cover-up

cover-up

'You're covering up your cover-up'

5d ago
SOURCE  

Description

A South Yorkshire police officer who was allegedly involved in changing another officer’s statement and worked for an internal evidence-gathering unit after the Hillsborough disaster has denied being “a key figure in the cover-up” that allegedly followed. David Beal, a chief inspector in the force on 15 April 1989, when 96 people died at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, also told the new inquest into the disaster that he was offended by the accusation that his inability to recollect conversations with officers afterwards amounted to him “trying to cover up your cover-up”. Beal denied that South Yorkshire police had set out to “smear” Liverpool supporters and to blame them for causing the disaster, and that the force decided to collect evidence of alleged heavy drinking by fans to support this campaign. He also said that every official notebook completed by officers who were on duty at Hillsborough may have been destroyed by South Yorkshire police, due to a force policy of destroying notebooks after seven years, although Beal’s notebook starting three days later, 18 April 1989, survives. Beal told the inquest he cannot now recall any conversations he had with Ch Supt Brian Mole, the officer experienced in commanding football matches at Hillsborough, who was replaced by the inexperienced Ch Supt David Duckenfield, 19 days before the semi-final. Beal said that after the disaster, when he was working for Mole and contributing background “research” to a South Yorkshire police report – known as the “Wain report” after another of the senior officers involved with it – he did not recall Mole discussing what had caused the lethal crush on the Leppings Lane terrace. Patrick Roche, representing 75 families whose relatives died at Hillsborough, put to Beal: “Are you seriously trying to tell this jury that you and Mr Mole never discussed what had gone wrong?” Beal replied: “I am seriously telling the jury that 25 years later I do not have recollection of conversations with Mr Mole. ” “What I suggest to you,” Roche continued, “is you were one of the key figures in the cover-up. ” “I strongly object to the word ‘cover-up’,” Beal said. “I wasn’t a key figure in any cover-up. I’m sorry, but I’m offended by that, I really am. ” “You were a key figure in the cover-up,” Roche put to him, “and you are reverting to the pretence you can’t remember what happened because you are afraid to give any detail, any honest answers about what happened. ” “That’s totally, totally incorrect and out of order,” Beal replied. The court heard that in May 1989,Beal had personally ordered a constable, Michael Walpole, to the force’s headquarters. Walpole had been on duty in the control room at Hillsborough and was refusing to change his statement about what happened, which was to be forwarded to the official inquiry by Lord Justice Taylor. Walpole told the current, new investigation into the disaster that he feared being disciplined and bullied,