Inquest jury visits Hillsborough stadium where Bromsgrove man died

INQUESTS: Andrew Brookes, who died at the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. SP

INQUESTS: Andrew Brookes, who died at the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. SP

First published in News
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THE jury at the Hillsborough inquests has been taken to the Sheffield stadium where 96 fans including Bromsgrove man Andrew Brookes died.

Andrew, aged 26 at the time, was one of 96 fans who died at the stadium that staged Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final match against Nottingham Forest in 1989, which is Britain's worst sporting disaster.

The original verdicts of accidental death were quashed in the High Court in 2012 following a campaign by the Hillsborough families, including Andrew's sister Louise who has been attending the Warrington inquests.

The fresh inquests, being heard by Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice Goldring, have now resumed following a three week adjournment to allow legal teams to examine pathology evidence.

On Friday, (May 23), the jury left the court room for a site visit of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club's ground.

Cones and orange tape were used to mark out the old features of the stadium, including former exit gates.

In the years after the disaster the ground has seen substantial changes, including the removal of terraces and metal fencing.

Jurors walked down the tunnel of the Leppings Lane stand, and saw the former location of pens three and four where the fatal crush took place.

The 11 jurors, who carried photographs of the stadium in 1989, visited other relevant places as set out by the coroner including the site of the former gymnasium used on the day of the disaster as a temporary mortuary, where Sheffield Wednesday's club shop stands today.

Throughout, the coroner wore a microphone to speak to jurors, at one point explaining events were being recorded because, effectively, they were in court.

Jurors visited the Northern General and Royal Hallamshire Hospitals, where casualties were taken to on the day.

They also saw two locations heading to the stadium; the White Horse Inn where some Liverpool fans went before the match, and Wadsley Bride railway station from which supporters accompanied by police, went to the ground.

Before the site visit the inquests heard a minute-by-minute countdown of how the disaster unfolded.

Jurors were told of key events and viewed rare footage of the day, filmed by BBC cameras, stadium CCTV and the police.

To help jurors visualise how the stadium would have looked, 3D computerised graphics were used.

Earlier in the hearing, the detective overseeing the criminal investigation into the events told the jury of the painstaking work investigators have carried out to identify victims.

Detective Superintendent Neil Malkin, senior investigation manager for Operation Resolve – the criminal investigation into the disaster and the planning and preparation beforehand - gave evidence.

The court heard how 191 officers searched through 2,000 videos and 7,000 photographs to identify victims.

DS Malkin also said his team has looked at 500,000 documents and that it had been extremely beneficial to speak to 1,500 people, including the families of those killed.

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