Sir Norman Bettison ‘involved in asking police officers to modify Hillsborough evidence’

Sir Norman Bettison
Sir Norman Bettison
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Sir Norman Bettison was involved in attempts to get four police officers to reconsider statements they had given about the events of the Hillsborough disaster, new inquests into the tragedy heard this morning.

Evidence given during testimony by retired inspector Stephen Sewell yesterday revealed he had been one of four officers who had new statements drafted for them by South Yorkshire Police solicitors Hammond Suddards in relation to what they had told the Taylor inquiry.

Mr Sewell’s original statement had said he believed police had responsibility for monitoring crowds going on to terraces at Hillsborough, where 96 Liverpool supporters died on April 15, 1989.

The draft format for the revised statements, put together in summer 1990, suggested that the group of officers could say the Taylor inquiry transcripts gave a ‘misleading impression’ and they did not expect colleagues to be assessing the numbers of supporters going into individual pens.

Mr Sewell’s statement was not altered, despite the suggestion.

At this morning’s hearings, letters from Hammond Suddards showed the task of interviewing the four officers, was allocated by Norman Bettison, then a superintendent with South Yorkshire Police, to a police inspector.

Mr Sewell said he did know Mr Bettison but could not remember talking to him about the matter or being interviewed by the inspector.

Sir Norman, who was Merseyside Police Chief Constable of between 1998 and 2004, resigned his post as Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police in October 2012 and is being investigated by the IPCC for his role in the aftermath of the disaster, over which he denies any wrongdoing.

The inquests continue.