Page 5: The trials: the University’s ‘evidence’


Before the hearings, each of the ten received a bulky envelope containing statements by porters and security staff which dealt a crushing blow to the movement, showing as they did that a lot of students identifiable as nasty lefties were in Senate House when there was an occupation.

Here are some interesting extracts from this evidence.  A lot of it is too factually incorrect to be true.  In its usual devious way the university withdrew this particular body of evidence on the first morning of the trials.

From Patrick Meagher’s statement:

‘I am the head porter of the University of Liverpool. …

At about 2:15 pm on Monday 9 March 1970, I was on duty in the main foyer of Senate House.  A large number of students entered the building headed by two students whom I know and can identify as Andrew Black and Peter Cresswell.

I said to them, ‘Just a moment, lads, you are to be confined to the hall’.

Cresswell said, ‘Sorry, Mr Meagher, we are coming through’, and with these words about 200 students pushed their way past my colleagues and I.

Amongst the students present in the building and whom I can identify are: Richard Davies, Jon Snow, John Sinclair, Ian Williams, Richard Morris, Susan Rossinger, Pamela Rose, John Aspinall, Harvey Gibbs, Andrew Black, David Robertson, Peter Gusak, Gavin Graham (he never stayed for long), Peter Cresswell, Maureen O’Sullivan, Oliver Swingler.’

* a fairly accurate account of Gavin Graham’s politics from Mr Meagher.

From JT Jones’ statement:

‘During the period of the students’ occupation of Senate House I have been on duty from 7am to at least 12 midnight daily.  My wife has had to stay during the night at various addresses as she is in fear and trepidation brought about by the students’ conduct.

On the morning of Wednesday 11 March my wife attempted to enter the Senate building after sleeping the night at a friend’s. She was refused admittance at first and became extremely hysterical and agitated.  She was eventually admitted after some ten minutes.

On the same morning I secured the door of the Senate kitchen at 6:30 am after having spent the night there.  I again checked it at 8:15 am when it was still secure, but at 10 am the students were found to be in occupation.  The bottom of the door had been lifted off the hinge and the top hinge unscrewed.  Andrew Black said to me, ‘We are in here now and we are staying here’, and he also intimated to me that he was responsible for ‘liberating’ the kitchen.

* What Mr Jones really meant to say, of course, was that in his anxiety to reach the front door where his wife was demanding admittance, he inadvertently left the kitchen door open.  The door was lifted off its hinges from the inside.

From GW Wicking’s statement:

I am a dog handler on the staff of the Security Superintendent.  At 02:55 hours on Friday 13 March I was keeping observations on the public telephone box situated in the main foyer of the Senate building… At 04:05 hours a telephone call was made by a man, 19-20 years, 5 ft 4ins, dark curly hair and beard.  His remarks on the phone were, ‘Mother, don’t be so revolting.  Dear Mother, don’t be so revolting’, and similar remarks.

All these calls were made at the instigation of David Roberts or Robertson, whom I know and can identify.

From AC Harris’ statement:

Mr Harris is a patrolman.  This is his description of the Senate foyer during the occupation:

The tables from the committee rooms on the ground floor had all been brought into the main foyer, covered with newspapers and were being used for the preparation of posters.  There were cans of black paint on the tables and paint which fell on the floor was wiped off with white spirit – the spirit also wiped the polish off the floor!  Draped from the first floor balcony was a blue and red coloured flag with a yellow star in the centre.  On the opposite side of the balcony was a banner which readf, ‘AGGRO IS FUN’ with a ‘boot’ superimposed.  There were numerous other banners draped around the foyer, all following the theme of ‘ANARCHY’ or ‘COMMUNISM’.

From F Pugh’s statement:

At 12:30 pm Monday 9 March I attended the mass meeting in the Students Union when the Vice-Chancellor addressed the students.  At approximately 2 pm the chairman declared the meeting closed.  Mr Aspinall – a student – who had been on the platform during the meeting invited the Vice-Chancellor to remain in the hall.  The Vice-Chancellor declined the invitation.  The meeting was then addressed by Mr Jon Snow – student – who mounted the stage and shouted in a very loud voice, ‘HE HASN’T ANSWERED OUR QUESTIONS!  LET’S OCCUPY SENATE NOW!! […]

At 8pm Tuesday 10 March I received a telephone call from the control room.  The police have received a message that someone has climbed into Senate House and left a bomb!  The police would not act until they received instruction from me. At 8:15 pm I called at Senate House.  There was a mass meeting in progress, being addressed by Davies and Aspinall.  I was invited to address this meeting and told them I had two suggestions to make.

Firstly, to call in the Civil Police to search the building.  To this remark there was a unanimous howl of ‘No! No!’

Secondly, the building should be searched by security staff and porters.  To this suggestion the mass meeting agreed […]

At approximately 4 pm Wednesday, I was at the porter’s desk when…Aspinall rushed into the main hall and shoutyed, ‘Notice to quit from Burchnall!’  A mass meeting was arranged…there was a discussion as to what may follow.  That an injunction may be served.  R Davies said, ‘This may affect some of our futures with the university’.  During the meeting one member was sent over to the Students Union to rally more support.  The serving of the notice to quit  seemed to cause solidarity amongst the students, and R Davies seemed to unite them more with his speech.

Within 15 minutes the student who had been to the Union returned rather dejected saying, ‘I’ve been refused permission to use the tannoy’.  He said, ‘I asked to see Curtis – Curtis said, ‘I’ll have to see Brown, and Brown said, ‘I’ll have to ask the Registrar’.  After this was said, student Snow jumped to his feet and said, ‘Burchnall or no Burchnall, I’ll use the tannoy’, and he made for the front door…

At 4:10 pm Thursday there was a terrific noise in the basement.  When I went to investigate it was student Walker who was in the building for the first time.  He was attempting to raise the morale of the students.  Pamela Rose was in the basement keeping watch.  She said, ‘It’s morale boosting…’


JM Stubbs of the Head Porter’s staff laid this peice of evidence against Pete Cresswell, who had the extra charge of forcibly preventing HH Burchnall, the Registrar, from entering Senate House.  (SocSoc awards Pete the Order of Lenin for his revolutionary endeavours.)

On Tuesday morning at 8:45 am entered the Senate building from the basement entrance in the company of HH Burchnall proceeded to the stairway continued to the ground floor stairway leading to the first floor but a man had his arms across one on each balustrade he refused to let us pass Mr Burchnall made himself known to this man and asked for access to his office which the man refused and began to jostle Mr Burchnall and put one arm on Mr Burchnall’s left chest and shoved him away whereupon Mr Burchnall said you refuse to let me in and he said you don’t go up whereupon Mr Burchnall said to me let us leave the building which we did by the main entrance.

(Printed as presented)


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