105331219 hillsborough clock pa - Hillsborough trial: Pitch was 'like a battleground'
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Hillsborough trial: Pitch was 'like a battleground'

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The mother of a schoolboy who died at Hillsborough has told a court the pitch “looked like a battleground”.

Dolores Steele’s son Philip was among the Liverpool fans who died during a crush at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

She told Preston Crown Court she heard fans shouting at police to open gates in the terrace fence but “nothing seemed to be getting done about it”.

Match commander David Duckenfield, 74, denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans.

Mrs Steele told the court she had travelled to the game with her husband Les, 15-year-old Philip and his brother Brian, 13.

The boys, who had tickets for the Leppings Lane terrace, went into the ground first and Mr and Mrs Steele followed later.

They took up seats in the West Stand, where they could look down on to the terrace.

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Match commander David Duckenfield denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 fans

Mrs Steele told the court she saw the coin toss at the start of the game but was then distracted by what was happening below.

She said the pens “suddenly looked very crowded” and a fan was carried on to the pitch before a jacket was placed over their face.

Supporters pleaded for the gates to be opened and told officers people were dying, she told the court.

“I seem to remember about four police officers standing looking in towards the pens but nothing seemed to be getting done about it,” Mrs Steele said.

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FAMILY HANDOUT

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Philip Steele had travelled to the game with his parents and brother

A gate to the pen was opened and people were carried out on to the playing surface, she said.

“Suddenly the football pitch looked like a battleground – there were so many people out there lying around,” she said.

She walked down from the stand with her husband and saw Brian standing on a wall on the concourse looking for his brother, the court heard.

They called an emergency number given to them by a police officer and were driven to Northern General Hospital by the son of a “very kind lady” who allowed the couple to use her phone.

The jury heard a doctor came in and “explained that there would be bad or sad news for 11 families”.

Mr and Mrs Steele recognised a description of Philip which was read out, before identifying items including a signet ring and watch which belonged to him.

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The people who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster

They were joined by Brian and taken to a boys’ club, where families had gathered, and then back to the gymnasium at Hillsborough stadium where Mr Steele identified Philip’s body.

Mr Duckenfield, of Ferndown, Dorset, is on trial alongside Sheffield Wednesday’s ex-club secretary Graham Mackrell, 69, who denies a charge related to the stadium safety certificate and a health and safety charge.

The trial continues.

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