On the night of 15th April 1989, the Hillsborough stadium would have no doubt been a sombre place to be. The public were by now all cleared from the disaster scene. Most of those would either be on their way home, in hospital either receiving treatment for injuries or visiting those that were, or maybe still frantically travelling between hospitals looking for missing relatives. Some of the unlucky ones would have been at the stadiums gymnasium, trying to identify the deceased by studying Polaroid snapshots of lifeless faces, pinned together on a board outside the gym.
The wails of those who found their relatives there would have no doubt been haunting in a virtually empty stadium, as night fell, and as police officers were filling bag after bag with discarded items of clothing from the now empty Leppings Lane terrace. Scarves, shoes, coats and tops … all crushed from their owners earlier that day.
That night, two CCTV tapes went missing from the locked police control box at Hillsborough stadium.
If you have an inquisitive mind like me, you will be asking yourself how, why & in whose interest would it have been for those tapes to disappear? We may never know the answers to those questions, and it beggars belief that more wasn’t made of this in the investigation. Vital evidence on the deaths of 96 people vanishes, and nobody in authority seems that bothered!
When trying to ascertain who could have stolen those tapes, I think about opportunity, motive and knowledge. Specifically, who had the opportunity to enter a locked police control box in order to take the tapes, who had a motive to make those tapes disappear and crucially, who had the knowledge to be able to recognise the ‘right’ tapes from all that were there simply from the casing?
Can you believe this scenario for instance? A group of Liverpool fans realised that they had done something wrong, then in a stadium full of police officers they stage an audacious robbery, breaking into the epicentre of police ‘control’ and out of several dozen tapes present, they pin-point the two that will have the offending images on and make away with them. I can’t believe this for a second, can you? Quite frankly, it’s ridiculous.
However, we do know that Chief Inspector David Duckenfield ordered the opening of exit gate C and then subsequently lied about it, saying that Liverpool fans had forced down that gate. This was an on the spot lie that he presumably told in order to shift the blame from his shoulders and onto the fans. That is a fact. He admitted that himself. He admitted that he lied, on record, and it was described in the Taylor Report as ‘a disgraceful lie’. That is a fact. We also know that Duckenfield was stationed in the police control box while the disaster unfolded before him. He certainly then had the opportunity, the motive and the knowledge of which tapes needed to disappear.
So that leads you to ask, is this not perverting the course of justice? No matter who took them, surely the police would be duty bound to investigate more fully than has been? It has been swept under the carpet, which also leads me to think that it is more likely, on the balance of evidence, that the police made those tapes go away.
I realise it is highly unlikely, but if anybody has any information relating to these missing tapes I would love to talk to you as a part of the documentary. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org