Stand looked near collapse

Thursday, June 15 – 2001
A doctor who was filled with dread as he watched fans trying to escape the Hillsborough disaster told a court yesterday he feared a stand was about to collapse. Colin Flenley, a GP, said so many supporters were being lifted from the crush on the terraces into the stand above that he feared the structure would give way.

He said: “I told someone next to me that I was afraid there was going to be another Heysel tragedy.”

Dr Flenley, from Walsall, West Midlands, told Leeds Crown Court that he had been advised by friends to avoid steel pens behind the goal at the Leppings Lane end of the Sheffield Wednesday ground because they were so overcrowded.

As fans were being trapped and suffocated, people all around him were shouting at officers in the nearby police control room to take some action.

Dr Flenley, who was in a side pen said they kept shouting “Can’t you see what’s going on?”

The doctor was giving evidence on the third day of the trial of former chief superintendent David Duckenfield, 55, and ex-superintendent Bernard Murray, 58.

They are accused, in a private prosecution, of causing Britain’s worst football tragedy which the lives of 96 Liverpool fans in 1989. The ex-officers deny unlawful killing and failing to ensure the safety of supporters.

Dr Flenley said that as fans flooded onto the pitch at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest he went down to the terracing to try to help some of the victims.

Those he treated included teenage sisters Sarah and Victoria Hicks whose father Trevor earlier gave evidence.

High Court judge Sir Maurice Kay, a Liverpool season-ticket holder, tld the court that he went to the match with his 13-year-old son. They had queued with hundreds of others trying to get into the Leppings Lane terraces.

A mass of people was conveying on the turnstiles but because of the congestion there was little movement, said Sir Maurice who was a barrister at the time.

Although a “small number” of fans had been drinking, or were carrying cans, the supporters showed little sign of impatience as they waited to be admitted to the stadium shortly before the kick-off.

“There was a danger from there being too many people in a small space,” Sir Maurice said.

The trial continues.
(Daily Express, 16-06-2001)

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