Bereaved families asked if Hillsborough Disaster victims had been drinking

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Bereaved relatives were asked by police if victims of the Hillsborough disaster had been drinking - just moments after finding out their loved ones had died, a court heard.

The new inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans in 1989 has heard from a number of family members.

John McCarthy, whose brother Ian Glover died in the disaster, said five or ten minutes after Ian had been given the last rites by a priest in the Hillsborough gymnasium, he was questioned by two officers along with his father and other brother.

Mr McCarthy said: “The first one was, what time did you leave Liverpool, the second one, what time did you arrive in Sheffield, the third, did you go to any pubs on the way before the match, and the fourth was, how much had you had to drink.

“They asked me that, Joe that and even my dad that.

“My dad only came to pick us up from Barnsley Hospital.”

He added the family have been shown video more recently by Operation Resolve of Ian in the gym, with a bin bag covering his face.

He said: “No dignity at all, even when he was dead.”

Martin Thompson, the brother of victim Stuart Thompson, said he was asked to identify his 19-year-old brother’s body.

After doing so, Mr Thompson, who was then 17, asked to ring his mother but was told he could not do so until he answered some questions.

He said: “The very first question asked was what had I had to drink today.

“Then I was asked what Stuart had been drinking and then what time we got to the ground, did we have tickets, what time did we get in.

“I didn’t think it was appropriate to ask about alcohol. I was shaking, I was anxious, I was crying.”

He added: “I’m not proud but I did swear at police.”

Leslie Jones, whose son Richard and his son’s partner Tracey Cox both died in the disaster, said he had not been at the game but got a call from his daughter Stephanie who was to say she was ok but couldn’t find Richard and Tracey.

He said when he identified his son’s body, his wife Doreen tried to give him a cuddle.

Mr Jones said: “But the police officer pulled her up roughly and said ‘Sorry, he’s the property of the coroner now, you can’t touch him’.

“She was distraught by that.”

Mr Jones said he was then questioned by the police.

He said: “First question, how did you get up here, and I said I drove up by car.

“Did you stop at the pubs on the Snake Pass, no I didn’t.

“Did Richard drink? Did Tracey drink? Did Stephanie drink? I said yes, they all occasionally had a drink, but Tracey would be driving that night.”

He said he was then told he had to make another statement about Tracey.

He said: “I went through the same procedure again, did Tracey drink and all this sort of stuff again.”

Mr Jones said the family had gone to the Medico Legal Centre to see Richard’s body on the following Tuesday, because Mrs Jones wanted to hold Richard.

He said: “There said there was no way we could touch the body. Doreen was very upset about that, but they eventually showed us the body through a glass window on a trolley and that was it.”

He says he sent a letter of complaint to coroner Dr Stefan Popper.

He says: “I wrote a letter about the disgraceful state of the gymnasium that was used for the bodies.”

It was a terrible place to be in.”

The hearings continue.