A steward told the Hillsborough inquests he and his colleagues asked police to open gate C at Leppings Lane because he feared it was going to ‘come down’ on top of them as fans tried to get into the ground.
Malcolm Bain, who was on duty inside Gate C between the turnstiles and the back of the West Stand, said fans were being pushed against the turnstiles, crying to be let in and climbing over the walls as kick-off for the 1989 FA Cup semi final approached.
He told Christina Lambert, counsel to the new inquests: “I couldn’t understand it myself. For grown men to act like they did. It was ridiculous.”
Mr Bain was working with stewards Ian Marsh and Richard Beadsley.
He said he had never seen anything like it before in the 12 years he had worked at Sheffield Wednesday and as fans came into the ground he could hear them saying the situation was ‘ridiculous’.
“But it wasn’t our fault. We were stood at the back of that gate, and that gate was getting pushed with people from outside,” he said, adding that the gate was moving.
In his statement Mr Bain said at about 2.50pm fans outside the turnstiles sounded as if they were ‘going berserk’.
He told Ms Lambert: “I was concerned because that gate, if that gate had come down, that would have been on us, because we were at the back of it. I’m not saying it would have come down, but it could have come down.
“We went and asked a policeman if we could have the gates opened because it was getting bad, and they were swaying and that, and I said ‘We’re stood at the back of that’ and then a policeman came and he got authorisation and we opened them.”
Ms Lambert said in his 1989 statement Mr Bain didn’t record asking a policeman to open the gate, and asked if he thinks his memory might be faulty.
Mr Bain told the jury his recollection was accurate.
In his statement Mr Bain said he heard someone say ‘Open the gates’ at about 2.50pm.
He told Ms Lambert two PCs inside the gate near the turnstiles, opened the gates.
Asked if his recollection was accurate, he said: “I think it’s accurate. I was stood at the side of them when it was opened.”
“As soon as the gates were opened, they all came running in and we had a little barrier at the side of us where the ticket seller was, and I got behind there.”
Asked why he said: “Because I didn’t want to get crushed with the people running in.”
He said one or two fans fell over because there was so much pushing.
Around 1,000 fans came in and the gate was open for five or ten minutes.