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Thursday, 15 June, 2000, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Judge recalls Hillsborough horror
Crowds at Hillsborough
Crowds converge on Hillsborough for the FA Cup semi-final
A high court judge has been giving evidence as a witness at the trial of two police officers accused of manslaughter in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster.

Sir Maurice Kay told Leeds Crown Court he was at the back of one of the two pens at Sheffield Wednesday's ground where 96 Liverpool fans died during an FA Cup semi-final in April 1989.


One was aware then that something very serious had gone wrong

Sir Maurice Kay
Former chief superintendent David Duckenfield and his assistant, former superintendent Bernard Murray, deny manslaughter of two of the victims.

Mr Duckenfield, 55, of Bournemouth, Dorset, and Mr Murray, 58, of Pontefract, West Yorkshire, also deny wilfully neglecting to carry out a public duty.

Sir Maurice, a Liverpool season ticket holder who attended the match with his son, told the jury that the area in front of the turnstiles at the stadium was "very congested" by about 1430 - half an hour before kick-off.

"As time went by there seemed to be an emerging danger from the crowd, too many in too short a space."

'Floodgates'

He left the area and when he returned 20 minutes later conditions had improved and he was able to get through the turnstile.

Sir Maurice described how he went down the tunnel towards the terraces, which were "visibly packed".

"Within a couple of minutes one was caught up in movement of an involuntary kind and it took the form of being moved both forwards and sideways," he said.

"There were so many people in such a short space it was very uncomfortable.

"One was aware then that something very serious had gone wrong."

Police officers on horseback among the crowd at Hillsborough
96 fans died in the crush at Hillsborough
Frederick Maddox, a detective constable with the Lincolnshire force who had attended the match with friends, said the pens at the Leppings Lane had looked full by 1400.

But at about 1500 there was an "influx" into the pens.

"It was as though somebody had opened the floodgates," Mr Maddox said.

He went across to help and realised how serious the situation was when he saw "a pile of bodies".

Liverpool fan Doctor Colin Flenley, a Walsall GP, was in one of the adjoining pens when he realised there was a serious problem.

Dr Flenley said: "I remember a boy being taken on to the pitch by two police officers, and them trying to resuscitate him.

"Reporters were trying to get hold of officers in the police box, saying 'Can't you see what's going on?"'

The prosecution says the tragedy occurred after the defendants allowed exit Gate C at the stadium to be opened to relieve pressure on the turnstiles, without diverting fans away from the overcrowded terraces.

The case continues.

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