Officer thought boy had died in his arms at Hillsborough

Adam Spearitt, one of the victims at Hillsborough (pic courtesy of Liverpool Echo)
Adam Spearitt, one of the victims at Hillsborough (pic courtesy of Liverpool Echo)
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A policeman has said he felt one of the youngest victims of the Hillsborough disaster had died in his arms as he tried to get the 14-year-old medical help.

Matthew Fenwick, a police officer on duty on the day of the disaster, gave evidence to the new inquests about his attempts to help Adam Spearritt from Runcorn.

Mr Fenwick, who was a PC at the time and is now a Detective Superintendant in the force, climbed over the fence into one of the Leppings Lane pens as the tragedy unfolded at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final to try and help supporters in distress.

He said: “My recollection is that I landed on top of people who I then believed were deceased. My first response was to panic, but I gathered myself.”

Mr Fenwick said the first person he remembered helping was Adam, who he lifted over the fence with the help of other officers.

Asked about his assessment of Adam’s condition, Mr Fenwick said: “When I initially took hold of Adam, in my mind, I had him as alive, in my view.

“But as I held him to try and get him over the fence, and I, you know, I’ve since sort of thought about whether this is possible, but I felt he died as we were passing him over the fence.”

He said that as he held Adam initially he felt he was alive but the boy’s body became ‘floppy’ in his arms.

He agreed that it was possible Adam may have simply fallen unconscious.

Fiona Nicol, a policewoman who helped get Adam out of the pen, said he did not appear to have a pulse and she tried to resuscitate him for around 10 minutes.

David Pearson, a voluntary special constable, then tried to resuscitate Adam for about 15 minutes and said he could detect a faint pulse intermittently.

But he said: “I was of the opinion that while I was doing the resuscitation, that was making the pulse happen - that when I stopped for 10, 20 seconds or so, just to look at him and feel him, there was a slight pulse and then it just seemed to fade and go.”

He said a doctor then found a pulse but Mr Pearson couldn’t see any signs of life as he travelled with Adam in an ambulance to the Northern General Hospital.

Attempts were made to save him at hospital but he was unresponsive to treatment and died at around 4.50pm.

A statement from Adam’s father Edward, who has since died himself, was read to the court. Mr Spearritt said Adam was in front of him, getting crushed.

He said: “I knew that the situation was serious and so I began to bang on the fencing in front of us in an attempt to attract the attention of the policeman. There was a gate about an arm’s length away to my right. I screamed to the officer to open it but he just looked at me and seemed to take no notice.”

He said he tried to lift his son up but was unable to get a grip of him. He lost consciousness and woke up in the Northern General Hospital.