A former senior police officer on duty at Hillsborough on the day of the disaster has described the Liverpool fans trying to get into the ground as an ‘army which could not be stopped’.
Roger Marshall, a former South Yorkshire Police superintendent working on the day 96 Liverpool fans were crushed, said at the new inquests in Warrington into the deaths that the crowd was determined to get in and showed ‘no restraint whatsoever.’
Mr Marshall said many fans behaved ‘very, very well’ but added alcohol was a factor in the crowd’s deterioration.
He added: “The crowd as a whole was determined to get into the ground and showed no restraint whatsoever, even when it was obvious that people in front were in distress.
“I realised that it was not the sort of crowd advance that we see regularly when there is a pitch invasion or a confrontation between two rival groups but it was the advance of an army which could not be stopped.”
Earlier Mr Marshall claimed that he did not know about a police commander’s ‘wicked lie’ that Liverpool fans had forced entry into the ground.
He agreed that a false claim by chief superintendent David Duckenfield – the officer in charge of policing the match, who said supporters had forced open Gate C when he opened it himself – was a ‘wicked thing to say’.
Mr Marshall said the first he knew of Mr Duckenfield telling the lie about gate C being forced was at the public inquiry into the disaster led by Lord Justice Taylor, which published its last report in 1990.
Peter Wilcock QC suggested Mr Marshall was one of the few people in the ground who knew it was a lie, saying it was ‘simply incredible’ that Mr Marshall saw none of the publicity about Liverpool fans forcing the gate.
Yesterday Mr Marshall refused to criticise the actions of his colleagues in the control box.
Mr Wilcock suggested that because Mr Marshall refused to criticise his fellow officers, he had no option but to blame the fans for the disaster.
The inquests continue.