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New police probe into Hillsborough | Irish Examiner

 

New police probe into Hillsborough

 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 10:26 AM

 

A new police investigation into the Hillsborough Disaster was announced by the UK Home Secretary today.

 

Former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart will lead the new inquiry, which will focus specifically on the 96 deaths of Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989.

 

The move comes after a damning report from the Hillsborough independent panel laid bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy on to its victims.

 

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “I am determined to see a swift and thorough response to the findings of the Hillsborough Panel to deliver justice for the 96 football fans who died and the families who have fought so hard on their behalf.”

 

Mr Stoddart will be able to recruit investigators and staff to his team, but he will not be allowed to employ officers or former officers with any prior connection to the Hillsborough disaster.

 

He is also unable to recruit any officers or former officers who worked in the West Midlands, South Yorkshire or Merseyside police forces.

 

Mr Stoddart will also work closely with the previously announced Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into police conduct in the aftermath of the disaster.

 

He said: “I am aware of the great significance and personal responsibility which comes with leading this criminal investigation.

 

“My first priority is to meet with as many of the families as possible and to establish a working open relationship with them throughout the investigation.

 

“I have held a number of meetings already and have been struck by the families’ humility and steadfast determination to see justice delivered for their loved ones.

 

“My role is to ensure that we determine exactly what happened in the lead-up to and on the day of the disaster and establish where any culpability lies.”

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Original inquest verdicts have been quashed, and fresh inquests will now be carried out. A hugely significant step down the road.

 

BBC News - Hillsborough inquest verdicts quashed by High Court

 

Hillsborough inquest verdicts quashed by High Court

 

The High Court has quashed the original inquest verdicts returned on 96 Liverpool football fans who died in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

 

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge ordered fresh inquests following an application by the Attorney General.

 

Dominic Grieve made his request to the High Court three months after a new report established 41 of those who died might have been saved.

 

The home secretary has also announced a new police inquiry into the disaster.

 

Theresa May said the new inquiry would re-examine what happened in April 1989.

 

New medical evidence was used as a basis for the new inquests application.

 

Mr Grieve said the application was being made as a consequence of the Hillsborough Panel's report published on 12 September, which he said was a "remarkable" document.

 

He said that Dr Bill Kirkup, the medical member of the panel and a former associate chief medical officer at the Department of Health, had explained that, of the deceased, 58 "definitely" or "probably" had the capacity to survive beyond the 15:15 cut-off time.

 

That new evidence, which Mr Grieve said formed the "essential basis" for his application "undermines the coroner's summing-up at the inquests".

 

In making his judgement, Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge said there had been "deliberate misinformation surrounding the disaster".

 

"There has been a profound and palpable belief that justice had not been done [and] it is clear there are sound grounds for this application," he said.

 

'Horrific' events

Mrs May said former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart would lead the new inquiry, which will focus specifically on the 96 deaths of Liverpool fans as a result of what happened at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989.

 

The fans died after they were crushed within two pens at the Leppings Lane terrace of Sheffield Wednesday's stadium during the semi-final with Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989.

 

Mrs May said she was "determined to see a swift and thorough response to the findings of the Hillsborough Panel to deliver justice for the 96 football fans who died and the families who have fought so hard on their behalf".

 

Mr Stoddart will be able to recruit investigators and staff to his team, but he will not be allowed to employ officers or former officers with any prior connection to the Hillsborough disaster or from the West Midlands, South Yorkshire or Merseyside police forces.

 

He said he was "aware of the great significance and personal responsibility which comes with leading this criminal investigation".

 

"My first priority is to meet with as many of the families as possible and to establish a working open relationship with them throughout the investigation," he said.

 

In making his request, the Attorney General said the "horrific" events at the stadium were well known and "were seen by millions on television as the tragedy unfolded and by many of the spectators at the stadium itself".

 

He said that in the months and years that followed, the events that led to the tragedy "have been the subject of numerous investigations and inquiries".

 

'Waited 23 years'

 

The original inquest verdicts angered many of the bereaved families who were told at the 1990 hearing that all Hillsborough's victims had been injured by 15:15 on the afternoon of the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

 

Evidence covering the response by the emergency services after this time was also not heard at the original inquest.

