Hillsborough inquests start hearing harrowing stories of each fan who died

Carl Lewis, one of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster
Carl Lewis, one of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster
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The jury at the new Hillsborough inquests have begun hearing harrowing details about the movements of the 96 Liverpool fans who died.

The hearings have moved into a new phase aiming to tell the individual stories of each person who died on April 15, 1989.

Evidence will set out the narrative of the day for the victims from when they arrived at the FA Cup semi-final, how they got in, which terrace pen they went into, their experience in the pens and what happened following the crush that led to the fatalities.

Last week counsel to the inquest Christina Lambert QC told the jury: “It is fair to say at this stage that some of the evidence will be difficult, sometimes harrowing, and we, for our part, will do our best to minimise the distress to all.”

She said that unfortunately it would not be possible to tell the full story for some of those who died because there was ‘precious little evidence’.

The court first heard evidence about 18-year-old father-of-one Carl Lewis.

Mr Lewis travelled to the match with his two brothers and friends and only got a seat on a coach to the ground because someone dropped out. Carl was among a group who went into central pen three after going through the Leppings Lane turnstiles shortly after 2.30pm.

In a statement, his friend, Ian Fearns, described ‘one horrendous surge’ in the crowd at about 2.55pm just before the players came on to the pitch.

The court was shown footage of him lying on a pile of other bodies at the front of the pen. Retired police sergeant Paul Gardener said he provided CPR to a young man fitting Carl’s description, with the help of an off-duty nurse.

Miss Lambert asked him: “Did there come a point when you stopped CPR?”

Mr Gardener said: “I believe we stopped when the nurse probably mentioned that there was no point in going on any further.”

The jury has heard that overcrowding outside the turnstiles led to the police match commander ordering the opening of an exit gate at 2.52pm which led to 2,000 fans entering, a significant number who headed for the central pens.