Fans and police tore down Hillsborough fencing in bid to save lives

Hillsborough victim 'David Rimmer'. Picture courtesy of the Liverpool Echo
Hillsborough victim 'David Rimmer'. Picture courtesy of the Liverpool Echo
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Liverpool supporters and police officers tried to pull down fences with their bare hands to help injured supporters at Hillsborough, a court heard.

Details were revealed during evidence at the new inquests about the death of father-of-two David Rimmer, who was one of 96 Liverpool supporters killed in the 1989 disaster.

Mr Rimmer, a 38-year-old sales manager described as a ‘lovely family man’, had been in Pen Four on the Leppings Lane terrace with friend Geoffrey Bridson when the crushing started and they were separated.

Footage was shown from 3.11pm of people attempting to lift Mr Rimmer over the perimeter fence.

Two police officers jumped into Pen Four and tried to resuscitate him.

PC Andrew West pulled at the fence to create a hole for David to be pulled through and he was passed onto the perimeter track.

William McCall, who was a police sergeant at the time, said he initially went into Pen Five and noticed the body of a man lying on the floor at the front of the terrace in Pen Four.

Mr McCall said he saw police and fans trying to pull the perimeter fence down.

He said: “There were that many people crushed up to the front, it was impossible at that stage for me to actually jump in, there were so many people there.

“It was only when I saw David lying on the ground that I decided that I should get over there and try to assist him. But I couldn’t do it straight away.”

Under questioning, he said it was ‘fair enough’ to say that if there had been the necessary equipment present to tear the fence down, Mr Rimmer could have been removed from that pen much earlier.

Mr McCall added: “I think it was very, very well made, the front of the fencing, but in the situation that they were in, they did keep going until they managed to pull the fencing away to find a hole big enough to get people through.”

Sergeant Paul Cropley said: “The gate in the fence was open, some people were getting off the terrace via the gate, assisted by an officer, but the numbers appeared small.”

He added: “Officers were leaning over the top of the fence and trying to assist people getting over.

“Other officers were trying to break off the wire grill inside the angle iron framework.”

He said: “I recollect seeing a mass of people physically trapped next to the fence and wall.

“Slowly the impact of what my worst fears were crept over me. Many were hurt.”

Mr Rimmer was carried across the pitch and further attempts were made to revive him.

Mr Rimmer was pronounced dead between 3.35pm and 4.35pm along with 13 other casualties.

His body was identified by his brother-in-law George Gaskell at 11.55pm.

The inquests continue.