 

Among the relatives who have travelled to London for the High Court hearing is Barry Devonside who lost his teenage son.

 

"At this moment in time it's the most important thing for all of the families, we have waited 23 years for justice.

 

"It has gone on for far too long, I was 42 when it started, I'm closer to 66 now.

 

"For once in my life I am confident, it would be a major shock to everybody if the applications were rejected."

 

Andy Burnham, Labour MP for Leigh, who set up the panel, said it was a "bittersweet" day for the families.

 

"Those families shouldn't be coming to London to find out they're back where they should have been 23 years ago," he said.

 

Police altered statements

"Some of the families said to me 'we never heard what happened to our son and my dad died not knowing'. No family should ever be in that position in this country."

 

The panel's findings showed police and emergency services had made "strenuous attempts" to deflect the blame for the disaster on to the fans.

 

More than 160 police statements had been altered - 116 of them to remove or change negative comments about the policing of the match.

 

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram said he was concerned the families of the victims may not have the finances to support any new legal cases.

 

In response, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: "I think it might be helpful to say that my department is very mindful of the financial pressures faced by the Hillsborough families.

 

"We all recognise the very difficult circumstances they have been through and they are certainly in our consideration."

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Why is it that the IPCC will only assist in investigating this?

 

Why is a former police officer leading the new inquest, surley it would be better and more sensible that the IPCC complete this?

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The idea of having a former police officer (regardless of his constabulary) investigating the cover-up and other criminal actions of police officers doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence. Who will be keeping an eye on him and the people he hires to assist with the investigation?

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Shouldn't be a cop looking into cops. Why don't these dickheads realize that perceived bias is just as bad as real bias.

 

With the inquest and inquiry, it just needs to be Sir Kenneth to complete the trifecta

YNWA

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The announcement is good news, what the end game is for this is another matter.

 

I fear getting culpable individuals prosecuted after all this time will be difficult to say the least. The government have just announced the families will get funding for legal representation at the inquests so that is again good news. We just have to wait for the outcome of those and take it one step at a time.

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Guest davelfc

Margaret Thatcher's former press secretary Sir Bernard Ingham refuses to apologise for telling Liverpool to "shut up about Hillsborough" - Mirror Online

 

Sir Bernard Ingham, formerly the chief press officer to Margaret Thatcher, has reportedly refused to apologise for having blamed innocent Liverpool FC fans for the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

 

According to a report in the Liverpool Echo, Ingham responded to questions regarding his previously stated views on the disaster by saying: “What have I to apologise for?”

 

The Echo reports that Ingham, now 80, had written a letter to Liverpool fan Graham Skinner (whose friend Eric Hughes died in the disaster) in 1996, which was this week passed to the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

 

In it Ingham reportedly wrote: “I have, however, one suggestion to make: for its own good, Liverpool – with the Heysel disaster in the background – should shut up about Hillsborough.

 

“Nothing can now bring back those who died – innocent people who, by virtue of being in the ground early, had their lives crushed out of them by a mob surging in late.”

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Finally the families will have the closure they deserve. This afternoon come 3pm the mood will be dignified as always but perhaps with a tinge more happiness in the air given the events of the past 2/3 years.

 

Hopefully next year for the 25th we can do away with our shouts for Justice and a simple R.I.P will suffice.

 

JFT96

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Gone but never forgotten YNWA JFT96

 

 

Theres so many on twitter wo have changed name to JFT96.Didi and god have and also Joey Barton.Thought it was touching of Dani Pacheco as well to tweet jft96.

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Finally the families will have the closure they deserve. This afternoon come 3pm the mood will be dignified as always but perhaps with a tinge more happiness in the air given the events of the past 2/3 years.

 

Hopefully next year for the 25th we can do away with our shouts for Justice and a simple R.I.P will suffice.

 

JFT96

 

Well said.

 

JFT96

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May they rest in peace. My hope is that the families and survivors will be able to live in peace when those responsible are finally brought to account. Not long now.

 

JFT96

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