(The scenes and aftermath of Hillsborough)
(The scenes outside the Leppings Lane End - Fans were not diverted anywhere else)
(The small Tunnel fans were being led into, despite full stands)
(Crushed fans make a desperate bid for escape)
Dr Popper had refused to take evidence collected after 3.15pm on the day of the tragedy. The match had been abandoned at 3.06pm as the extent of the crushing in the ground became apparent.
Imposing the 3.15pm cut-off had, the report said, “led to the mistaken belief that an effective emergency services intervention could not have saved lives”. Evidence now uncovered shows that a number of victims had survived beyond that time; half could have been saved.
The report said there was “no rationale” for the coroner’s decision to take blood alcohol level readings from every victim, including children. Dr Popper had believed checking blood alcohol levels was “a justifiable investigation” and that the age of some victims — the youngest to die was England captain Steven Gerrard’s 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley — was “no guarantee that alcohol is not ingested”
(Tributes to the fallen fans
(A traumatized fan following the disaster)
The senior police officers said it had never happened before so there was no reason to foresee it. In fact, the only two previous occasions when the Leppings Lane terraces had been used to fill the whole of the north and west sides of the ground were at the two semi-finals, in 1987 and 1988. In 1987, the match was on a Sunday scheduled for 12 noon, and kick-off was postponed for a quarter of an hour because of late arrivals.
The need to open gate C was due to dangerous congestion at the turnstiles. That occurred because, as both Club and police should have realised, the turnstile area could not easily cope with the large numbers demanded of it unless they arrived steadily over a lengthy period. The Operational Order and police tactics on the day failed to provide for controlling a concentrated arrival of large numbers should that occur in a short period. That it might so occur was foreseeable and it did.
As a result of the inadequate number of turnstiles, it has been estimated that it would have taken until 3:40 pm to get all ticket holders into the Leppings Lane end had an exit gate not been opened. Gate C was opened to let fans in, but the number of fans entering the terrace was not thought to have been more than the capacity of the entire standing area. Once inside the stadium, most fans entering the terraces headed for the central pens 3 and 4, as directed by a large sign above the access tunnel.
Since pens 3 and 4 were full by 2.50 pm, the tunnel should have been closed off whether gate C was to be opened or not. ... [I]t should have been clear in the control room where there was a view of the pens and of the crowd at the turnstiles that the tunnel had to be closed. If orders had been given to that effect when gate C was opened, the fans could have been directed to the empty areas of the wings and this disaster could still have been avoided. Failure to give that order was a blunder of the first magnitude
(Those primarily to blame)
Families of the victims have campaigned for years to have the original 1991 accidental death verdicts overturned.
Mr Grieve said the main basis for the move was new medical evidence, made public in the Hillsborough Independent Panel report in September.
He said the alteration of evidence by the police and other emergency services was also a supporting factor, along with stadium safety.
The application is due to be heard on 19 December by the Chief Justice Lord Judge and two other judges in London - subject to any applications by "interested parties" to adjourn.
Sir Desmond de Silva's review confirmed that agents of the state were involved in the 1989 killing and that it should have been prevented.
A HEARING to decide whether the original discredited Hillsborough inquest verdicts should be overturned will be held in the High Court before Christmas.
The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and two other judges will consider the application by Attorney General Dominic Grieve at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday December 19.
* Read More - Anne Williams: I believe I'll live to see justice
It is not yet known how soon the inquests could follow if the bid is successful.
Earlier this week Hillsborough families called for the hearing to take place this year.
Today they said they welcomed the news that by this time next week they should know whether the fight for justice will take another crucial step.
If the exit doors had been opened, it wouldn't have happened.