Former Hillsborough police officer accused of lying in inquest evidence

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A former police officer has been accused of lying in his evidence to the Hillsborough inquest into the death of 96 Liverpool fans.

PC Trevor Bichard was operating the CCTV cameras on the day of the disaster in April 1989.

He told the inquest he can’t explain why a request to close the gates to the Leppings Lane tunnel was wiped from the history of Hillsborough.

In interviews with the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation into the disaster, Mr Bichard said closing the tunnel to the central pens on Leppings Lane was never discussed in the control box.

But the inquest was shown a log Mr Bichard made the day after the disaster, in which an entry from 2.55pm said: “From officers rear of Leppings Lane - shut the gates at the rear of the tunnel.”

Mr Bichard said he could not explain how the log ‘mysteriously vanished’ from the next document prepared about the disaster.

Brenda Campbell, on behalf of 12 of the families, asked Mr Bichard to tell the jury about that message.

He said: “I have no answer to it, because there’s nothing I’ve ever said in all this time that suggested that that tunnel has ever been closed when I have worked there, or been there as a supporter.”

Mr Bichard said up until now he has believed there was no discussion about the tunnel.

Ms Campbell then asked: “Under whose orders did you lie to Lord Justice Taylor eight weeks later?”

But Mr Bichard said he never lied.

“You accept, don’t you, that a request four minutes before anybody climbs onto the pitch, 11 minutes before the match is stopped, to shut the gates at Leppings Lane terrace - and a request that is audible in that control box - is of critical importance?” she added.

Mr Bichard said: “I’ve got no answer to that at all. I have got no answer and I sit here feeling rather foolish.”

Ms Campbell said: “How do you explain then the lie to Lord Justice Taylor, the lie to the inquest just two years later? How do you explain that?”

“I can’t explain it at all,” said Mr Bichard.