Nineteen potential witnesses to a key moment in the Hillsborough disaster are being sought by detectives leading a criminal investigation.
Operation Resolve has released footage and still images of 19 people they want to speak to who can be seen in the area of Gate C outside the Leppings Lane end when it was opened at 2.52pm on April 15, 1989 just before the match kicked off.
Officers believe they may have information that could assist with the inquiry into the events which led to the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semi-final.
Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Malkin, the senior investigating officer, said he hoped the people identified in the footage would be able to help.
Speaking outside Hillsborough, he said: “The appeal today is for 19 individuals seen outside Gate C at 2.52pm on the 15 April 1989. These people were in close proximity to the gate at the time that it opened and I would like to hear from these people because they might be able to provide me with information that could assist me in my inquiry.”
Mr Malkin said the 19 people were in the ‘right place at the right time’ and may be able to identify others.
He said: “They might know people they were with or may be able to shed some light on others that were present at the time.
“It’s important because we need to understand the full facts around the opening of Gate C at 2.52pm. It’s a significant piece of work that I am undertaking at the moment and these people would be helpful to add value to what I have already undertaken.”
The detective said anyone who contacts the investigating team will be treated with sensitivity.
He said: “We will try and understand their concerns. It’s very difficult after 27 years to understand the difficulties people face. Some may face not looking at images or may not want to recount their experience but nevertheless we’ve got people who can help to overcome that.”
In April, an inquest jury concluded the 96 victims were unlawfully killed and South Yorkshire Police ‘caused or contributed to’ the disaster.
Call 08000 283284 or visit www.operationresolve.co.uk with information.