Officer slams response

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An ambulance officer has told a jury he was the only emergency response personnel on the pitch at the Hillsborough disaster.

Tony Edwards was in the second South Yorkshire Ambulance Service vehicle to reach the pitch and got to Sheffield Wednesday FC’s Hillsborough Stadium at about 3.35pm on the day of the tragedy.

Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died after being crushed on the Leppings Lane end terraces at the stadium on April 15, 1989.

Mr Edwards told the new inquests into the tragedy he and driver Alan Vevers were told to go onto the pitch by deputy chief ambulance officer Alan Hopkins, but were stopped by a police officer.

He said: “A policeman came to the door and said we couldn’t go onto the pitch, because fans were fighting.

“Mr Hopkins said he didn’t care who said we couldn’t go onto the pitch.

“He wanted to get on there and didn’t want us to stop . Mr Hopkins leant in and put on the two-tone horn.”

He said as the ambulance drove to the Leppings Lane end, fans banged on the sides and shouted for it to stop.

Mr Edwards was asked about his view of the emergency response.

He said: “There wasn’t a response. It was just me.

“I was looking for somebody to liaise with, but there was nobody there.

“When someone came up to the side of the ambulance I made a decision to get out.

“From the moment I got out, there were people making demands of me, people who understood the situation were wanting oxygen, defibrillators, a doctor.

“It was clear there was something major happening and I’d seen ambulances arrive and senior ambulance officers at one end of the pitch, but where the incident was, there was nobody other than me.”

He said senior ambulance officers were at the ground, but were not in control.

He said after the Taylor Inquiry into the tragedy in 1990 he heard chief ambulance officer Albert Page say ‘we got away with that’, a claim Mr Page has denied.

The hearing continues.