Fire chief in the box at inquests

The crowded pens at Hillsborough before the match began.
The crowded pens at Hillsborough before the match began.
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The man supervising fire officers on the committee which oversaw Hillsborough stadium’s safety certificate has told the new inquests communication from Sheffield Council was poor.

Alan Seaman was assistant chief fire officer for South Yorkshire fire service for two periods during the 1970s and 1980s, including when the disaster occurred in April 1989.

Mr Seaman told the court in Warrington he was not involved with Hillsborough for four years after March 1981 but when he returned to work in July 1985, he was not told about the crushing incident which left fans injured at the 1981 FA Cup semi-final between Tottenham and Wolves, or about the creation of three terrace pens within the Leppings Lane end.

He said he would have expected the Officer Working Party - a group made up of staff from Sheffield Council and the emergency services to monitor stadium safety - to have been informed of the 1981 incident, but could find no record of it.

Mr Seaman told the jury he gave communication with Sheffield Council about three out of ten.

He was also asked about evidence he gave during the 1990 Taylor Inquiry into the disaster when he was asked if the fire service would have agreed to plans for pens if they had been told that the numbers going into them could not be controlled.

Mr Seaman told the Taylor Inquiry: “Not at all. There is no way we would have accepted it.”

The inquests continue.