Hillsborough PC 'given no instructions' during stadium disaster

Hillsborough Image copyright Getty Images

A police constable who helped to move injured fans during the Hillsborough disaster has told a court he had to work on his own initiative after being called to respond to a pitch invasion.

Robert Ainsworth described the situation as "bedlam" after being called to the ground from traffic duty.

He described match commander David Duckenfield as a "very good" policeman.

Mr Duckenfield, 74, of Ferndown, Dorset, denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans.

Retired South Yorkshire Police officer Mr Ainsworth told Preston Crown Court on Thursday he had been on traffic duty on 15 April 1989 ahead of the FA Cup semi-final and was on a refreshment break when a superintendent announced officers were being called to the ground.

Image copyright PA
Image caption David Duckenfield denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans

Responding to a call for urgent assistance to a pitch invasion, he entered at the Spion Kop end of the pitch - the opposite end to the Leppings Lane terrace where the fatal crush happened - between 15:15 and 15:20 BST.

Mr Ainsworth said he was given an order to stand in a cordon facing the North Stand and heard the crowd "baying" at officers to go to the Leppings Lane end.

He said: "I didn't know what was going off at the time, I still thought it was a pitch invasion."

Mr Ainsworth said he went towards the Leppings Lane end on his "own initiative" and saw fans lying on the floor in distress, crying and shouting for help.

The retired officer told how he helped move injured people.

Image caption The 96 people who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster

He said: "It was chaotic. There were officers all over doing great things, fans doing great things, trying to tend to injured people."

Mr Ainsworth said he was given no instructions until he was told to join a cordon of officers across the pitch.

He said: "At that stage everyone had lost the plot, I think, on the pitch. It was just bedlam."

The court heard Mr Ainsworth had policed football matches in Sheffield since joining the force in 1973 and had worked under Mr Duckenfield at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane ground.

He said the former chief superintendent was "very experienced" at policing football matches by April 1989.

Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, 69, who is on trial alongside Mr Duckenfield, denies safety breaches relating to the crush at the stadium in April 1989.

He was the club's designated safety officer at the time of the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

The trial continues.

More on this story

Related Internet links

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