Inside The Pens
Inside the pens people were dead and dying. Faces were crushed up against the perimeter fencing, the vomit and blueness a clear sign of their condition. Fans were packed so tightly that many were dead standing up. Many still conscious were trying to break down the fencing with their hands. Those who had managed to climb over the fencing or escape when a perimeter gate was briefly opened also struggled to free their fellow fans. This was the sight that met the 'reinforcements' that had responded to Duckenfields' call to stem the 'pitch invasion'.
on the right, empty pens, centre packed pens 3 and 4
Clearly aware of the gravity of the situation many of these officers began to assist in trying to get people out. It has to be stated at this point that this is in stark contrast to many of the police officers positioned initially at the perimeter fencing who ignored the obvious signs of distress and the screams for help even though they were literally an arms length from those dying. It also contrasts with the actions of those other officers who pushed fans back inside the pens when from which they had momentarily escaped when the perimeter gate opened. These actions more than anything else illustrate graphically the prevailing attitude to football supporters by the police as an organisation. The only rational explanation for the actions of these officers was, that deep within their psyche, police training had conditioned them to view crowds in terms of crowd control rather than crowd safety. Their actions during the Miners Strike of 1984 and the Trafalgar Square Poll Tax demonstrations support this view. They had also been conditioned to inextricably link football supporters and hooliganism. As we now know this 'conditioning' had the disastrous consequence of leading to the biggest sporting disaster in British history.
The pitch soon resembled a battleground as bodies were laid out on the ground and the injured wandered around dazed and confused. Fans sought desperately to save lives. Apart from pleading with police to recognise the seriousness of the situation, they tore down advertising hoardings to act as stretchers and ferried fans to the far end of the pitch in the hope that they would receive treatment. Although ill - equipped to do so many fans attempted to resuscitate people themselves in the absence of professional medical assistance.