled being shown a copy of his statement with some areas underlined that were to be "taken out".

The jury heard Mr Daley was told to remove parts from two sentences.

In one he had written: "I then returned to assist with whatever was required and I had no personal radio and was not in contact with any supervisory officer and therefore received no direction."

But Mr Daley said he was told to remove the words "and therefore received no direction".

In another section, Mr Daley was also asked to remove the phrase "again, no direction came as to what should be done".

'Discrepancies'

He was asked to write the statement again on new sheets of paper in a meeting of no longer than five or 10 minutes, the jury heard.

Mr Daley said he was "unhappy" and "uncomfortable" with what he was being asked to do.

He added that changing the statement would mean there would be a "discrepancy" between his police pocket notebook and his statement.

"I didn't understand why. I didn't ask why. I just felt I had no choice," he said.

"I was an officer with three years' experience and there's a senior officer telling me that part of my statement needs to come out.

"I didn't feel comfortable with it at all."

Superintendent denial

The jury heard that it was an "intimidating situation... where you've got somebody of that rank wanting me to do something that I didn't want to do, that I felt uncomfortable with".

Mr Daley agreed with a barrister representing bereaved families that what he was being asked to remove was "relevant" and "informative".

Jonathan Hough QC, asking questions on behalf of the coroner, said: "John Nesbit denies having been involved in a meeting of this kind and in fact denies having been at Rawmarsh station at all in the period of time we are concerned with.

"Both he and Mr Tissington deny being involved in that sort of exercise."

Mr Daley replied: "I'm absolutely sure. At the end of the day, why would I put myself through this if it isn't true?"

The jury was also told that when he heard about "discrepancies" in police statements in the news in September 2012, he informed his manager at Humberside Police - where he worked at the time - that he may have been one of the officers involved.

The inquests in Warrington, Cheshire, continue.


Who were the 96 victims?

Image copyright other

BBC News: Profiles of all those who died


More on this story

Related Internet links

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