Officer recalls scene of ‘chaos’

Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster
Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster
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A former police officer has spoken of the ‘chaos’ and lack of control as the Hillsborough disaster unfolded.

Arthur Davies, who saw a dead fan and helped resuscitate another agreed that even as an ex-paratrooper before joining the police, what he saw on the day left him ‘shocked’.

Mr Davies, who was attached to the riot squad of South Yorkshire Police, was on a mobile patrol when he was called to the stadium shortly after the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest kicked off on 15 April, 1989.

Pete Weatherby, representing families of the 96 Liverpool fans crushed to death at the game asked what he saw when he got to the Leppings Lane end.

Mr Davies said: “Difficult to explain. All I saw was a crowd on the pitch. I just didn’t know what to think.”

Mr Weatherby said: “A scene of chaos?” to which Mr Davies replied: “Yes.”

The lawyer continued: “Any obvious control?”

Mr Davies replied: “Not that I could see”.

He said the first fan he helped was not breathing and he could do nothing, so he then moved on to another injured fan.

He found a weak pulse and began giving mouth-to-mouth, decided he needed help so ‘grabbed a youth’ who was in shock, and gave the youngster a quick demonstration of how to do chest compressions while he carried on giving the kiss of life.

Mr Weatherby said: “What was the outcome?” and Mr Davies replied: “He started breathing on his own.”

Stephen Simblet, another lawyer representing victims’ families, asked him: “You then felt, briefly, satisfied that you had been able to resuscitate somebody who had hitherto been left alone, unattended, potentially to die?”

Mr Davies replied: “Yes.”

The officer put the injured man in the recovery position, then found two other fans, who were injured but breathing and also put them in the recovery position, then went to the stadium gym where 20 bodies were laid out.

Mr Davies said the first time he was given any instructions about what to do was by an Inspector Calvert at the gym, and he was asked to search the bodies to identify the dead.

Mr Simblet continued: “By the time you went in the gym and there were 20 bodies there, in any of that period had you seen or been directed by any paramedic or ambulance people about the treatment or attention for the people in medical crisis on that pitch?”

Mr Davies replied: “No.”

The court heard he had served in the elite Parachute Regiment and completed six tours of Northern Ireland during which he’d seen some shocking things and had ‘very frightening experiences’.

Paul Greaney QC, representing the Police Federation, asked: “What confronted you on 15th April 1989, shocked even you?”

To which he replied: “That’s correct, yes.”