Hillsborough officer heard radio messages

Image shows crowded pens 3 and 4 at Hillsborough where the fatal crush developed.
Image shows crowded pens 3 and 4 at Hillsborough where the fatal crush developed.
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A former South Yorkshire Police officer told the Hillsborough inquests jury he clearly heard a radio message calling for gates which led to the central tunnel behind the Leppings Lane pens to be shut.

Sgt Derek Miller, who had significant experience policing football matches at Sheffield Wednesday, said the message came shortly after he heard an instruction to open gate C, allowing scores of fans to enter the ground.

Mr Millar told the Warrington inquests he arrived at the ground at about 2.45pm.

Asked what his impression of the crowd was, he said: “I was absolutely shocked when I pulled into Leppings Lane. It was horrendous, the number of fans that were still there trying to get into the ground at that time.”

He said he saw Superintendent Roger Marshall on a bridge parapet and heard him ask over the radio for one of the exit gates to be opened - adding if they weren’t ‘somebody would die’.

Mr Millar said he saw 3,000 to 4,000 fans all pushing towards the turnstiles and not long after the order was given the gate was opened and fans rushed in ‘en masse’.

Shortly afterwards he heard a radio message asking for somebody to close the central tunnel gates.

“It was a radio message, I don’t know whether it came from match control or whether it came from an officer pitch side or whether it came from an officer in the centre pen, I don’t know.

“It was to close the centre pen tunnel gates, to stop anybody else, I presume, going down the centre tunnel.”

He said the message came a minute or two after the instruction to open gate C, and said the messages were clear on the radio.

He was asked by Christina Lambert, counsel to the inquests, if he thought there were any alternatives to opening the exit gates.

He replied: “Yes, There’s always alternatives. Get some manpower into Leppings Lane to sort the crowd out, or, indeed, postpone the kickoff of the match.”