Hillsborough officers wept after failing to revive dad-of-two

Eric Hughes, one of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. Picture courtesy of the Liverpool Echo.
Eric Hughes, one of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. Picture courtesy of the Liverpool Echo.
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Two police officers wept after being unable to save the life of one of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, the new inquests have heard.

The inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters at the FA Cup semi-final heard evidence about 42-year-old Eric Hughes.

His friend Stanley Mullin said they had gone into Pen Three on the Leppings Lane terrace and were separated by a ‘massive’ crowd surge shortly before the 3pm kick-off.

Mr Mullin managed to get out of the pen after a gate was opened and moved to the less crowded Pen One.

He saw Eric being carried out on to the pitch and got to him after a policewoman opened a gate for him when he said Eric was his brother.

He said when he got to Eric two police officers were trying to revive him.

The court heard PC Neil Mutch, a police officer for just six months, was giving Mr Hughes chest compressions while his colleague WPC Barbara Hardwick gave the kiss of life but the stricken fan was unconscious and unresponsive.

Mr Mullin said after about 10 minutes, the officers, who were both crying, stopped and PC Mutch apologised and said there was nothing more that they could do.

Mr Mullin told the inquest: “The chap just looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, ‘I’m sorry I can’t do any more.’ They were so upset.”

Mr Mullin told the court he did not see any response from Eric.

He says: “I held Eric’s hand in the hope that maybe I could feel some response but there was nothing there.”

Mr Mutch agreed he had seen ‘horrific’ and ‘shocking’ scenes inside the pen as he and other officers tried to help fans. He said he could find no pulse or signs of life for Mr Hughes after attempting resuscitation.

A doctor at pitchside then told the officer Mr Hughes was dead.

He said he had been in a ‘very bad state’ and WPC Hardwick was also ‘very upset’.

His colleague, Barbara Woodward, nee Hardwick, was overcome by tears from the start of her evidence and told the inquest she could add no more than what was in her original statement after the disaster.

Mrs Woodward said she had simply ‘blocked a lot of it out’ from her memory of the day.

The inquest also heard about the death of apprentice electrician Paul Clark, 18, from Swanwick, Derbyshire who had gone to the match with his father Kenneth Clark and friend Andrew Booth, as part of the Liverpool FC Derby Supporters Branch.

Both friends were in Pen Three when they became separated as fans crammed the terraces. Mr Clark was crushed and also ferried on an advertising hoarding by fans away from the Leppings Lane end. At the club gym PC Kostanti Fojut stayed with him until a doctor declared him dead at 4.07pm.