Chapter 2: The 'moment' of 1989

After the crush

2.2.78 Supt Murray later reflected that, in the Control Box, he did not make the connection between the opening of the exit gates and the emerging problems in the central pens.[57] As fans tried to climb from the overfull pens he went down to the pitch to attempt to stop the match.

2.2.79 Once he became aware that Supt Greenwood was contacting the referee to stop play, Supt Murray returned to the Control Box. He did not speak to anyone on the pitch nor did he go to the pens to investigate.

2.2.80 Meanwhile, Supt Greenwood was unaware of the problems outside the turnstiles. Realising that there was a crush in the pens likely to result in serious injuries, he gesticulated and shouted to the crowd to move back up the terrace steps. Given the density of the crowd, this was not possible.

2.2.81 Supt Greenwood waved to the Control Box to stop the match and ran to the referee. He stated that he 'took this action unilaterally, having received no response from the Control Box'.[58] He returned to the pens to assist with rescue and evacuation.

2.2.82 An urgent radio message requested all available officers to move inside the stadium. Supt Marshall assumed there had been a pitch invasion and entered through Gate C. At this point fans were retreating from the terrace through the tunnel. Many were injured and it became increasingly evident to Supt Marshall that there could be fatalities.[59]

2.2.83  On Supt Murray's arrival back at the Control Box, he was instructed by C/Supt Duckenfield to return to the pitch and to try to clear fans from the goal area. There he found fans seriously injured, possibly dead, and realised he was not carrying a radio.[60] Supt Murray then contacted various officers and gave them directions. Utilising another officer's radio he called for 'a fleet of ambulances'.

2.2.84  ACC Jackson had been watching the match from a seat in the Directors' Box located above the players' tunnel. He stated that he had not seen fans being moved from the central pens before kick-off.  Shortly after kick-off he became aware of fans on the pitch behind the goal.

2.2.85  He considered three possibilities - crowd disorder, Nottingham Forest fans at the wrong end or a pitch invasion. He realised it was a serious problem when fans were on the pitch and he went to the Control Box. He was unclear at that point whether the match had been stopped or was continuing.[61]

2.2.86 On reaching the Control Box, ACC Jackson noted an air of 'concern and puzzlement as to what, what was going on'. He and C/Supt Duckenfield had 'a short conversation about the possibility of a pitch invasion'. Nothing was said about the opening of the exit gates.

2.2.87 ACC Jackson then went to consult Supt Greenwood and other officers.  He understood from Supt Greenwood that he was dealing with 'a crushing incident'. On a brief walk around the stadium ACC Jackson did not visit pens 3 and 4 before returning to the Control Box where, as he later described, the atmosphere was 'hyped up quite considerably and lots of things were happening'. He 'considered that [he] was in command of a major, a major, developing major incident'.

2.2.88 When ACC Jackson arrived on the pitch, Supt Greenwood assumed that, as the senior officer at the match, he would organise the necessary support and with those in the Control Box being aware of the seriousness of the situation, he would take control. Supt Greenwood, however, felt 'as if I was dealing with the disaster alone'.[62]

2.2.89 Supt Marshall stated later that he was shocked by what happened and had been unable to direct an ambulance into the stadium due to the crowds. He organised approximately 30 officers to assist with casualties and 'established three areas on the access to the South Stand, one for the walking wounded and one for the seriously injured, and one for the dead'.[63] He allocated a police officer to remain with each body to establish continuity of identity. According to Supt Marshall, he took charge of the rescue operation without receiving direction from the Police Control Box.
2.2.90 On ACC Jackson's return to the Control Box, Graham Kelly, FA Chief Executive, and Graham Mackrell, SWFC Secretary, were present. At that stage, ACC Jackson 'didn't say much ... because basically I was ... concerned with what was happening down there [on the pitch]'.[64] Mr Mackrell later recalled, when he visited the Control Box 'no reference was made at any stage to the gate having been opened, and it was clearly an urgent situation where I did not wish to interfere with the Police operations'.[65]

2.2.91 ACC Jackson recalled C/Supt Duckenfield saying 'something to the effect that the gates had been stormed'.[66] In the context of the rescue operation 'it seemed unimportant'. Mr Kelly also referred back to the discussion:

