Hillsborough visit by inquests jurors

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Hillsborough stadium 1989 3D recreation shown to inquests jurors - view from the terraces looking towards the police control box. Image sourced via Liverpool Echo

Hillsborough stadium 1989 3D recreation shown to inquests jurors – view from the terraces looking towards the police control box. Image sourced via Liverpool Echo

Members of the jury at the fresh inquests into the Hillsborough disaster were taken to the Sheffield Wednesday stadium on Friday to visit the site where 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives.

The 11 jurors departed the courtroom in Warrington, the base of the new hearings, by coach to the football ground and relevant places nearby for inspection of key locations.

Guided by the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, they were shown pens three and four – and the tunnel leading to the terraces – at the Leppings Lane end, the scene of the fatal crush on April 15, 1989.

The worst sporting tragedy in British history occurred as the Reds prepared to face Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final at the neutral venue a quarter-of-a-century ago.

It was explained to the jury that the area had ‘fundamentally changed’ during the past 25 years, with orange tape and other implements used to illustrate the height and position of the pens and fences on that fateful day.

Cones and tape had previously depicted the old layout of the entrance to the stadium in 1989, marking former exit gates and other features, as the jurors had walked towards Hillsborough upon arrival.

The coroner also showed those present the police control box – which was described as “much larger” and in a slightly different location to its equivalent on the day of the disaster.

Meanwhile, the jury were taken to the Sheffield Wednesday club shop, which resides on the site of a former gymnasium that was used as a medical aid centre and temporary mortuary as the tragedy unfolded.

Hillsborough stadium 1989 3D recreation shown to inquests jurors - view of the police control box overlooking the terraces. Image sourced via Liverpool Echo

Hillsborough stadium 1989 3D recreation shown to inquests jurors – view of the police control box overlooking the terraces. Image sourced via Liverpool Echo

As the convoy travelled to the ground, Goldring had pointed out the White Horse Inn, where he said “some Liverpool fans” visited before the match, as well as the former location of Wadsley Bridge train station.

On their return journey, jurors travelled along the same route that ambulances had taken in 1989, visiting Northern General Hospital and Royal Hallamshire Hospital, where casualties were taken on the day.

Earlier in the week, the inquests had heard a minute-by-minute timeline of the events of Hillsborough, using rarely seen footage captured by police, BBC cameras and CCTV at the stadium.

The hearing continues on Tuesday, May 27.