But Jennifer Hicks told the new inquest sitting in Warrington that she “regretted” that she didn’t insist someone help, after hugging her elder daughter Sarah, 19, who had appeared “as warm as toast”.
She told the inquest, “that didn’t seem right” and she told a police officer: “She’s still warm, are you sure she is dead?”
She said: “It is one of the things that now, well ever since then, I’ve really regretted – that I didn’t insist somebody came along. I can’t get over how warm Sarah was when I hugged her that night.”
She said that when she was initially shown instant camera pictures of the dead in the temporary mortuary at the Hillsborough Stadium gymnasium around 9:15pm, she commented: “She’s (Sarah) not there”.
“I said, ‘Are all these people dead?’. I couldn’t believe how many and to look at these horrific photographs, I said, ‘She’s not there’. I was really relieved she wasn’t there because to me that meant she must be still alive.” She had earlier learnt that her younger daughter Vicki, 15, had died.
“I know it’s naive knowing what we know now but I thought we were going to the temporary mortuary to identify Victoria. For whatever reason we didn’t realise Sarah could possibly be there. We were still thinking she could still be alive and we were still looking for Sarah.”
But when police officers asked Mrs Hicks to “Look again, love”, she saw the picture of Sarah. “And when I looked again, I saw her, her picture was there.”
She told the inquest she was asked if she wanted to see her daughters together or separately and asked to see them together.
“I hugged Victoria and I remember she was quite cold and then I hugged Sarah and Sarah was as warm as toast. That wasn’t right. I said, ‘She’s still warm’.”
Mrs Hicks had been at the FA semi-final cup game with her two daughters and then-husband Trevor.
Having been allocated a ticket in the north stand, the family had arranged to rendezvous at a sweet shop on the corner of the Leppings Lane terrace.
At around 4pm and after an announcement was made to fans that they could exit the stadium, she made her way to the meeting point. She said that when there were “no further fans emerging”, she asked for help and was sent to a help desk.
After explaining that she was looking for her daughters and husband who had been in the Leppings Lane terrace where the problems had been and that she had no money or car keys, she was advised to go back to the family car.
“I was outside the temporary mortuary and my daughter was in there. I was told, ‘We have no girls in here’. When they told me to go back to my car I said to them, ‘But my family wouldn’t go back to the car without me’.”
She added: “When I was approaching the car park I could see that our car was the only car left in the car park”.
A police car pulled over and took her to a police station where she met a father, Ken Clark, who was looking for his 18-year-old son.
She added: “We were both sitting there absolutely terrified. I could see the fear on his face and I expect he could see the fear on mine.” The inquest continues.