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Thread: The Road to Justice....... NEW - Verdict to be announced 11am 26th April

  1. #31  
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    Apr 2008
    And a very very merry Christmas to you too NAC!

    Hope you get rid of the lurgy soon so you can enjoy a restful one........

    Getting to number 1 was amazing, and fair play to James Arthur tweeting everyone to buy our single

    A big thank-you to you for everything you do, have done, and no doubt will continue to do........ You're a star! Quite an apt analogy for this time of the year

    Take it easy mate!

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  2. #32  
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    Dec 2012
    Ynwa justice for the 96
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  3. #33  
    NACNUD is offline Justice Campaigner Extraordinaire
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    Wednesday 19th December 2012 turned into another momentous day in the ongoing fight for Justice for the 96 and their families.

    We all knew that this was the day that the original inquest verdicts of accidental death could be quashed by The High Court and new inquests granted but many did not expect the Goverments announcement on Wednesday morning for a new police investigation.

    New Hillsborough investigation announced by Home Secretary

    Dec 19 2012

    THE actions of council and police officials as well as football chiefs and stadium engineers are to probed as part of a new criminal investigation into the Hillsborough Disaster.

    Confirming the fresh inquiry into the FA Cup semi final which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans on April 15, 1989, Home Secretary Theresa May said it would investigate “all of the people and organisations involved – before, on, and after” the tragedy.

    The ECHO understands this will include Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, the Football Association, Sheffield City Council and engineers who worked on the Hillsborough stadium – as well as police officers responsible for safety, planning and policing the football match.

    Those found culpable could face prosecution and for serving police officers it could also lead to misconduct proceedings, Ms May warned.

    Former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart will lead the new inquiry which – based in the same Warrington office –will run closely with and alongside the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) probe into the actions of police officers in the Hillsborough cover-up.

    The new police probe will focus on the deaths of the 96 fans who died in the crush at the Hillsborough stadium.
    Mr Stoddart today pledged to work “swiftly” and revealed he intends to meet with the families of those who died “to establish a working open relationship with them throughout the investigation”.

    To avoid the police investigating the police, any police wrongdoing or failing identified by the new probe will be passed on to the IPCC.

    No current or former officers with any prior connection to the Hillsborough Disaster will play a part in the new probe.

    Ms May said: “There will be two investigations – one into the deaths at Hillsborough and one into the police actions in the aftermath.”

    She added: “This investigation will ensure no body with responsibility for fan safety at Hillsborough will escape scrutiny.”

    Read more: Liverpool Echo

    An “Independent Challenge Panel” will be established by the IPCC and the Director of Public Prosecutions to scrutinise the investigations. It will include independent experts nominated by family organisations and will also scrutinise the Crown Prosecution Service’s role in the investigations.

    The independent panel’s report said Sheffield Wednesday’s ground “failed to meet minimum standards” and the safety of the crowd admitted to the Leppings Lane terrace was “compromised at every level”.

    The club has apologised to “all the families who have suffered as a consequence” of the tragedy and Sheffield council also apologised for the part it played in licensing and carrying out “inadequate and poorly recorded inspections” of the Hillsborough stadium.

    Jon Stoddart - the man leading the new investigation

    THE man charged with leading a new criminal investigation into the Hillsborough Disaster has a long police career stretching over 30 years.

    Jon Stoddart served as Chief Constable of Durham Police for seven years from December 2005 until his retirement in May of this year.

    He has also had high-profile responsibilities at a national level.

    Mr Stoddart led the independent review of Operation Weeting – the Metropolitan Police investigation into phone hacking by the media and other suspected criminal activity.

    He also gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking in March, and was given an OBE in the 2012 New Year’s Honours.

    Mr Stoddart joined his local force in 1982 after graduating from Northumbria University, and was singled out for rapid promotion.

    During more than 16 years with Northumbria, he worked in the Criminal Investigation Department, was a detective sergeant in Newcastle, and a detective chief inspector in Sunderland.

