A former South Yorkshire Police officer has described the makeshift mortuary at Hillsborough stadium as being like ‘Dante’s Inferno’.
John Charles, a detective inspector at the time of the tragedy, told the jury at the new inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool FC fans, he was asked to work in the temporary mortuary at the club gym where the dead and injured were taken following the fatal crush.
Asked what it was like, he said: “I saw a scene of utter chaos. There were people, bodies, laid about.
“There were people coming in and sort of dumping bodies on the floor and rushing out again.”
Mr Charles said the casualties were taken to the centre of the gym, behind cricket nets, to receive first aid.
There were bodies laid on the floor and nobody was in charge.
He said there were relatives and friends of casualties in the gym and he saw people fighting and arguing.
Mr Charles said he left the gym after being asked to clear the ramp leading to it, to allow casualties to be brought in to receive attention.
He said officers formed a cordon across the mouth of the ramp and he went back out onto the pitch.
He said: “It was still utter chaos, and, I will be perfectly frank, I was looking to get out of there because it was like something from Dante’s Inferno.”
“It just seemed to be uncontrolled and, you know, it wasn’t somewhere you wanted to be. “I think, on my part, if I’m perfectly honest, it was a moment of panic.”
Mr Charles wept as he described being ordered to clear the gym of friends and relatives.