Hillsborough Inquests: Officer denies ordering 'alcohol' probe

Hillsborough disaster Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ninety-six people died after a crush at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough

A senior policeman at Hillsborough did not order his officers to ask questions about how much alcohol victims had drunk, the inquests have been told.

Terence Addis, a South Yorkshire Police detective chief superintendent, was placed in charge of the gymnasium where bodies were taken during the disaster.

He said he briefed officers before relatives were interviewed, but "didn't mention anything about alcohol".

Ninety-six fans died after a crush at the 1989 FA Cup match in Sheffield.

Mr Addis said he was working at police headquarters when he was called to the ground to set up a major incident room and start an investigation.

He told the court he arrived at the gymnasium at about 16:00 GMT and saw a "disorganised" scene.

Mr Addis said: "There were a number of bodies there, people coming in with more bodies."

Image copyright Inquest handout
Image caption Ninety-six fans died following a crush at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest

Christina Lambert QC, counsel for the inquests, asked him: "Do you think it is possible that any of those who you thought were dead might have been alive?"

He replied: "No, nothing was brought to my attention in that regard."

Mr Addis told the jury he made arrangements for the gym to be divided into three sections: one for bodies, a walkway and an area for social workers and clergy to comfort families.

He added that once families had identified their loved ones they were to be questioned by police.

'Didn't mention alcohol'

He said: "I took the view that, sadly, people who lost their lives in that particular stand had been there for quite a long time before the match had started.

"I can't see they would have been drinking, so I didn't mention anything about alcohol."

Stephen Simblet, a lawyer for some of the Hillsborough families, asked: "Did you want all the people in the gym so you could interview the relatives about the alleged alcohol consumption of those who died?"

Mr Addis replied: "Not at all. I didn't give any instructions that any relatives should be interviewed about alcohol content.

"It wasn't within my remit to ask any questions with the relatives after identification regarding alcohol content."

Image copyright other
Image caption The inquests into the 96 deaths are taking place in Warrington

Mr Simblet continued: "So you wouldn't say it wasn't anything to do with the process of beginning to blame fans for what had happened at Hillsborough?"

He replied: "I'm not concerned with that at all, I had nothing to do with that at all."

Mr Addis was later questioned about why he did not seize two CCTV tapes from the control room at the stadium on the day of the disaster.

He told the court: "I just didn't think about it on that particular day."

The court heard officials at Sheffield Wednesday Football Club discovered the tapes were missing the morning after, but that police were unaware until they requested them on the Monday.

Michael Mansfield QC, representing some of the Hillsborough families, put it to him: "You appreciated the importance of the CCTV tapes on the Monday didn't you? The question is why this wasn't followed up in the way it should have been?"

He put it to Mr Addis that "one of the possibilities here is that somebody who had an interest in what had gone wrong went into the control room and took two tapes because they didn't know which was which?"

Mr Addis replied: "That could be a possibility, yes."

The inquests, sitting in Warrington, resume on Monday.

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