The the 15th of April 1989 became the day that sport did not matter. It became the day headlines being prepared on the back page of a newspaper which would only reiterate what was being prepared for the front page. It became the day 96 people left their homes for a football match only never to return. It became the day only to be known as the Hillsborough disaster. So why on the 12th of September 2012 a staggering 23 years after that tragic day has the truth and documents of what really happened only just being released to the world? Probably because it was the biggest blunder and cover up in police history.
In this article I will be dealing in truth and truth only of the findings of the Hillsborough independent panel which were set up in December 2009 to oversee “full public disclosure of relevant governmant and local information within the limited constraints set out in the disclosure protocol” and “consult with Hillsborough families to ensure that the views of those most affected by the disaster are taken into account” For 23 years family, friends work colleagues and strangers have fought to over tern the verdict of accidental death, the fact that Liverpool fans were to blame and that the death toll of 96 could have been vastly reduced had more then just a single ambulance being allowed on the pitch do deal with the casualties. The panel had read over 400.000 documents which covered everything from police statements and paramedic statements to eye witnesses accounts and survivor stories. The world were expecting some findings to emerge, but what the world actually found out can only be described as astonishing.
The panel had come to the conclusion that “Up to 41 of the 96 fans who tragically died might have survived had emergency services’ reactions and co-ordination been improved” Just take the number of 41 in for a minute, it means that up 41 lives could have been saved from the terrible day, 41 families would not have to of buried fathers, mothers,sons or daughters and 41 people could have continued their precious life. The conclusion of 41 fans possibly being saved is based on post mortem examinations which found some victims may have had heart, lung or blood circulation function after being removed from the crush. Following on from that the report also came to the conclusion that placing fans who were “merely unconscious” on their backs would have resulted in their death. If that was not enough from the report, also to be concluded was that fact that no Liverpool fans were responsible in any way for the disaster, and that the main cause of the disaster was “lack of police of control” The idea of Liverpool supporters being liable for their fellow supporters deaths has been a stigma which has followed them around for 23 years, especially as just days after Hillsborough a “”well known” red top tabloid had printed lies in which stated fans had “beat up a PC giving the kiss of life” and “drunken fans viciously attacked rescue workers as they tried to revive victims”. The Liverpool fans now had the truth they had so tirelessly fought for to clear their names from a disgusting and vile smear campaign that tried to see them blamed for this tragedy. When in fact in fans were actually seen pulling fellow supporters to safety and using advertising hoardings as stretchers for other injured fans. All though a shocking reason behind the idea of liverpool fans being responsible for Hillsborough were being spearheaded by the South Yorkshire Police.
The Panel had found that South Yorkshire police and other emergency services had made a “strenuous attempt” to deflect blame from them onto Liverpool supporters. The very police force that were there to protect the public and offer an honest and caring service were actually creating the biggest cover up ever to protect them selves and not even consider taking into the account the feelings of the grieving families who were being led to believe their own loved ones could have been responsible for the deaths of others. This was not clearly just one person lying, this was a cover up on epic proportion which would include perjury and preventing the course of justice. 164 witness statements were amended and 116 had statements removed which were “unfavourable to South Yorkshire police, but the smear campaign to do stop there. Probably the most disgusting findings to emerge from the report was South Yorkshire police carried out blood and alcohol readings on victims in which some of them were children just as so they could then blame the fans by saying they were drunk and not in control of their actions. While mothers were grieving their children were being used as a subject of a cover up and if that was not enough computer checks were also being run on victims on the police national database in an attempt to “impugn their reputation”. Every attempt was being made by the police to hide their responsibility for the events of that terrible day and for 23 years it had worked, but not anymore.
After 23 years the families, supporters, the media and the world have finally reached the end of the truth but have now created the begenning for justice. The priority for all involved now is to overturn the inquest verdicts of accidental death as attorney general Dominic Grieve is urged to open a new investigation and also start to consider criminal proceedings for those responsible for not only the tragedy but also the shocking cover up. This will not be a quick process, if this is to run its full course then this could possibly takes years for the out come and the right people be brought to justice. If it has to take years then you can believe the Liverpool fans will be fighting every day and every step of the way. They have fought for 23 years for justice for the 96 and they in no way intend to give up now.
This article is dedicated to the 96 Liverpool fans for justice is now finally being achieved.
Image reproduced from Liverpoolblogg.no
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