Hillsborough inquests: Terry Wain's disaster report queried

Hillsborough disaster Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests
Image caption Ninety-six Liverpool fans died as a result of the terrace crush at the stadium in Sheffield

A police report about the Hillsborough disaster "exaggerated" how late it was when fans arrived at the ground, said a senior officer involved in writing it.

Former Ch Supt Terry Wain led the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) team writing the report which was being prepared for a public inquiry into the 1989 tragedy.

The inquests jury heard the report also stressed how alcohol affected fans.

But it did not include many references to senior officers losing control or criticism of police leadership.

Ninety-six fans died as a result of a crush at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the stadium in Sheffield, on 15 April 1989.

Mr Wain was asked to take responsibility for gathering evidence from SYP officers.

The draft report, seen by the jury, was based upon self-taken accounts of the day, written by police on duty at the stadium and said several thousand spectators arrived at the ground within a "few minutes" of kick-off.

Jonathan Hough QC, representing the coroner, said the jury had heard that the problems at the Leppings Lane turnstiles had begun "some time before that".

Mr Wain said his recollection was that it started from "14:30 BST onwards" - 30 minutes before kick-off.

Asked why the report said senior officers were suddenly overwhelmed by an arrival just a few minutes before kick-off, Mr Wain agreed it was an "exaggeration".

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The report also included references to police accounts saying fans were "openly drinking alcohol".

It said that as 15:00 approached, "the atmosphere changed dramatically", according to one sergeant.

"Sections of the crowd were seen to be the worse for drink and unruly," it said.

Mr Hough said that while the report dealt with the "effects of alcohol and its influence to a very considerable extent", what it "does not include is many references to loss of control by senior officers or many comments critical of senior officers".

Mr Wain replied: "If it was not in the [police] statements, then it's not in the report. That's an accurate and fair reflection of the statements.

"Nobody was instructed what to put in the statements in any way, shape or form. That's what officers saw and reported."

Mr Hough asked: "Would you accept that those observations critical of senior officers don't find their way into your report?"

Mr Wain replied: "That would appear so, up to now, yes."

'I feel angry'

The former officer denied there was any "deliberate decision" by he and his team "to exclude commentary critical of senior officers".

Mr Hough asked: 'Was there a deliberate decision to include evidence and descriptive passages which were critical of the fans and their drinking?"

"No. I think it was just a reflection of the statements," Mr Wain said.

Asked if the report was a "defence" of SYP, Mr Wain agreed but denied it gave a "somewhat selective narrative".

He also strongly denied telling fellow officers to put the blame for the tragedy on "drunken, ticketless Liverpool" fans.

He was responding to a claim from ex-inspector Clive Davis that he made the instruction at a briefing two days after the disaster.

Mr Wain said he did not make the order and did not know Mr Davis at the time.

He added: "I feel angry. Thirty-two years of unblemished character and an idiot like that comes and destroys it."

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

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