Daniel Bennett

Daniel Bennet, sat overlooking the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough. From there, he had a bird's eye view of the disaster as it unfolded. In particular he could see the empty side pens and the total ineptness of the police response - for which they received 'stress compensation'.

"On 15 April 1989 1 attended the Liverpool v Notts Forest game at Hillsborough with my Brother and his friend Peter. We arrived in Sheffield at about 13:30, and got into the ground relatively early, I think approximately 14:20.

"We had seats in the main stand to the left of the Leppings Lane End. Our seats were about half way up the stand and about half way between the Leppings Lane end and the halfway line. Accordingly, we had a very clear view of events.


"I could clearly see that the middle section of the Leppings Lane End was overfull with people and the side sections were empty. It was clear at that stage that action was needed to move people to the side sections. I discussed this at the time with my Brother who was sat next to me and Pete. It was also a general topic of conversation all around us and it was very clear to everyone. I have been attending football matches regularly since I was six and am well aware of how a full standing section looks and it was clear that the middle section of the Leppings Lane End was overfull. Sat around us were many people who we recognised from regular attendance at Anfield's main stand. They would also have been well aware of how full the End should havelooked.


"It was already clear that people were injured. A boy of aged about 15 years was wondering alongside the touchline before the game started. His arm was broken at right angles both below and above his elbow forming a Z shape. He reached the halfway line before stewards led him away.

"Fans were trying to climb out of the middle section of the End over the front railings and over the sides and fans from the stand above were pulling people up from the back. This was occurring in large numbers, not just the occasional person.

"Policemen were standing by the railings trying to prevent people from climbing over. I could clearly see that they were pushing people back into the stand. Even from where I was sitting, you could see that many people were in a lot of difficulty.


"When the game was stopped by the referee, the Police had by then realised that many people were injured and stopped trying to push people back into the stands. However, they did not appear to be doing anything to help. Their main actions were aimed at shoving people off the pitch and preventing anyone from progressing down the pitch.

"As time passed, the numbers of fans on the pitch increased and the number of injured people increased. Before I left the ground, I witnessed the following actions by the police:

"Attempts to prevent fans from removing the goal structure. This was necessary because injured fans were falling on top of other injured fans as they escaped the Leppings Lane End. I could see that it was impossible to treat anyone because the space between the goal and the railings was very confined. Eventually, the sheer number of fans overwhelmed the few police present and the goal was removed and placed out of the way by the fans.

"When the gate at the front of the Leppings Lane end was eventually opened, the Police forced the gate closed in the faces of the fans after what seemed like only a few moments. Presumably because they considered too many people were on the pitch.

"The gate was later reopended and some policemen helped carrying fans out. However, the majority of the police had withdrawn to the halfway line, where they formed a security cordon. The vast majority of rescue and resuscitation attempts were made by fans who had escaped uninjured and fans who had left the main stands to assist. I saw very few police doing anything to assist.

fans running with adapted stretchers

"When an ambulance finally arrived at the ground (which I think was about 15:20), it entered at the Notts Forest end through a gate slightly wider than a single ambulance. As the ambulance approached the gate, a policeman stepped in front of it and stopped it from progressing onto the pitch. We commented to each other that we could not believe that the police were still more concerned over protecting the grass than rescuing people.

"Injured fans needed to be carried the length of the pitch to reach the ambulance and then squeezed down the gap between the sides of the ambulance and the gate. There appeared to be only 3 or 4 stretchers available. Fans started to dismantle an advertising hoarding to use as a stretcher. Several police ran across to stop them. Eventually, sheer weight of numbers of fans forced the police back. Many other fans then dismantled advertising hoardings and the ball boys also ran on to the pitch to do likewise.

"As injured fans on advertising hoardings were being carried to the ambulances by other fans, they had to cross the police cordon on the halfway line. To start with, the police would stop each group to check (I don't know what). We commented to each other that we could not believe that the police still appeared to think this was a crowd control exercise and that somehow the fans were faking taking someone to an ambulance so as to reach the Notts Forest end. I should add that by this time, I had counted at least 10 bodies covered in coats, with limp limbs hanging by their side. It was clear that these fans had died.

"Later, the police tended to allow most stretchers past without stopping them. However, they would occasionally stop a group of fans and check.

a fatality

"I did not see more than a couple of police at actually helping injured fans. The few that did so stopped shortly after and withdrew to the half-way line security cordon.


"Someone sat close to me had been counting the bodies that appeared to be dead. He was counting those bodies carried on stretchers or advertising hoardings where a coat or something similar had been draped over the body. By the time he had reached 42, we decided that we should leave. I noted that it was halftime as we left the ground."