A MOTHER who lost two daughters in the Hillsborough tragedy said that she “hugged” the bodies of her teenage daughters when she saw them lying dead side-by-side, an inquest has heard.
But Jennifer Hicks told the new inquest sitting in Warrington that she “regretted” that she didn’t insist someone helped after hugging her elder daughter Sarah who had appeared “as warm as toast”.
She told the inquest, “that didn’t seem right” and said that she told a police officer, “she’s still warm, are you sure she is dead?”
She said: “It is one of the things that now, well ever since then I’ve really regretted that I didn’t insist somebody came along. I can’t get over how warm Sarah was when I hugged her that night.”
I hugged Victoria and I remember that she was quite cold and then I hugged Sarah and Sarah was as warm as toast. That wasn’t right. I said ‘she’s still warm’.Jennifer Hicks
She said that when she was initially shown instant camera pictures of the dead in the temporary mortuary at the Hillsborough Stadium gymnasium around 9-15 pm she commented “she’s (Sarah) not there”.
“I said, ‘are all these people dead?’ I couldn’t believe how many and to look at these horrific photographs, I said, ‘she’s not there. I was really relieved that she wasn’t there because to me that meant she must be still alive.”
She had earlier learnt that her younger daughter Vicki had died.
“I know it’s naive knowing what we know now but I thought we were going to the temporary mortuary to identify Victoria. For whatever reason we didn’t realise that Sarah could possibly be there. We were still thinking she could still be alive and we were still looking for Sarah.”
But when police officers asked Jenni to “look again love” she saw the picture of her daughter Sarah.
“And when I looked again I saw her, her picture was there.”
She told the inquest that she was asked if she wanted to see her daughters together or separately and asked to see them together.
“I hugged Victoria and I remember that she was quite cold and then I hugged Sarah and Sarah was as warm as toast. That wasn’t right. I said ‘she’s still warm’.”
Jenni had been at the FA semi-final cup game with her two daughters and then husband Trevor.
But having been allocated a ticket in the north stand the family had arranged to rendezvous at a sweet shop on the corner of the Leppings Lane terrace, the same spot where they had met the previous year.
But at around 4pm and after an announcement was made to fans that they could exit the stadium she made her way to the meeting point.
But she said that when there were “no further fans emerging” she asked for help before being directed to a help desk in the north stand.
After explaining that she was looking for her daughters and husband who had been in the Leppings Lane terrace where the problems had been and that she had no money or car keys she was advised to go back to the family car.
“I was outside the temporary mortuary and my daughter was in there. I was told, ‘we have no girls in here’. When they told me to go back to my car I said to them, ‘but my family wouldn’t go back to the car without me’.
She added: “When I was approaching the car park I could see that our car was the only car left in the car park”.
A police car pulled over and took her to the police station where she was taken into a room where a father Ken Clark was looking for his 18-year-old son.
She added: “We were both sitting there absolutely terrified. I could see the fear on his face and I expect he could see the fear on mine.”
After being taken to the hospital by a social worker where she was told that Vicki had died but was not allowed to see her.
“I asked if I could see her and I was told ‘no’, no I wasn’t allowed to see her because she was the property of the coroner of South Yorkshire, she was nothing to do with me.”
The two sisters had become separated from their father in the Leppings Lane terrace and had been standing in the pen behind the goals when tragedy struck.