PC ‘let down’ by senior Hillsborough officers - inquest

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A former South Yorkshire Police officer on duty on the day of the Hillsborough Disaster has told a court there was no real control inside the stadium and he felt let down by senior officers.

Alan Ramsden, a PC at the time, also told the new inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool FC fans that changes were made to his statement which he did not approve.

He was instructed to write an account of what happened when he returned to his base at Rotherham police station on the evening of the tragedy.

He submitted a handwritten statement to the station typist but said the second account was not an accurate transcription and paragraphs had been deleted.

One deleted line read: “My overall observations of the disaster will take many, many years to come to terms with.

“One thing that has gnawed at me was feeling so useless. People were crying for help and we could do nothing.”

In his statement, Mr Ramsden said he saw fans trapped in pens pleading for assistance but police were unable to help.

Stephen Simblet, representing 10 of the bereaved families, asked why Mr Ramsden described smelling alcohol from the pens.

He told the jury in Warrington: “With hindsight, which we all could be blessed with, I suppose it could have been the smell of death.”

Mark George, representing 22 of the families, asked Mr Ramsden: “Did you feel let down by the senior officers on that day?”

“Yes,” said Mr Ramsden.

Mr George asked: “You couldn’t understand, frankly, could you, how on earth this had happened under the eyes of the officers in charge?”

“That’s correct,” said Mr Ramsden.