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Hillsborough trial: Father of two girls who died in disaster describes 'worst moment of his life'

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A father whose two daughters were killed in the Hillsborough disaster has told a court of the “worst moment” of his life as he travelled to hospital with one girl while her sister was on the pitch. 

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Trevor Hicks, whose daughters Sarah, 19, and Victoria, 15, died on April 15, 1989, gave evidence at the trial of match commander David Duckenfield at Preston Crown Court on Monday.

He said the two girls had been in the central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace while he had been in a pen to the side and his wife Jenni was in the North Stand.

He said as kick-off approached the pens seemed “very full” and it was clear there were problems.

Mr Hicks said he and another man, whose son was in one of the pens, shouted up to a police officer on the gantry next to the police control box.

Trevor Hicks described the worst moment of his life at the trial of David Duckenfield and Graham Mackrell at Preston Crown Court. (PA)

He said: “We were basically shouting ‘look, can’t you see things are going badly wrong’.”

Asked how the police officer responded, he said: “He told me to shut my ‘f****** prattle’.”

He said he later spoke to a second police officer who did not respond.

“We were helpless, we were just the crowd and were in the hands of the organisers and the policemen obviously,” he said.

He said he thought he saw Victoria being carried out of the terrace so he left the pen and then found both girls on the pitch.

He said: “They were almost side by side.”

Jenny Hicks arrives for the trial of David Duckenfield and Graham Mackrell. (PA)

He then went in an ambulance to hospital with Victoria while Sarah was still being treated on the pitch.

He told the court: “That was probably the worst moment of my life.

“I had two daughters, only one with me. Obviously they both needed attention, we thought they were both alive.

“We put Victoria in. I turned to get Sarah. There was a few seconds, half a minute, where I was hesitating whether I should go or stay.

“The best thing to do was go with Victoria expecting that the other ambulance would follow and Sarah would be along very quickly.”

Barry Devonside arrives at Preston Crown Court for the trial of David Duckenfield and Graham Mackrell. (PA)

Barry Devonside, whose 18-year-old Christopher died in the crush at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final, also gave evidence on Monday and described being “frozen in fear” as he saw the disaster unfold on the Leppings Lane terraces from his seat in the North Stand.

He told the court he spoke to a man sitting next to him who had a transistor radio.

He said: “I just said ‘what the bloody hell’s going on, what are they saying?’ and he said ‘there’s two dead’.

“I became literally, from head to foot, frozen in fear for Chris.

“I know that sounds selfish because I was thinking about him but I think any parent would have been in the same situation.”

He described seeing fans climbing over the gates of the pens and some police officers on the pitch track.

He said: “There were only a few police officers there and some of those police officers were endeavouring to help those who were in distress, those who were dying and those who were dead.

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield who is accused of the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 Liverpool supporters at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final, arriving Preston Crown Court. (PA)

“I also saw police officers pushing back into pen three those who were fighting for their life to get out of that pen.”

He described seeing a cavalcade of police officers come onto the pitch and form a line across the halfway line.

He said: “They did absolutely nothing, stood there doing absolutely nothing to help those who were injured, dying or helping with the removal of those who were killed.”

The court heard Mr Devonside later met one of his son’s friends who told him Christopher had died and been taken to the gymnasium.

But, a police officer told him his son was not in the gymnasium and Mr Devonside spent five hours looking for Christopher before he went back to the gymnasium and identified him.

Duckenfield, 74, denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans who died in the fatal crush on the Leppings Lane terrace.

Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after the disaster.

Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, 69, denies breaching a condition of the ground’s safety certificate and failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety Act.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

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