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Saturday 1 October 2016

The 14 questions and answers from today's Hillsborough inquest

David Wilcock

Published 26/04/2016 | 13:28

Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died in the Hillsborough disaster due to crushing following the admission of a large number of fans through exit gates
Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died in the Hillsborough disaster due to crushing following the admission of a large number of fans through exit gates

The Hillsborough jury was asked to answer 14 questions about the disaster.

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They were all yes/no answers but the jury was allowed to give a further explanation for their decisions if they wished to.

The answers they returned were:

:: Question One - Basic facts of the disaster

Do you agree with the following statement which is intended to summarise the basic facts of the Disaster: "Ninety-six people died as a result of the Disaster at Hillsborough Stadium on 15 April 1989 due to crushing in the central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace, following the admission of a large number of supporters to the Stadium through exit gates."

Answer: Yes

:: Question Two - Police planning for the semi-final match

Was there any error or omission in police planning and preparation for the semi-final match on 15 April 1989 which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed on the day of the match?

Answer: Yes

The jury's explanation was: "The jury feel that there were major omissions in the 1989 Operational Order including:

* specific instructions for managing the crowds outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles;

* specific instructions as to how the pens were to be filled and monitored;

* specific instructions as to who would be responsible for the monitoring of pens."

:: Question Three - Policing of the match and the situation at the turnstiles

Was there any error or omission in policing on the day of the match which caused or contributed to a dangerous situation developing at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?

Answer: Yes

The jury's explanation was: "Police response to the increasing crowds at Leppings Lane was slow and un-coordinated. The road closure and sweep of fans exacerbated the situation. No filter cordons were placed in Leppings Lane. No contingency plans were made for the sudden arrival of a large number of fans. Attempts to close the perimeter gates were made too late."

:: Question Four - Policing of the match and the crush on the terrace

Was there any error or omission by commanding officers which caused or contributed to the crush on the terrace?

Answer: Yes

The jury's explanation was: "Commanding officers should have ordered the closure of the central tunnel before the opening of gate C was requested, as pens three and four were full. Commanding officers should have requested the number of fans still to enter the stadium after 2.30pm. Commanding officers failed to recognise that pens three and four were at capacity before gate C was opened. Commanding officers failed to order the closure of the tunnel as gate C was opened."

:: Question Five - The opening of the gates

When the order was given to open the exit gates at the Leppings Lane end of the Stadium, was there any error or omission by the commanding officers in the control box which caused or contributed to the crush on the terrace?

Answer: Yes

The jury's explanation was: "Commanding officers did not inform officers in the inner concourse prior to the opening of gate C. Commanding officers failed to consider where the incoming fans would go. Commanding officers failed to order the closure of the central tunnel prior to the opening of gate C."

:: Question Six - Determination on unlawful killing issue

Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the Disaster were unlawfully killed?

Answer: Yes (By a 7-2 majority verdict)

:: Question Seven - Behaviour of the supporters

Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?

Answer: No

If your answer to the question above is "no", please answer the following question. Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?

Answer: No

:: Question Eight - Defects in Hillsborough Stadium

Were there any features of the design, construction and layout of the Stadium which you consider were dangerous or defective and which caused or contributed to the Disaster?

Answer: Yes

The jury's explanation was: "Design and layout of the crush barriers in pens three and four were not fully compliant with the Green Guide. The removal of barrier 144 and the partial removal of barrier 136 would have exacerbated the 'waterfall effect' of pressure towards the front of the pens. The lack of dedicated turnstiles for individual pens meant that capacities could not be monitored. There were too few turnstiles for a capacity crowd. Signage to the side pens was inadequate."

:: Question Nine - Licensing and oversight of Hillsborough Stadium

Was there any error or omission in the safety certification and oversight of Hillsborough Stadium that caused or contributed to the Disaster?

Answer: Yes

The jury's explanation was: "The Safety Certificate was never amended to reflect the changes at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium, therefore capacity figures were never updated. The capacity figures for the Leppings Lane terraces were incorrectly calculated when the Safety Certificate was first issued. The Safety Certificate had not been reissued since 1986."

:: Question 10 - Conduct of Sheffield Wednesday FC before the day of the match

Was there any error or omission by Sheffield Wednesday FC (and its staff) in the management of the Stadium and/or preparation for the semi-final match on April 15 1989 which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed on the day of the match?

Answer: Yes

The jury's explanation was: "The Club did not approve the plans for dedicated turnstiles for each pen. The Club did not agree any contingency plans with the police. There was inadequate signage and inaccurate/misleading information on the semi-final tickets."

:: Question 11 - Conduct of Sheffield Wednesday FC on the day of the match

Was there any error or omission by Sheffield Wednesday FC (and its staff) on April 15 1989 which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed at the Leppings Lane turnstiles and in the west terrace?

Answer: No

If your answer to the question above is "no", please answer the following question. Was there any error or omission by Sheffield Wednesday FC (and its staff) on April 15 1989 which may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed at the Leppings Lane turnstiles and in the west terrace?

Answer: Yes

The jury's explanation was: "Club officials were aware of the huge numbers of fans still outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles at 2.40pm. They should have requested a delayed kick-off at this point."

:: Question 12 - Conduct of Eastwood & Partners

Should Eastwood & Partners have done more to detect and advise on any unsafe or unsatisfactory features of Hillsborough Stadium which caused or contributed to the Disaster?

Answer: Yes

The jury's explanation was: "Eastwoods (sic) did not make their own calculations when they became consultants for SWFC, therefore the initial capacity figures and all subsequent calculations were incorrect. Eastwoods failed to re-calculate capacity figures each time changes were made to the terraces. Eastwoods failed to update the Safety Certificate after 1986. Eastwoods failed to recognise that the removal of barrier 144 and the partial removal of barrier 136 could result in a dangerous situation in the pens."

:: Question 13 - Emergency response and the role of the South Yorkshire Police

After the crush in the west terrace had begun to develop, was there any error or omission by the police which caused or contributed to the loss of lives in the Disaster?

Answer: Yes

The jury's explanation was: "The police delayed calling a Major Incident, so the appropriate emergency responses were delayed. There was a lack of co-ordination, communication, command and control which delayed or prevented appropriate responses."

:: Question 14 - Emergency response and the role of the South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (SYMAS)

After the crush in the west terrace had begun to develop, was there any error or omission by the ambulance service (SYMAS) which caused or contributed to the loss of lives in the Disaster?

Answer: Yes

The jury's explanation was: "SYMAS officers at the scene failed to ascertain the nature of the problem at Leppings Lane. The failure to recognise and call a Major Incident led to delays in responses to the emergency."

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