Hillsbrough safety certificate was out of date, jury told

Aerial view of Leppings Lane terraces.
Aerial view of Leppings Lane terraces.
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Hillsborough stadium’s safety certificate was out of date at the time of the 1989 disaster which left 96 dead, a jury heard.

Retired senior fire officer Ronald Grimshaw, who worked for South Yorkshire County Fire Service in 1989 as a divisional officer, told the new inquests in Warrington he was on a committee involved in monitoring the ground’s safety certificate.

He said: “Everybody in the working party was concerned that the certificate was so far out of date.

“Saying that, all the conditions were there. The certificate was still in being.”

Mr Grimshaw was on the committee which oversaw the safety certificate of the Sheffield Wednesday ground between 1984 and 1988, when the layout of the Leppings Lane terraces changed.

He said: “We did keep asking for plans and for the certificate to be updated. 
“It was always promised that it would be, but every time I think they looked at it, something else happened.”

During 1984 and 1988 radial fences were installed at the ground which divided the standing terraces into pens. Mr Grimshaw agreed the alterations in the 1980s changed Leppings Lane from an open terrace to ‘cages’.

Asked about the introduction of the radial fences, Mr Grimshaw told the jury it was a ‘workable idea’ on the condition police officers were deployed to count the number of fans coming in and out, and police were able to open and close the gates.

He said he understood that it was police officers who were to physically man the gates.

But Fiona Barton, representing South Yorkshire Police, said the stadium’s safety certificate referred to club stewards manning the gates.

The court heard the stadium had ‘no significant defects’ when it was inspected 11 months before the disaster.

The hearing continues.