Swanwick man was one of 96 '˜unlawfully killed'

A jury has ruled The 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed - among them a young Derbyshire electrician.

Tuesday, 26th April 2016, 8:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2016, 10:08 pm
Paul Clark, 18, of Swanwick, was killed in the Hillsborough disaster

On Tuesday the jury of six woman and three men in Warrington answered ‘yes’ by a majority verdict to the question that they were sure the 96 Liverpool supporters who died at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final had been unlawfully killed.

And they found there was ‘no behaviour’ on the part of supporters that ‘caused the dangerous situation’ at Leppings Lane turnstiles.

The verdicts means they were sure that match commander David Duckenfield’s breach of duty of care to the fans had caused the deaths and amounted to ‘gross negligence’.

Police planning errors ‘caused or contributed’ to the dangerous situation that developed on the day.

Jurors agreed the tragedy happened ‘as a result of crushing in the central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace, following the admission of a large number of supporters to the stadium through the exit gates’.

The jury also said there were ‘major omissions’ in police planning and found error in policing of situation and turnstiles

They also found there were features in the design and layout of Hillsborough which contributed to the disaster.

The two-year inquest has been the longest in UK history.

In September the court heard how a Derbyshire teenager who died in the Hillsborough disaster ‘drifted away’ from his friend in the crush.

Apprentice electrician Paul Clark, 18, of Swanwick, travelled to the semi-final on April 15, 1989, from Chesterfield with his father Kenneth Clark and friend Andrew Booth.

The court, in Birchwood Park, Warrington, heard that Kenneth had tickets for the north stand, while Paul and Andrew had standing tickets, so they separated upon arrival.

Andrew Booth had told the court he and Paul reached the ground around 2.20pm, and took position on the terraces ten minutes later.

The jury was shown footage of the friends standing together in pen three at 2.50pm, ten minutes before the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest kicked-off.

Mr Booth said they were stood at the back of the pen to begin with, but were pushed forward as the crowd pressure intensified.

Mr Booth said he lost sight of Paul a few minutes before kick-off.

In a 1989 statement, Mr Booth said: “He kind of drifted towards the front.”

The jury heard there was no evidence regarding Paul’s retrieval from the pen, but were shown footage of him being carried across the pitch on a hoarding at around 3.35pm.

Kostanti Fojut, a police constable, said he had carried Paul into the gymnasium and stayed with him there.

Kenneth Clark made his way to a pre-arranged meeting point after the crush, but said his son did not arrive as planned.

The jury heard Mr Clark went to Hammerton Road police station and then the Hillsborough Boys’ Club to look for his son.

He contacted his wife, Susan, who then made her way to Sheffield, and they then went to the gymnasium where Mr Clark identified his son to PC Fojut.

The criminal investigations into the Hillsborough disaster and its aftermath could finish by the end of the year.

Detectives and investigators from a police watchdog will now focus on inquiries into what happened around the disaster itself, and claims of corruption. A police probe is looking at the lead-up to the tragedy and the day of the match and a separate inquiry is investigating the alleged cover-up afterwards.