A former police officer who was in the control box during the Hillsborough disaster said he thought someone was trying to ‘cover things up’ when he heard a log entry was deleted.
Former South Yorkshire Police sergeant Michael Goddard told the new inquests into the tragedy he was told an entry was deleted from later versions of a log drawn up by PC Trevor Bichard.
Mr Bichard was also in the control box with match commanders David Duckenfield and Bernard Murray on the day of the match in April 1989.
Mr Goddard said he was told by officers working on Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation into the disaster, that a 2.55pm entry about shutting the gates at the back of the tunnel was deleted from later versions of the log.
He said: “It stinks.
“Someone within the control box is trying to cover things up, bit underhanded. I know it certainly wasn’t me and I don’t think it was anybody else, but that’s how it appears.”
Asked about his own notes, Mr Goddard said his first handwritten statement was written after he made a series of notes in the weeks after the disaster.
Brenda Campbell, representing some of the bereaved families, asked Mr Goddard where his drafts were and he replied: “I don’t have them. I destroyed them.”
Ms Campbell said: “This is a massive police investigation into the deaths of, at that point, 95 people - did you really chuck your original drafts?”
Mr Goddard said yes, adding that he put all his notes into his one, final statement.
Sam Green, asking questions on behalf of the Police Federation, quizzed Mr Goddard about Mr Duckenfield.
He said: “Once you and those with you in the control box realised that this was a serious business...did you see Mr Duckenfield do a single thing to manage the terrible situation unfolding, or did he simply watch the tragedy do its worst from his vantage point in that pokey little box?”
Mr Goddard said he didn’t recall Mr Duckenfield doing anything.