Police officer told ambulance service fans had ‘collapsed’ gate at Hillsborough

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rex Features (157284v)'Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster'Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster, Owlerton, Sheffield, Britain -  Apr 1989'Leppings Lane
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rex Features (157284v)'Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster'Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster, Owlerton, Sheffield, Britain - Apr 1989'Leppings Lane
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A police officer who was in the force operations room during the Hillsborough disaster called the ambulance control room and told an operator ’they’ve collapsed the gates’, a jury heard.

Transcripts of the call made by PC Kenneth Rook also revealed despite requesting a ‘fleet of ambulances’, he was told that an initial response would be sent first to ‘assess the situation’.

The jury at the new inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the 1989 FA cup semi final heard Mr Rook, who is now retired, was stationed at South Yorkshire Police headquarters on the day and was responsible for manning the phone.

He told Christina Lambert, counsel to the inquests, he remembered chief inspector Malcolm Edmundson coming out of the incident room and telling him to contact South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service to advise them that they might be required due to an incident at Hillsborough.

The transcript of his call at 3.08pm, showed Mr Rook warned ambulance operator superintendent Ray Clark that ambulances may be required.

He told Supt Clark that there had been an incident at the Leppings Lane end of the Hillsborough stadium and said: “There’s been pushing and shoving and there might have been quite a few injuries.”

Mr Rook told Ms Lambert he would have got the information from Chf Insp Edmundson.

But after saying he was simply calling to ‘pre-warn’ them, the mood of the call suddenly changed as someone in the background shouted out ‘fleet of ambulances, fleet of ambulances’.

Ms Lambert said it is likely that was Mr Edmundson.

The ambulance operator then asked if there were quite a few people injured and Mr Rook replied: “A lot of them. Apparently one of the gates, there’s been pushing... pushing and shoving I understand and one of the gates has...they’ve collapsed the gates.”

Supt Clark said they would send an initial response to assess the situation.

Ms Lambert asked Mr Rook where he got the information that the gate had been collapsed.

He said: “It was just general conversation with the operations room. Nobody has actually come up and stood at the side of me and said, ‘This has happened’. It was just a general conversation within the operations room.”

Ms Lambert said the radio transcripts appeared to show Supt Clark did not agree to immediately send a fleet of ambulances.

Mr Rook said: “I tried to impress on Supt Clark that we needed all the ambulances they required, but obviously I’m not aware of SYMAS’s procedure.

All I could do was advise him what I was told to advise them, that we needed a fleet of ambulances.”

The hearing continues.