An ambulance worker who attended the Hillsborough disaster has called on the home secretary to give him full legal representation when he gives evidence.
Tony Edwards, who says he was one of the few ambulance workers allowed onto the pitch during the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium told the Sheffield Star he must fund his own legal costs at the new inquests into the deaths of the 96 Liverpool FC fans.
Now he has urged home secretary Teresa May to offer him full financial backing from the state when he takes to the witness stand.
Mr Edwards says that police, ambulance service and Sheffield City Council staff giving evidence will be represented by lawyers funded by the state – and he wants the same benefit.
“This year, more than 25 years after the event, I will be required to give evidence at the new inquest into the deaths of the 96,” said Tony.
“South Yorkshire Police, seven former senior officers from the force, the Police Federation, Football Association, Sheffield Wednesday FC, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Sheffield Council, West Midlands Police and I have all been awarded Interested Person status.
“This status, among other things, allows an opportunity to have legal representation at the inquest.
“While the police, ambulance service and council will have their legal teams paid for by the taxpayer, I currently have to find every penny of my legal costs.”
Mr Edwards, from Liverpool, said he was left in an ‘isolated and vulnerable position’ on the day of the FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in April 1989.
He added that he has never fully recovered from the experience.
Tony, who has been critical of ambulance service managers in the past, said: “I should not be silenced by not being able to afford advice and support.
“I need your help and I appeal to you to prevent me from being isolated again.”
His petition at www.gopetition.com received more than 7,000 signatures before it closed on 18th May.