An independent stadium expert told the Hillsborough inquest yesterday there were not enough turnstiles for Liverpool fans and the height and layout of crush barriers on the Leppings Lane terrace did not comply with safety guidelines.

John Cutlack, a structural engineer, also said the capacity of the terraces had been over-estimated.

The disaster on April 15, 1989, claimed 96 Liverpool fans, crushed to death at the start of an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in Sheffield.

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The inquest has heard the ground's safety certificate was issued in 1979, when it was "designated" a stadium that needed one due to its size and status.

It was then decided the capacity of the stadium should be 50,000, while it was estimated the Leppings Lane end could safely hold 10,100 fans.

Mr Cutlack said the barrier height and layout did not comply with the safety guidance for sports stadia given in the government's Green Guide.

In pens three and four, where the fans were crushed to death, four barriers were substantially too low and three marginally too high.

Because of this the designated safe capacity should have been lowered, Mr Cutlack said. He said the height of some barriers on the terrace were 300% outside the guidelines.

The hearing in Warrington continues.