Hillsborough disaster inquests told officers were ‘aggressive’ when a fan complained about lack of policing on the day of the tragedy

Hillsborough disaster
Hillsborough disaster
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A Liverpool FC fan told inquest jurors that police officers who questioned him about the Hillsborough disaster became ‘aggressive’ when he talked of a lack of policing and stewarding on the day.

Ian Lee claimed that he walked out of the police interview twice because of the attitude of officers from West Midlands Police - the force appointed to independently investigate the circumstances around the disaster for Lord Justice Taylor’s official inquiry in 1989.

He told jurors that the officers tried to steer the subject back to the behaviour of fans on the day of the disaster when he criticised the police.

Mr Lee said the moods of the two officers who questioned him changed from being ‘relaxed’ to ‘intimidating’ and ‘aggressive’ when he was critical of policing on the day.

In a statement he gave at the time, Mr Lee said he thought the incident was badly handled outside the ground before the game.

But Mr Lee told the inquests that the officers wrote out a statement from his interview that was ‘misleading and inaccurate’ as it diminished his criticisms of the police operation.

He said as the kick-off approached the queue outside the ground was ‘chaotic’ and the ‘swell of bodies was too great to control’.

He said he passed through Gate C without his ticket being checked and this contrasted with his experience when he attended Hillsborough in 1988.

Mr Lee also recalled how when the crowd surged he was carried over the fans in front of him, who had fallen to the floor.

He said people were screaming at police officers ‘to do something’ but they were ignored.

Mr Lee said he tried to help people onto the pitch when the pen gate was eventually opened, onto the pitch.

One of those he helped was a boy, aged 12 or 13-year-old boy, who was trapped under an adult.

Liverpool fan Debbie Routledge, who was crushed against the fence at the front of pen 3 during the disaster, told the inquests the response from police in front of the pens was ‘slow, confused and chaotic’.

She said a gate at the front was forced open but she then saw officers ‘push people back in then shut the gates’.