‘Lack of leaders’ during disaster

Former Sheffield Wednesday saftey officer John Nesbit
Former Sheffield Wednesday saftey officer John Nesbit
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A former police officer has admitted there was a lack of organisation during the Hillsborough disaster.

Former chief superintendent John Nesbit was on traffic duty with South Yorkshire Police on the day of the tragedy.

Ninety-six Liverpool FC fans died after being crushed on a terrace at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium during a match on April 15, 1989.

Mr Nesbit, who later became Wednesday’s safety officer, yesterday told the new inquests into the fans’ deaths that, after a check on traffic around the stadium, he had planned to watch the match.

However, he said he then came across an inspector who told him the game had been stopped and there were problems at one end.

Mr Nesbit said: “I saw people on the fencing and climbing over, but I also saw policemen on the fencing helping people over as well. I thought it was a pitch invasion to start with.”

He said he walked towards pen three and saw a number of casualties being attended to by St John Ambulance personnel and police officers.

Mr Nesbit said: “I looked and I could see people pressed up against the fencing, piles of bodies to the right and left of the gates, and that’s what I saw.

“Police officers were in the gate and I moved them out of the way and I told them to start to evacuate and try to get people out.

“I’m a fairly experienced officer and I could see people were already dead.”

Mr Nesbit was asked if it was fair to say that on his arrival there appeared to be a lack of direction and organisation.

He replied ‘yes’ and confirmed he stepped into the breach to organise and direct.

The inquests continue.