Off-duty officer did his ‘very best’ to save teenage girl crushed in Hillsborough disaster, inquests hears

Collect photo of Sarah Hicks who died in the Hillsborough tragedy
Collect photo of Sarah Hicks who died in the Hillsborough tragedy

An off-duty police officer told the parents of two teenagers who died in the Hillsborough tragedy that he ‘did his very best’, an inquest has heard.

James Greaves, a detective constable in Lincoln at the time of the incident on April 15, 1989, had attended the FA Cup semi-final match at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium as a spectator.

The trained first aider said he ran, with 19-year-oldarah Hicks on a wooden hoarding, to the stadium gymnasium where he believed there were ambulances waiting, after an ambulance ‘drove off’ with Sarah’s sister, Victoria, 15.

The sisters were among 96 Liverpool FC fans who died after being crushed on the terrace at the match.

Mr Greaves said: “I know just mere words cannot comfort Trevor and Jenni Hicks or remove their sense of loss and pain and utter devastation, but I would just like to take this opportunity to say to them that I did my very best for Sarah in the circumstances. I could not have done more.

“For the time I was with Sarah, she was with someone who cared and she was not alone.”

He said that, after taking Sarah to the gym, he found no ambulances and continued mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for ‘several minutes’.

He said that he had to be told by a medical team that Sarah was dead and ‘beyond help’.

After tending to Sarah, he said he tried to resuscitate ‘at least two or three males’ on the pitch to no avail.

Mrs Hicks earlier told the inquests that she ‘hugged’ the bodies of her teenage daughters when she saw them lying dead side-by-side.

But she said she ‘regretted’ that she did not insist someone helped after hugging her elder daughter Sarah, who had appeared ‘as warm as toast’.

She said ‘that didn’t seem right’ and said she told a police officer, ‘she’s still warm, are you sure she is dead?’

She said: “It is one of the things that now, well ever since then, I’ve really regretted, that I didn’t insist somebody came along.

“I can’t get over how warm Sarah was when I hugged her that night.”

She told the inquests she was asked if she wanted to see her daughters together or separately and asked to see them together.

Mrs Hicks said: “I hugged Victoria and I remember she was quite cold and then I hugged Sarah and Sarah was as warm as toast. That wasn’t right. I said ‘she’s still warm’.”

Jenni had been at the game with her two daughters and then husband Trevor.

But having been allocated a ticket in the north stand the family had arranged to rendezvous at a sweet shop on the corner of the Leppings Lane terrace, the same spot where they had met the previous year.

The inquests in Warrington, Cheshire, continue.