The Police in the Control Box were apparently under the impression that a gate or gates had been forced. They told me so and showed me a picture which purported to represent this. They said that the match would have to be abandoned because there were fatalities. They did not know how many. The Police Commander [C/Supt Duckenfield] was present in the Control Box together with the Assistant Chief Constable, Mr Jackson ... We were told that when the gate had been forced there had been an in-rush of Liverpool supporters.[67]

2.2.92 At approximately 3.30pm ACC Jackson and C/Supt Duckenfield went to the SWFC boardroom to meet FA and SWFC officials. Their discussion there focused on abandoning the match, when this should be announced to the crowd still in the stadium, and on the injured fans. When ACC Jackson entered the meeting, 'running through my mind was still the fact that the gates had been stormed'. Nothing was said in the meeting to alter that perception.[68]

2.2.93 ACC Jackson was eager to evacuate all the injured from the stadium before the crowds dispersed. Despite ACC Jackson's reluctance to air such a message, the Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish, made the announcement using the public address system.

2.2.94 Soon after, ACC Jackson spoke with Detective Chief Superintendent Terence Addis, Head of CID at Hammerton Road Police Station, who arrived at the Control Box at approximately 3.50pm. He was unable to enter due to 'a fireman stuck in the door' and was directed to take charge of the temporary mortuary in the gymnasium and assume responsibilitiy for the immediate SYP investigation of the events.

2.2.95 According to ACC Jackson, Det C/Supt Addis 'went to set things in motion [and] to set up the HOLMES [computer system] to appoint an officer to that, to get the Coroner down to tell him what we were doing and what arrangements did he think we should make et cetera'.

2.2.96 Just after 4pm, Supt Marshall, C/Supt Duckenfield, ACC Jackson and Supt Murray met in the Control Box. According to Supt Marshall, 'all of them' were 'in a state of shock'.[69] Supt Marshall explained to ACC Jackson that officers had been completely overwhelmed by the crowd outside and he had opened the gates. ACC Jackson was 'surprised', since he was still under the impression that the gates had been forced.[70] Given 'the circumstances ... the pressure that we were working under ... the trauma of the event and all the rest of it', he did not feel it necessary to question C/Supt Duckenfield about the contradiction. ACC Jackson's assessment of C/Supt Duckenfield was that he did a 'superb job', describing him as 'calm, cool, collected and he was good with his staff, and we worked well together in the box'.

2.2.99 Former Match Commander C/Supt Mole arrived at the stadium having heard a request on the radio for additional support at Hillsborough. At around 4.45pm he was briefed by ACC Jackson who then left Hillsborough with Supt Murray and C/Supt Duckenfield to brief the Chief Constable and his Deputy at headquarters and to prepare for a press conference. C/Supt Mole was appointed the Incident Commander.

[57] West Midlands Police interview with Superintendent Murray for report to the DPP, 25 June 1990, SYP000038900001, pp169-176.
[58] West Midlands Police interview with Superintendent Greenwood for report to the DPP, 29 June 1990, SYP000038920001, pp29-30.
[59] West Midlands Police interview with Superintendent Roger Marshall for reports to the DPP, 19 June 1990, SYP000038880001, pp128-129.
[60] West Midlands interview with Superintendent Murray for report to the DPP, 25 June 1990, SYP000038900001, pp179-192.
[61] West Midlands Police interview with ACC Jackson for report to the DPP, 28 June 1990, SYP000038910001, pp158-180.
[62] West Midlands Police interview with Superintendent Greenwood for report to the DPP, 29 June 1990, SYP000038920001, pp29-30.
[63] West Midlands Police interview with Superintendent Roger Marshall for report to the DPP, 19 June 1990, SYP000038880001, pp130-135.
[64] West Midlands Police interview with ACC Jackson for report to the DPP, 28 June 1990, SYP000038910001, p182.
[65] Written statement of Mr Mackrell to Lord Justice Taylor, 26 June 1989, SYP000096840001, p419.
[66] West Midlands Police interview with ACC Jackson for report to the DPP, 28 June 1990, SYP000038910001, p184.
[67] Statement of Graham Kelly, Chief Executive of the FA, HOM000001380001, p6.
[68] West Midlands Police interview with ACC Jackson for report to the DPP, 28 June 1990, SYP000038910001, pp170-225.
[69] West Midlands Police interview with Superintendent Roger Marshall for report to the DPP, 19 June 1990, SYP000038880001, p135.
[70] West Midlands Police interview with ACC Jackson for report to the DPP, 28 June 1990, SYP000038910001, pp188-230.