This picture was taken at 3: But in the space of a few short minutes what should have been a great day of football had turned to carnage. April 15, , ended with 96 Liverpool fans crushed to death and hundreds of others left injured and traumatised, after a series of fatal errors by those in charge of ensuring the safety of those attending the match. The disaster began with as hundreds of Liverpool fans began streaming towards towards the stadium and the Leppings Lane stand allocated to them.
It became clear that not everyone would reach the stands in time and a watching police constable radioed the control room to request that the game be delayed to ensure the safe passage of supporters into the ground, as it had been two years before. The request was declined. With more fans arriving than could be safely filtered through the turnstiles a bottleneck developed and moments before the 3pm kick-off Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, the police commander in charge of the match, ordered exit gate C to be opened.
That decision forced even more fans into the already overcrowded central pens. As more people entered the pens they were forced up against those in front, who in turn were pushed up against the perimeter fencing, designed to prevent pitch invasions, by the weight of the crowd behind them. Mr Duckenfield would later claim that fans had forced open the exit gate to enter the ground, a lie he told the inquest into the deaths that he would regret "to his dying day".
Photographs taken minutes later showed fans, including a number of those who died, being crushed at the front of pen 3. The situation worsened when at 3. April 15, remembered, in pictures Realising that something was going very wrong South Yorkshire Police Superintendent Greenwood, the ground commander, ran onto the field to gain referee Ray Lewis's attention and get him to stop the match. Some managed to escape the horrendous mass of bodies by forcing open a small gate, while others struggled for air above them Other fans were pulled to safety by those in the West Stand above the Leppings Lane terrace.
The intensity of the crush broke more crush barriers on the terraces and amid desperate scenes holes were made in the perimeter fencing by fans trying to rescue others. The inquest later heard that those still trapped in the pens were packed so tightly that many died of compressive asphyxia while standing.
The scene at Hillsborough stadium's Leppings Lane end at 3: PA By now the scene on the pitch, where moments earlier football was being played, now resembled that of a chaotic first aid post during battle. Police officers, stewards and members of the St John Ambulance service appeared overwhelmed by the situation and many uninjured fans took it upon themselves to assisted the injured, with several attempting CPR on the dying, while others tore down advertising hoardings with their bare hands to use as stretchers for the injured.
Some fans trying to ferry the injured to waiting ambulances were prevented from doing so by the police cordon which had been placed across the pitch and while total of 44 ambulances arrived at the ground officers prevented all but one from entering the stadium. In the end only 14 of the 96 who were fatally injured arrived at hospital.
South Yorkshire police officers would later accuse Liverpool fans of having caused the deaths themselves, claiming they were drunk, late, violent and uncooperative. The inquest jury rejected the accusations and exonerated the fans, finding that there was no behaviour on their part which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles. And the sun shines now. What happened at the inquest?
In April last year, an inquest jury ruled the victims had been unlawfully killed in the tragedy. The deaths were ruled accidental at the end of the original inquest. What did the jury find? The jurors were told they could only reach the unlawful killing determination if they were sure of four "essential" matters concerning the deaths at the FA Cup semi-final. They had to be convinced match commander chief superintendent David Duckenfield owed a duty of care to those who died, and that he was in breach of that duty of care.
Thirdly, they would need to be satisfied that his breach of duty caused the deaths and, fourthly, that it amounted to "gross negligence". They concluded it was unlawful killing by a majority.
The jury also ruled that fan behaviour did not cause or contribute to the tragedy. Banners are held outside Liverpool's Saint George's Hall during an April vigil for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough tragedy Credit: On the question of the role of South Yorkshire Police in the emergency response, the jury said: However, at the time he told the Football Association that fans had forced the gates open themselves.