Safety Evidence At Hillsborough

4 February 2019, 14:56 | Updated: 4 February 2019, 15:14

Preston Court

Structural engineer John Cutlack gave evidence at the trial of match commander David Duckenfield, who is charged with gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans, and former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, who is charged with health and safety offences.

Preston Crown Court heard there were seven turnstiles available for the 10,100 fans with tickets for the west terraces, where the fatal crush happened at the FA Cup semi-final on April 15, 1989.

Mr Cutlack said: "I don't believe there were sufficient turnstiles for the North Stand or for the West Terrace."

The jury was told the Green Guide, which set out recommendations for stadium design, stated a ground should have enough turnstiles to get all fans into the ground at a maximum rate of 750 people per turnstile, per hour.

Mr Cutlack said: "In my experience, that was interpreted, by designers particularly, to mean that it was expected that the turnstiles would need to be of sufficient numbers that everybody could get into the ground in an hour."

But, he said for all of the fans to get into the Leppings Lane terraces the turnstiles would have needed to admit 1,443 people per hour.

The court heard that many of the crush barriers in pens three and four of the terrace, including all of the barriers which collapsed or were deformed in the crush, were about 60 years old.

"We know they were about 60 years old because after the disaster somebody, I think from the Health and Safety Executive, found a rolled-up newspaper inside one of the top rails which dated back to 1931," Mr Cutlack said.

He told the court the layout of the ground meant there was a bottleneck outside the Leppings Lane end where a "large number of people would need to enter through quite a restricted space".

The court has heard on the day of the disaster an exit gate was opened to relieve crushing at the Leppings Lane turnstiles, allowing 2,600 fans to enter the stadium and make their way down the tunnel to the central pens.

Former South Yorkshire Police chief superintendent David Duckenfield,denies causing the deaths of 95 men, women and children at the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Graham Mackrell, who was the club's safety officer, denies breaching a condition of the ground's safety certificate and failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety Act.