‘Mass panic’ as fans tried to escape Hillsborough crush

Paul Brady, one of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster'Pic courtesy of Liverpool Echo
Paul Brady, one of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster'Pic courtesy of Liverpool Echo
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A police officer who helped dying and injured fans off the terraces at Hillsborough has described the ‘mass panic’ as supporters tried to escape the worst of the crushing.

PC Eric Flatman went through a open gate into the crowd to try and direct people out.

In evidence read to the new inquests, he said: “At the time police were not present in great numbers and supporters were clawing their way out of the gate.

“These people were in a state of panic and making little headway.”

He said he went into the pen to regulate the flow of people.

He said dead and seriously injured fans were being passed out and the uninjured had to be restrained to allow more serious casualties to be rescued.

Mr Flatman said people were trying to scramble through the gate in a state of ‘mass panic’.

He said: “We yanked a couple of people out from the gate as there was a bottleneck, I then pushed some back with my feet and I jumped into the pen and the other officer jumped in with me, and that enabled us to be able to get people out.”

Mr Flatman said seriously injured and deceased people were passed over from Pen Three into Pen Two, with other officers taking the injured from him as he passed through the gate.

One of the people he is believed to have passed through to other officers was Paul Brady, a 21-year-old refrigeration engineer who had gone to the match with friends.

Evidence given to the inquests said Mr Brady was smiling and had a ‘twinkle in his eye’ when he spotted someone else he knew in the crowd just moments before the crushing started.

Footage was shown to the jury from 3.21pm on the day of the disaster of Mr Brady being carried out of the pen by a police officer and two supporters.

Philip Foster, a police officer who tried to resuscitate Mr Brady on the pitch, said he thought he felt a pulse and asked two Liverpool fans to help him carry Mr Brady on some hoardings.

They took Mr Brady to an ambulance.

Asked why he interrupted CPR to move Mr Brady, Mr Foster said: “It’s really difficult. I wanted to get him help, and I knew we couldn’t give him any more.

“We needed airways, we needed lots of things, we needed oxygen.

“I couldn’t do that on a football pitch.”

He was initially planning to take Mr Brady towards the stadium gym, where he had presumed there would be help after its location was mentioned in pre-match briefings. But he said the ambulance seemed a better option when he saw it.

Mr Brady was taken to the Northern General Hospital, where further efforts were made to resuscitate him. But there was no response and he was declared dead at 4.05pm.