Steward helped dying fan

Hillsborough disaster
Hillsborough disaster
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A chief steward working at Hillsborough football stadium on the day of disaster said he knew immediately the unfolding tragedy was not a pitch invasion.

Jurors in the inquests into the deaths of 96 fans killed in the disaster heard from John Castley, who was in charge of Sheffield Wednesday’s Spion Kop stand and said he could see that ‘something was wrong...something was badly wrong’ in the opposite Leppings Lane end shortly after the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest kicked off.

It led him to dash across the pitch to give first aid while ‘hundreds’ of police officers formed a cordon as injured fans were left unattended, the court was told.

Mr Castley said he successfully gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to one young man who he said had stopped breathing.

He said shortly before 3pm he had heard information that fans had broken down a gate at Leppings Lane.

Minutes later he saw fans climbing over the fencing at the Leppings Lane end.

He said: “I thought that something was wrong...something was badly wrong. It didn’t look like a pitch invasion.”

The inquests have already heard that a police superintendent subsequently ran on to the pitch to stop the match and the players were taken off.

As injured fans began to be led away on makeshift stretchers, Mr Castley said he ran on the pitch to help fans who had been crushed.

He said: “There were lots of injured people there and there were a few people trying to help them but there were lots of people crying.”

He told jurors that he was unsuccessful in trying to revive another man,in his mid-20s as he gave heart compressions.

Stephen Simblet, representing some of the bereaved families, asked Mr Castley: “You expect as a steward for the police to be in a position to do something useful if a problem arises?”

The witness replied: “Yes, that’s correct.”

The jury heard that Mr Castley gave a statement to the 1989 Lord Justice Taylor Inquiry into the disaster and was asked if he had any views on the way the disaster was handled after the match was stopped.

Mr Castley told the inquiry: “More police officers should have rendered first aid.”