Calls for a fresh inquest after the release of Hillsborough papers
The families of the 96 victims who died at Hillsborough have called for a fresh inquest into the deaths of their loved ones.
They are also considering their own legal action against individuals responsible for the tragedy at the FA Cup semi-final in April 1989.
A 396-page document that was harrowing to read yesterday, revealed a massive cover-up by South Yorkshire police to shift blame on the disaster onto Liverpool supporters.
The report cleared Liverpool fans of any blame and also revealed damming revelations about the safety of Sheffield Wednesday’s home ground, as well as the actions of sources to print inaccurate stories in the media in the days after the horrific event.
Original inquest was flawed
One of the senior members of the Hillsborough Families Support Group is Trevor Hicks.
Hicks lost two daughters in the carnage on the Hillsborough terraces and he told BBC Breakfast this morning of his belief that a new inquest must take place.
He said: “It is almost incredulous now that the accidental death verdict will be left.
“We know now that upto 41 of those people categorically did not die instantly, so it beggars belief, the accidental death verdict.
“I think it is important for the families to have a proper verdict put in place on their death certificates and to have a fair and honest inquest now.”
The original inquest was conducted by Dr Stefan Popper and his view of all supporters being dead by a cut-off time of 3.15pm outraged the families and has been questioned on a regular basis.
Now, the report yesterday revealed that as many as 41 of the 96 victims who died in the crush at the Leppings Lane end could have been saved after 3.15pm.
Parent Anne Williams, whose 15-year-old son Kevin died at Hillsborough, has fought for justice and been letdown on many occasions, most recently by the European Court of Human Rights in March 2009.
The research and witness accounts that Anne herself has conducted seriously suggest that the first inquest into the deaths was flawed.
Pressure from the families
In his apology to the House of Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron stated that it was upto the Attorney General Dominic Grieve to decide whether a new inquest was necessary.
The pressure of both the families and the evidence from the report, which involved more than 400,000 pages of official documents make this surely no more than a formality.
Alternatively, the families might seek legal action and criminal prosecution against prime individuals who were at fault.
This could include David Duckenfield, who was chief superintendent on that fateful day and has been heavily criticised by both supporters and Lord Justice Taylor in his report into the findings in 1989.
In 2000, Mr. Duckenfield was acquitted of private manslaughter charges and perverting the course of justice along with Superintendent Bernard Murray. Murray has since died back in 2006.
Richard Wells, who led South Yorkshire Police from 1990 to 1998 told the BBC that charges were ‘absolutely essential’ after the findings of the panel.
Other organisations that could face charges of corporate manslaughter could include Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.
Sheffield Wednesday in denial
Wednesday denied knowledge of crowd problems at FA Cup semi-finals it hosted in 1987 and 1988 but the panel found out that there had been issues with crushing at the match in 1988.
This was ironically between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest who were the teams involved on that dreadful spring afternoon a year later.
After being noticeably quiet yesterday, the FA released a statement this morning although they stopped short of an official apology for using the Hillsborough ground for neutral FA Cup semi-finals, despite not having the required health & safety certificates.
The statement read: “Having thoroughly reviewed yesterday’s report in full, the Football Association would like to commend the Hillsborough Independent Panel for their exhaustive and professional work.
“We welcome the publication of the report and the subsequent comments of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition (Ed Miliband.)
“The FA reiterates its deep and ongoing sadness at the dreadful events that unfolded on 15 April 1989.”
Later in the day, there was an apology in a separate statement from FA chairman David Bernstein.
"We are deeply sorry this tragedy occurred at a venue the FA selected.
"This fixture was played in the FA's own competition, and on the behalf of the Football Association I offer a full and unreserved apology and express sincere condolences to all of the families of those who lost their lives and to everyone connected to the City of Liverpool and Liverpool Football Club."
Former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish wrote in the Daily Mirror this morning: “The aims remain the same for the families and their search to see justice done goes on.
“A start would be for the death certificates and the coroner’s report to be changed from accidental death to unlawful killing.
“However, it was a very encouraging day (yesterday) and a big step towards eventual closure.”
Calls for knighthood to be stripped
There have also been calls for Sheffield Tory MP Sir Irvine Patnick Sheffield to be stripped of his knighthood.
Knighted in 1994, he was revealed yesterday to have spread the story along with senior police that Liverpool supporters stole from the dead and urinated on the victims.
This led to the distressing headline ‘The Truth’ in the Sun newspaper four days after the disaster.
Today, the Sun published a new front-page story ‘The Real Truth’ and again, apologised for their part in denouncing the Liverpool supporters.
That apology will be seen as too little, too late to many of the bereaved families.
Yesterday, the truth finally came out after 23 long and hurtful years for the Hillsborough Families.
Today, the fight for real justice has begun.
By Simon Wright – Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88
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