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The BBC's John Thorne
"Some relatives of the victims left the courtroom"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Court shown Hillsborough video
Scenes of Hillsborough captured on film
The court has watched video footage of the tragedy
Video footage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster has been shown to the jury at the trial of two senior police officers accused of manslaughter.

Members of the victims' families wept as the four-hour footage was played and several women left the courtroom.

Former chief superintendent David Duckenfield, 55, and ex-superintendent Bernard Murray, 59, deny the manslaughter of two of the victims.

They also deny wilfully neglecting to carry out their public duty, in a private prosecution brought by the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

Five police cameras and 19 more operated by Sheffield Wednesday Football Club were working at the time of the disaster during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, Alun Jones, QC, prosecuting, told the jury at Leeds Crown Court.

Alun Jones, QC
Alun Jones, QC: victims died in a "hideous crush"
The start of the video, played on the second day of the trial, showed the stadium entrances at the Leppings Lane end where the tragedy happened.

A commentary pointed out the blue-shuttered exit gate which, the jury has been told, was opened on Mr Duckenfield's orders to allow fans into the already crowded pens three and four, where the victims died in a "hideous crush".

It also showed the tunnel leading to the terraces, which the jury was told was not blocked off by police, allowing hundreds of fans to flood through.

The film showed Gate C being opened at 1452 that afternoon and thousands of fans pouring through towards the tunnel leading to pens three and four.

Mr Jones said a superintendent outside the ground had made about four requests over a seven-minute period for the gate to be opened to relieve the pressure at the turnstiles.

The pens where the events unfolded
96 fans were crushed to death in the stands
"It's our case that the risk to life at the turnstiles which had steadily developed from 2.15 was a grave crisis by 2.45."

He said two things were required at this stage - that the game was delayed and that supporters were diverted from the tunnel. But no such action was taken.

Footage taken inside the ground showed that pens three and four were packed by 1440, but other pens still had plenty of space.

Mr Jones said the critical point was that the police and stewards outside the ground were unable to see the condition of the pens, while those inside the stadium could not see the amount of people waiting to come in, or the policing arrangements.

But he said the defendants were in a "uniquely favourable position" to observe what was happening.

Mr Jones told the jury that neither defendant had done anything to stop the game until 1506 when another superintendent had run on to the pitch on his own initiative.

Police officers on horseback among the crowd at Hillsborough
Mounted police try to control the crowd
He said by then people in some distress had already been seen climbing out of the pens.

Mr Jones said that despite an admission by Duckenfield that he had made a mistake, neither defendant admitted any negligence nor any breach of duty.

He said the prosecution would be seeking from witnesses evidence that when the gate was opened there was no unexpected charge by fans, that with a few exceptions the fans had walked through briskly and normally and that the tunnel was the only obvious route when they got in.

Mr Jones said the overcrowding in the pens was visible "to anyone who cared to look".

Duckenfield's statement

The jury were also read extracts from statements the two officers had made to an earlier inquiry.

Duckenfield was said to have said then that he did not want to order the gate to be opened because it could have allowed drunken supporters or supporters without tickets in.

But he decided he had no option because of a message from officers outside the ground that there was likely to be serious injury or death if the gate was not opened.

The case continues.

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