    He also headed up the inquiry into a brick attack which left a Sunderland police officer critically injured. Six men were jailed for a total of 44 years after his investigation.

    Mr Stoddart is also known to be a keen cyclist. In June he organised a 121-mile charity ride with fellow officers for women’s cancer.

    Read more: Liverpool Echo
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  4. #34  
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    After hearing the news regarding the new investigation the High Court in London was about to start with The Attorney Generals laying out his case to the Lord High Justice .

    To read his full application for new inquests see the link below.....
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  5. #35  
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    These are taken from Kopgirls thread on the day.......

    Hello and welcome to our live updates from the High Court, on what should be a momentous day in a year of momentous daysby Neil Macdonald 10:00 AM

    The Hillsborough inquest hearing is now starting in front of the Lord Chief justice. Attorney General has just said it is David Conn via twitter 10:37 AM

    Dominic Grieve summarising the tragedy - eloquent and heartbreaking speech of events at #Hillsboroughby John Sutton via twitter 10:38 AM

    Dominic Grieve now setting scene for how disaster occurred. Going into quite some detail as to how bodies were packed together on terrace, how police froze and how fans sprung into actionby dankay77 10:39 AM

    Att Gen talks of the "carnage" and how police were shocked into impotence #Hillsboroughby John Sutton via twitter 10:39 AM

    Attorney General is now reading from the Taylor Report, the passages describing the "horrific scene of carnage" Hillsborough David Conn via twitter 10:39 AM

    Application is made as consequence of Ind panel's report #Hillsboroughby John Sutton via twitter 10:40 AM

    Attorney-General's application follows the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report: "a remarkable document."by David Conn via twitter 10:42 AM

    Emotional looks from people here in Liverpool as failings of emergency services are listed again #Hillsboroughby John Sutton via twitter 10:43 AM

    AG: Initial inquest verdict of single cause of death is unsustainable by dankay77 10:44 AM

    Criticism of 3.15 cut off by Att Gen in High Court #Hillsboroughby John Sutton via twitter 10:44 AM

    Police statements amended, as were amb service statements, outlines Att Gen #Hillsboroughby John Sutton via twitter 10:47 AM

    Attorney General underling how medical reports downplayed the role of alcohol in the disaster and criticises how emphasis was put on this along with mass changing of police statements to build a case against the fansby dankay77 10:50 AM

    The "now-impugned" medical evidence, showing 58 of the 96 Hillsborough victims could have been saved, is "central plank" of the David Conn via twitter 10:51 AM

    Grieve documents various ways court must be satisfied that justice has not been done if they are to strike down initial verdicts. Stresses that all evidence supports that dankay77 10:53 AM

    Grieve documents various ways court must be satisfied that justice has not been done if they are to strike down initial verdicts. Stresses that all evidence supports that dankay77 10:53 AM

    "The wounds of grief are so sore because so many questions have been left unanswered - only new inquests can help these start to heal"by dankay77 edited by Sean Bradbury 10:55 AM

    Also the new and detailed evidence about the state of the Hillsborough ground, and previous crushes, is a further reason for a new David Conn via twitter 10:56 AM

    Att Gen has sat down, former barrister was very competent in the court. Rep for 63 families on his feet now #Hillsboroughby John Sutton via twitter 10:59 AM

    Sheff Weds primary concern was costs, not safety, says families' barrister Michael Mansfield QCby John Sutton via twitter 11:06 AM

    Michael Mansfield is focussing on Sheffield Wednesdays's safety failures and crushes at Hillsborough from 1978, as key to 96 dying in David Conn via twitter 11:07 AM

    More documents could come out on Hillsborough grounds safety recordby John Sutton via twitter 11:08 AM

    Mansfield: the question of whether Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground was "fit for purpose" could be put to the jury in a new inquestby David Conn via twitter 11:09 AM

