Hillsborough fan presumed dead ‘but still had pulse’, inquest hears

Pictures of the Hillsborough football ground shown to the inquests.
Pictures of the Hillsborough football ground shown to the inquests.
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A Liverpool fan presumed dead at Hillsborough was said to have had a pulse when he was loaded into an ambulance, the jury at the inquests into the 1989 tragedy has heard.

A police officer told the court that he was “certain” that the comment was made about 18-year-old father-of-one Carl Lewis.

Numerous witnesses gave evidence that they saw no signs of life in the teenager from Liverpool in the aftermath of the crushing on the Leppings Lane terrace at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

But police officer Alan Wadsworth recalled a comment after he helped give CPR to Carl who was laid on the ground outside Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium next to other casualties.

Counsel to the inquest Christina Lambert QC asked him: “When you were assisting in loading Carl into the ambulance, do you remember anything being said that you thought related to Carl?”

He replied: “Yes, I was certain and still am that I heard a comment about him having a pulse.”

Miss Lambert said: “You heard the word ‘pulse’, is that right?”

The witness said: “Yes, in a positive manner. Along the lines of ‘there’s a pulse’ or ‘he’s got a pulse’.”

Mr Wadsworth said he could not remember who made the comment.

He added: “I remember hearing it for definite because it was sort of a little bit of good news, if you like.

“My impression was that it was sort of a more confident statement rather than a questioning but I would not rule out that I made a mistake quite obviously, that would be silly, but my recollection is that someone said he had a pulse or there’s a pulse.”

Dr Patrick McHugh, an off-duty anaesthetic registrar at Royal Hallamshire Hospital, arrived at the ground to assist and noted that Carl had no pulse, was clinically in cardiac arrest and in layman’s terms was dead.

He recalled there were no signs of life but said he felt that Carl was a fit young male and that it was “reasonable” to continue to try to get him to hospital for more advanced treatment.

Further attempts were made to resuscitate him at the Royal Hallamshire without success and he was pronounced dead at 5.40pm on April 15.

His body was later transported to the temporary mortuary in the gymnasium at Hillsborough.

Carl’s father, Michael, identified, his son at 4.30pm on the next day.

Carl’s mother, Margaret, his daughter, Chantelle, and two brothers, Michael and David, were present in court to hear the evidence.

Coroner Lord Justice Goldring thanked them all for attending.

The evidence of Carl’s movements on the day of the tragedy was the first of the 96 individual stories that the jury will hear in the coming months.

It will set out the narrative of the day for the victims from when they arrived at the FA Cup semi-final, how they got in, which terrace pen they went into, their experience in the pens and what happened following the crush that led to the fatalities.

The coroner at the Hillsborough inquests today apologised to the jury for a delay in loss of earnings payments from the Ministry of Justice.

The seven women and three men, sitting at Warrington, did not receive their reimbursement at the end of last week - understood to be as a result of “administrative change” at the Government department.

Lord Justice Goldring added it was “indefensible” that it happened without warning.

Before the start of today’s evidence, the coroner said: “I just wanted to apologise for what happened regarding your loss of earnings payment.

“As I understand it, it was due to a change at the Ministry of Justice.

“It was, furthermore, indefensible that this happened without warning.

“As you will know, we here had no idea until it happened.

“I want to emphasise this. It is no reflection upon our view on the importance, the fundamental importance, of your role.

“I know I speak for each of the interested parties when I say how much we appreciate what you are doing and the effect on your lives of sitting on the jury.

“I just want to say that and say it publicly.”

The jurors have since received the owed payment.

The jury was selected last April for the inquest into Britain’s worst sporting disaster and is scheduled to finish early next year.

The inquests continue tomorrow.