Questions asked about 'unexplained' 10-minute gap in Hillsborough tape

Matchday recording may have been 'adulterated', a pre-inquest hearing has announced

Police handheld film taken on the day of the Hillsborough disaster contains an “unexplained” 10-minute gap in one of the tapes, it has emerged at a pre-inquest hearing in London today, while some officers have admitted they believe they were pressurised into accepting changes to their statements.

Families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the tragedy demanded that experts be allowed to analyse the matchday recording, so that the inquest due to be held next year could cover the events “warts and all”.

It has also emerged that Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, a former officer with South Yorkshire Police, is to be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over his role in the disaster.

It follows a complaint by Paul Spearritt, who claims his late brother’s name was wrongly put onto a list of survivors read out by an officer, whom he believes may have been Sir Bernard.

Mr Spearritt also alleged that ensuing statements made by the Commissioner had been misleading. Both matters were referred to the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime before being passed back to the IPCC.

The pre-inquest hearing held at a central London hotel today also heard that 19 former or serving officers had either declined or were yet to respond to interview requests by investigators considering evidence that statements were altered following the crush in 1989.

Pressure is mounting for the names of those that have failed to co-operate with the inquiry to be disclosed, as lawyers for the families also sought details of all 240 officers whose evidence may have been altered to be made public.

The IPCC, which is investigating the handling of the original police inquiry by West Midlands Police, said it was prepared to disclose the names but only to the coroner Lord Justice Goldring.

Relatives of the dead groaned when they heard that a tape recorded by South Yorkshire Police at the match in Sheffield was incomplete.

Pete Weatherby QC, who is representing 22 families from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said there was an “an unexplained 10-minute gap" in one of the 20-minute tapes.

A second tape, which was expected to contain continuous footage, was found to be adulterated with film from the first tape.

Mr Weatherby urged the coroner to allow the tapes to be copied and analysed, telling the hearing: “There may be integrity issues here."

Campaigner Margaret Aspinall said: “Where is that 10 minutes? What went on in those 10 minutes? Give us the whole jigsaw, we need it warts and all.”

Rachel Cerfontyne, the deputy chair of the IPCC, said that a number of the 143 officers interviewed so far claimed they had come under pressure to accept changes to their statements, or did so after discussion from senior officers.

Others believed they were being made for legal reasons, or were unaware that changes had been made. A further 47 officers are still awaiting interview, but the remainder have either died, are unfit to be interviewed or have refused to co-operate.

Ms Cerfontyne said that issuing names of those officers publicly could pose a risk to the investigation.

“I understand many will find this disappointing, but I must stress we are not deliberately concealing information. I am determined not to do anything which may undermine the integrity of the investigation,” she added.

The inquest is due to begin in Warrington in March 2014.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor