Liverpool Fan Tells Hillsborough Trial: I Was 29 And Screamed For My Mum

"I was being rammed against that barrier."
Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield arriving Preston Crown Court.
Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield arriving Preston Crown Court.
PA Wire/PA Images

A Liverpool fan who thought he was going to die in the crush at the Hillsborough tragedy “screamed out for my mum”, a jury has heard.

Christopher Parsonage told the trial of match commander David Duckenfield he felt guilty for being unable to help a fellow supporter who was also in distress at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

Parsonage, a teacher at the time, said the scene outside the turnstiles before kick-off was an “absolute scrum” and the busiest he had ever seen in the hundreds of matches he had attended, Preston Crown Court heard.

He recalled as he passed through the main tunnel leading to the central pens that somebody behind him said a gate had been opened.

He said: “Immediately that happened there was huge press of people.”

It continued as he entered the terrace, he said, as he had no control of where he wanted to go and was “carried down by the crowd” with his feet off the floor and hit a crush barrier.

He said: “I couldn’t do anything about it, it was incredible agony, I couldn’t move. My leg was absolutely trapped, I couldn’t twist my foot, I was being rammed against that barrier.

“I thought my leg was going to break and I was going to die. I screamed out for my mum. I was 29.”

Asked by prosecutor Richard Matthews QC what his breathing was like at the time, Parsonage replied: “I was consciously deciding to control my breathing and use my diaphragm.

“I knew I had to because I saw this guy to the side of me with a blue face. I have had to deal with my own personal guilt of not being able to hold him up.

“I was trying to grab hold of his collar, his eyes were bulging and his tongue was blue. I thought if he wasn’t dead he soon would be and and I felt if he went down he would have zero chance.”

Matthews told Parsonage: “You tried desperately to hold on to him but there was nothing you could do.”

The witness said: “Desperation is too slight a word ... I couldn’t do it.”

Earlier, retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Maurice Kay told the court it was “bedlam” in central pen 4 after he arrived shortly after kick-off.

The then senior barrister and Liverpool season ticket-holder said conditions were “terrible” and “very, very crowded”.

He spoke of how he found himself close to a barrier and he was “standing my ground trying to keep the crowd back”.

Sir Maurice said: “The crowd had obviously moved forward down to the front as a result of the pressure.

“After the players had gone off, when it was still bedlam, I can remember police officers on the pitch calling to the crowd to move backwards and people shouting back ‘We can’t, we can’t’.”

He had earlier queued outside the A to G turnstiles at Leppings Lane at about 2.30pm but felt “unsafe” and moved away before returning nearer to kick-off time.

Duckenfield, 74, of Bournemouth, Dorset, denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 men, women and children who died at the match on April 15 1989.

There can be no prosecution for the 96th person, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after the disaster and his death is “out of time” under the laws of the time.

Co-accused Graham Mackrell, 69, of Stocking Pelham, Hertfordshire, the then club secretary of match hosts Sheffield Wednesday FC, denies breaching a condition of the ground’s safety certificate and a health and safety offence.


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