15th April 1989
The day had started with both myself and my brother Joe nursing hangovers from the evening before, that’s just something we did, a usual Friday night, we were once again anticipating the day ahead, I probably had more confidence than he, when all was said we had beaten Nottingham Forest in the previous year’s semi-final at Hillsborough and we Liverpool had a fantastic side there were not many days that I did not have confidence about my Liverpool.
As I lived in Nottingham we were travelling from there to Sheffield by bus with other friends and a bus full of Forest fans and I would always add to the banter, the bus was leaving early around 10.30am so we would arrive in Sheffield around midday.
Our tickets were for the Kop so I would be in amongst the Forest supporters like last year, but I had an idea that we could go around to the Liverpool supporters and buy a ticket to get amongst them, I always hated being amongst the fans of Liverpool’s opponents something I had done on lots of occasions, in the 1980s it was very easy to get tickets for opponents but not so easy to get a position amongst the red army.
The Match programme
My brother was a huge Forest fan and all he wanted to do was get into the ground, he always liked to get a view behind the goal his favourite place, but he agreed to come around to see if I could get a ticket for the Liverpool section. Unfortunately it was almost impossible to get anywhere near the Liverpool section, and with this our minds were made up so we headed back to the Kop and the like last year I would be amongst the Forest supporters, luckily they had sectioned off a corner on the Kop for Liverpool supporters who were among the Forest section which at the point the game started had swelled to almost 500 people.
Amongst those supporters was a young Irish boy from Dublin who was called John this was his first game away with Liverpool he had travelled over from Ireland on the ferry and made his own way to the game, he was just 17 but I guess we did things like that in those days, the lack of fear, the lack of true understanding about what may happen to a young boy travelling on his own, the thing with football supporters we are prepared to do almost anything, it’s a tribal passion only fellow football fans understand.
My memory of Hillsborough will always be a great sadness and in a lot of ways I dismiss my memories, but I remember crying uncontrollably with a 17-year-old stranger called John from Dublin, I never really talk about that day with my Brother it was the last time we ever went to a game of Football together where Liverpool played Forest, that’s strange.
I won’t go into the detail of the rest of that day it has been covered and documented and far more eloquently than I could ever do it justice, only to say I was 21 years old in April 1989 and in the years that followed I have had a good life, enjoyed my family, endured and enjoyed my friends, continued my love affair with Liverpool football club.
Kevin Williams was 15 years old when he too set out on a similar journey on that day this was to be the 15 year olds first away game as he set off on the train on his own, a train that had police presence, the police would look after Anne Williams boy that day as they would many other Mothers sons, this is why we allowed our sons travel to football games, whether they be 15 years old from Liverpool, 17 years old from Dublin or 21 years old from Nottingham, after all it was a game of Football. All the parents of those children believed their child would be safe.
Kevin Williams was to become one of the 96 people who were to lose their lives at Hillsborough on The 15th of April 1989, Kevin would not be returning home to enjoy a full prosperous life over the next 20 years, his story does not end at Hillsborough in a way his story starts there, that is not to detract from the 15 years that he lived and the time he gave to Anne his family and friends which have equal value.
This was an era not of Facebook, Twitter or mobile phones and technology; contact with people on this day was very limited
When Anne Williams & Steve arrived in Sheffield it would be late, they waited amongst other families awaiting the turn to go in and identify their loved ones, and the silence would be broken with the screams and cries of families finding that their loved ones had perished. Soon Anne and Steve would identify Kevin from a Polaroid picture. A board with pictures of all the dead was the tool they used for identifying people; it does not bear thinking about.
A verdict of accidental death was returned on the victims of 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster.
Anne Williams has fought in vain for over 20 years for a new inquest the case has now been accepted by the European Court of Human Rights.
This is the coroner Dr David Slater’s statement to the court.
On the basis of factual evidence, the views of the pathologists involved, and expert neurological opinion, the coroner decided that all those who received fatal injuries were dead (no heartbeat or no cortical activity) by 3 15pm.(BMJ 1997; 314:901 (22 March)
But others who also helped that day have a different view, Dr Ed Walker stated.
It is also a matter of public record that some victims who died in hospital did not die until well after 3 15pm…I personally, along with many other members of medical staff, was attempting resuscitation on those who subsequently died, but were very much alive, well after 3 15pm. This is quite simply a matter of fact.(BMJ 1997; 314:1283 (26 April)
The official view, however, is that all victims were brain-dead by 3.15 from traumatic asphyxia which left their bodies blue and bloated, but Anne has found evidence that these marking were not on Kevin.
She was also to discover from credible witnesses that Kevin was not removed from the pen at Leppings Lane until 3.28pm and laid on the pitch, alive but weak.
Debra Martin was a special constable and present at Hillsborough she was responsible with taking bodies of both dead and injured to the gym at Hillsborough, she was to give the following statement to Anne
“I stayed with Kevin, I felt for a pulse at the base of his neck and there was a slight blip, I picked him up in my arms and he opened his eyes. I will never forget the look in that little boys eyes. And he just said “Mum” and carried on looking for a few more seconds”
Her pathologists argue that broken bones in Kevin’s neck caused his airways to swell; a simple rubber tube down his throat would have saved him. The life and mischief could have been revived.
You have to take in to consideration that the Police had a fleet of ambulances outside the ground that could have assisted in saving some who were to become victims, the question has been asked as to why and who held these back.
Because the coroner’s cut-off point for victims was 3.15pm then they have never discussed or been answerable as to what occurred from 3.15pm-4.00pm on that day.
All Anne, like all families of victims of The Hillsborough Stadium disaster want is justice and the truth about what really took place that day, they want somebody to take responsibility if not for the tragedy
Lord Justice Taylor, in his official inquiry report, established that the authorities were at fault for a catalogue of failings that caused 3,000 fans to be herded into pens behind the goal at the ground in Sheffield which should only have held 1,600. He exonerated the supporters, describing their efforts to help the stricken as ‘magnificent’.
Anne wants an inquest under section 13 of the coroners act
This section is as follows.
Section 13 applications
Section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988 provides a further mechanism of challenge to the Administrative Division of the High Court. An application can be made by or on the authority of the Attorney General to the High Court on grounds that the Coroner refuses or neglects to hold an inquest which ought to be held or, where an inquest has been held, that whether by reason of fraud, rejection of evidence, irregularity of proceedings, insufficiency of inquiry, the discovery of new facts or evidence or otherwise, it is necessary in the interests of justice that another inquest be held. An application must first be made to the Attorney General for his or her permission to make an application. If permission is granted, the application proceeds to a full hearing by the Administrative Court.