Hillsborough police did not talk about cause of disaster, former officer tells jury

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A former police officer who worked in the control box during the Hillsborough disaster told the inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool FC fans police did not discuss how the tragedy happened.

Michael Goddard was working on the day of the disaster in 1989 and told the court he and his colleagues did not talk about what had happened afterwards.

He was asked: “During the whole of your period in the control box, from after 3pm through until half past 10, do you remember any discussion at all with your colleagues and the other officers there, including the senior officers, about how this terrible disaster had come to unfold?”

“No,” Mr Goddard said, adding that he couldn’t ‘get his head round’ what happened.

He said he was aware of Assistant Chief Constable Walter Jackson being in the control box after the crush, adding: “I think he said something to Mr Duckenfield, but what, I don’t know. I don’t know, because they were behind me.”

After leaving the control room, Mr Goddard said he went to the gymnasium where he saw body bags and other officers.

He told the court he went to police sports and social club Niagara after leaving the ground, but he was not aware of other senior officers being there.

He said there was no discussion between the police there about what might have caused the disaster or about how officers should write their accounts.

Asking questions on behalf of some of the bereaved families, Brenda Campbell asked Mr Goddard about requests to open the ground’s gates.

She said: “Can we agree on these two points, Mr Goddard, it was the duty of the match commander to consider the consequences of opening those gates?”

Mr Goddard replied: “Yes.”

Ms Campbell said: “There was time for him to look out the windows of the police control box and inspect the terraces, to see how they were filling, yes?”

“Yes,” he replied.