Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with me or my documentary.
Cath contacted me after finding my blog, and asked for help in finding people who might be able to help her.
Note from Cath:
Have you been affected by Norman Bettison? Have you had any dealings with him directly or indirectly?
I am researching his life and would welcome contact with the you if you have anything you would like to contribute.
If you feel you would like to help me by sharing your experience, in confidence, please do get in touch.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Please email Cath directly, or I am sure if you leave comments here she will pick them up.
On the 15th April 1989, the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield was full of heroes.
Some of those heroes were junior ranked South Yorkshire Police officers who seemed to say ‘balls to orders’ and to realise that despite the fact they were not permitted to open gates, that other human beings needed their help.
Most of the police force that day however seemed to be totally transfixed in a fog of misunderstanding; long after the dead and dying were being pulled from the Leppings Lane terraces. How could the police still think it was a case of crowd disorder when the vast majority of those that escaped the Leppings Lane terracing just collapsed on the turf? Look up pitch invasion on YouTube, and I guarantee you that no pitch invasion looks even close to the Hillsborough crowd fighting for their lives.
The majority of the South Yorkshire Police officers were still trying to react to a non-existent pitch invasion, when some of the junior officers had acted on instinct and started to help the injured and dying fans. That mind-set of control over safety led them to keep 43 ambulances full of potentially life-saving personnel to be held outside. There was a long cordon of officers along the half way line. This was presumably to stop Liverpool fans reaching the Nottingham Forrest end of the stadium. That was a massive problem though, because the Liverpool fans trying to reach the Nottingham Forrest end of the stadium were only doing so with make-shift stretchers holding critically ill men, women and children.
Today, I met with one of the latterly described heroes who had no idea that he could be described in such a way. I didn’t want to embarrass him, so I didn’t call him a hero at the time either. But he was, whether he likes it or not.
Tony O’Keefe is a fire-fighter. He’s a Scouser living in London, saving lives every other week – no doubt. On the day of the Hillsborough disaster he travelled to the match hoping to see a great game of football and a Liverpool win en-route to Wembley.
Instead, he saw chaos and death. With other Liverpool fans that day he picked up an advertising hoarding holding 15 year old Kevin Williams. Kevin was unconscious, and being carried to the end of the ground where the paramedics were being held.
Tony left Kevin with helpers after 3.30pm. However, in the subsequent inquiry the coroner stated that everybody who died at Hillsborough would have been dead, or would have suffered fatal injuries, before this time. If they were still alive, they would have been beyond saving by 3.15pm was the coroner’s verdict. The overwhelming evidence however is to the contrary of his convenient time.
Tony O’Keefe, a fire-fighter trained in first aid, was convinced that Kevin was alive. PC Bruder attended to Kevin after Tony left him at the Nottingham Forest end of the ground and he felt a pulse. Special WPC Debra Martin attended to Kevin after PC Bruder. She was adamant that she saw Kevin’s chest move, and he opened his eyes. At this point, SWPC Martin held Kevin in her arms and he murmured the word ‘Mum’ before dying; this was at approximately 4pm – 45 minutes after the coroner said no evidence would be heard. All of these real experiences were however bullied out of the officers who experienced them.
The 3.15pm cut-off means that no jury has heard about the appalling reaction to the disaster. It means that they haven’t heard about how the police, in their ridiculous fog of containment held 43 ambulances and many fire-fighters outside the stadium because they thought ‘they’re still fighting in there’.
I urge you to watch one minute of CCTV from that day, and then come back to me to explain how it is possible to see the desperate escaping of fans as a pitch invasion. If you are satisfied that it was an 80’s style pitch invasion, I’d be grateful if you could leave your serial number and rank.
Kevin Daniel Williams was a clever, bubbly, 15 year old boy. He was alive long after 3.15pm, and he wasn’t the only one.
Why won’t people hold up their hands and admit that they were wrong?
22 years later, we’re still fighting to hear the real truth said out loud.
On the night of 15th April 1989, the Hillsborough stadium would have no doubt been a sombre place to be. The public were by now all cleared from the disaster scene. Most of those would either be on their way home, in hospital either receiving treatment for injuries or visiting those that were, or maybe still frantically travelling between hospitals looking for missing relatives. Some of the unlucky ones would have been at the stadiums gymnasium, trying to identify the deceased by studying Polaroid snapshots of lifeless faces, pinned together on a board outside the gym.
The wails of those who found their relatives there would have no doubt been haunting in a virtually empty stadium, as night fell, and as police officers were filling bag after bag with discarded items of clothing from the now empty Leppings Lane terrace. Scarves, shoes, coats and tops … all crushed from their owners earlier that day.
That night, two CCTV tapes went missing from the locked police control box at Hillsborough stadium.
If you have an inquisitive mind like me, you will be asking yourself how, why & in whose interest would it have been for those tapes to disappear? We may never know the answers to those questions, and it beggars belief that more wasn’t made of this in the investigation. Vital evidence on the deaths of 96 people vanishes, and nobody in authority seems that bothered!
When trying to ascertain who could have stolen those tapes, I think about opportunity, motive and knowledge. Specifically, who had the opportunity to enter a locked police control box in order to take the tapes, who had a motive to make those tapes disappear and crucially, who had the knowledge to be able to recognise the ‘right’ tapes from all that were there simply from the casing?
Can you believe this scenario for instance? A group of Liverpool fans realised that they had done something wrong, then in a stadium full of police officers they stage an audacious robbery, breaking into the epicentre of police ‘control’ and out of several dozen tapes present, they pin-point the two that will have the offending images on and make away with them. I can’t believe this for a second, can you? Quite frankly, it’s ridiculous.
However, we do know that Chief Inspector David Duckenfield ordered the opening of exit gate C and then subsequently lied about it, saying that Liverpool fans had forced down that gate. This was an on the spot lie that he presumably told in order to shift the blame from his shoulders and onto the fans. That is a fact. He admitted that himself. He admitted that he lied, on record, and it was described in the Taylor Report as ‘a disgraceful lie’. That is a fact. We also know that Duckenfield was stationed in the police control box while the disaster unfolded before him. He certainly then had the opportunity, the motive and the knowledge of which tapes needed to disappear.
So that leads you to ask, is this not perverting the course of justice? No matter who took them, surely the police would be duty bound to investigate more fully than has been? It has been swept under the carpet, which also leads me to think that it is more likely, on the balance of evidence, that the police made those tapes go away.
I realise it is highly unlikely, but if anybody has any information relating to these missing tapes I would love to talk to you as a part of the documentary. I can be contacted at email@example.com