A former South Yorkshire police officer who lost consciousness at Hillsborough when a fan landed on his head told a jury he saw unresponsive supporters ‘pushed up against the fence’.
Eamonn Larkin, who retired from the force in 2007, was giving evidence at the new inquests into the deaths of the 96 Liverpool FC fans.
Mr Larkin, who was on duty at the FA cup semi-final in 1989, said: “I tried to reach through the fence towards people to see if they were breathing, if there was a pulse, to see what I could do to assess how badly injured the people who were in the pens were.”
He said some fans were ‘unresponsive’.
“All you could realise was that there was a pulse there, but the people appeared unconscious, but you couldn’t see into the pen to see how far back this crush was,” he said.
Mr Larkin said he tried slapping their faces to get responses and talked and shouted at the fans.
Mr Larkin said he tried to get fans at the back of the crush to move back to relieve pressure on those at the front, but they swore at him. While he was helping, one fan climbed over the fence and landed on Mr Larkin’s head.
He lost consciousness and woke up in the recovery position on the pitch.
Mr Larkin said afterwards he manned the door of the makeshift morgue at the gym for 20 minutes before being taken to hospital.
Asked about instructions from senior officers, he said: “I don’t think it was that good.
“There appeared to be little or no direction on the ground. Officers were simply told, ‘Help people. Get on with it’, and they took it upon their own initiative to do what they could to assist the casualties.”