The former Chief Superintendent, who testified for a second day as a witness in the investigation into the 96 deaths, denied having told Graham Kelly, the head of the Football Association, that the fans had “stormed the floor” when Mr Kelly came to the control desk at 3.15 p.m. on 15 April 1989 to find out what had happened to cause the bruising in the central pens on the terrace of Leppings Lane.
The Hillsborough game commander, David Duckenfield, apologized “unreservedly” to the families after admitting that he had lied to the FA chief about the fans’ intrusion into the ground.
The former Chief Superintendent said during research he regretted not telling FA bosses that he had approved the gate opening “until the day of his death.
“I honestly can’t say exactly what happened in that first encounter when he asked me what I said, except that I think it was something like ‘some fans got in through a goal’.
he said: “It was a very difficult moment, a very tense situation, people came and went, made different demands on me, and I think the frustration increased because we couldn’t get on with the work.
But he accepted to tell Mr. Kelly, who was with his colleague Glen Kirton and Sheffield Secretary Graham Mackrell on Wednesday, that the fans had gained access to the floor, and failed to tell him that he had authorized the opening of Exit Gate C at 2:52 p.m. – so that the crowds could get on the floor from outside.
Christina Lambert QC, who was asking questions on behalf of the coroner, said, “Now do you think it is a lie that you lied to them?
He said that he had pointed out to Mr. Kelly that fans had gained unauthorized access to the floor.
He said, “What I didn’t tell Mr. Kelly, I didn’t say ‘I authorized the opening of the gates’, I didn’t tell him.
He accepted that it was wrong and “completely open to misinterpretation”.
He said, “Yes, ma’am.”
“What I want to say to the families in Liverpool is this: I regret this omission and I will regret it to my death.
He said: “I was probably deeply ashamed, embarrassed, very desperate and probably did not want to admit to myself or to anyone else what the situation was like.
“I said something rather hastily, without thinking about the situation, without thinking about the consequences and the trauma, the heartache and the despair that the conclusion would have caused to people who were already in a deep state of shock.
The medical examiner Sir John Goldring asked Mr. Duckenfield whether he had lied because he believed that his order to open the gate at the Leppings Lane turnstiles had caused the catastrophe.
He said: “I apologize unreservedly to the families and hope that they will believe that this is a very, very sincere apology.
He added: “I am a very honest person. I do not tell lies. I do not lead astray.
“I set very, very high standards, not only for myself, but also for my colleagues in ministry and for my family.
He said: “I believe that in a crisis, and probably in this shock and stress, I said something that I deeply regret”…