    Mansfield underlining how SWFC's denial of previous problems at the ground were hugely relevant at the previous inquest. The response to that which be significant one feels in anything further that happens beyond fresh dankay77 11:10 AM

    The Hillsborough panel's evidence about the safety failures of the ground contrasted with "totally different picture" presented by David Conn via twitter 11:12 AM

    Hopefully we won't be standing here in another ten years, says Mansfield #Hillsboroughby John Sutton via twitter 11:12 AM

    Lord chief justice retires to consider verdict. Looking positiveby david bartlett via twitter 11:16 AM
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  6. #36  
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    Unfortunatley I have searched the net trying to find The Lord Chief Justice's full decision as to why the original inquests were being quashed and new inquests granted but cannot find it anywhere,if anyone does have it in full please post it up in here.

    Here are some of his words from different media souces.......

    The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge said there were "good grounds" for the application made by Mr Grieve.

    Lord Judge described what happened in 1989 as "catastrophic".

    "each of those who died in the tragedy was a "helpless victim of this terrible event"`

    "We must put on record our admiration for the families' long battle for the truth and our regret that it has taken such an unbearably long time to come about. Justice demonstrably has not been done"

    "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.

    He added the court wanted to "record our admiration and respect [to the families] for their determined search for the truth about the disaster and why and how it had occurred, which - despite disappointments and setbacks - has continued for nearly quarter of a century."

    "Single question is whether in interests of justice a new inquest is desirable and or necessary. In this instance it is both"

    it was “inevitable” that the emergence of fresh evidence about how and why the victims died made it “desirable and reasonable for a fresh inquest to be heard”.

    "deliberate misinformation surrounding the disaster".

    "The unchallenged evidence (to the inquest that the victims of Hillsborough could not have been saved after 3:15pm) is no longer accepted."

    “there is ample evidence to suggest that the 3.15 cutoff was seriously flawed.”

    "Acknowledge our indebtedness and gratitude to the Independent Panel for the works. It is evident that there are sound grounds for this application."

    When giving the ruling, Lord Judge expressed regret that the process the families had gone through over the years since the disaster had been "so unbearingly dispiriting and prolonged.''

    After Lord Judge announced the decision of the court, families in the packed courtroom greeted it with a loud round of applause.

    Mr Grieve said he applied to the High Court as a result of the Hillsborough Panel's report, published on 12 September, which said 41 of those who died might have been saved.

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

    New evidence undermined the coroner's summing-up, he said, adding later on BBC Radio 4's PM programme, that the report revealed "serious flaws" in the inquest.

    He cited concerns about the timing of the fans' deaths, the role of the police and the false allegations that alcohol had played a material part in the tragedy, adding: "It [alcohol] was also used to blacken the reputation of the fans and potentially the victims, in a way that was very unfortunate, completely unacceptable and unfair."
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  7. #37  
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    Government to pay for legal costs for the families of the 96 Liverpool fans killed in the Hillsborough disaster.

    THE Government will fund legal representation for the families of the 96 Liverpool fans killed in the Hillsborough disaster at the new inquest ordered into their deaths.

    The High Court yesterday quashed the accidental death verdicts returned after the supporters died in the crush at the stadium in Sheffield 23 years ago.

    Read more: Liverpool Echo

    Commons Leader Andrew Lansley told MPs: “The Government will provide funding for the legal representation of the bereaved Hillsborough families at the fresh inquests.”

    Mr Lansley made the announcement on funding during questions on future Commons business.

    His comments came after shadow Commons leader Angela Eagle had warned the families would “have to meet expensive legal costs to ensure they are adequately represented at the new inquests”.

    The Government has also pledged to effectively waive VAT on the charity single He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother by

    The Justice Collective – aimed at helping meet the legal costs.

    The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Igor Judge, said the new evidence unearthed by the Hillsborough Independent Panel meant it had been “inevitable” that the inquests should be quashed and new ones ordered.

    Lord Judge said he wanted the new inquests held as soon as possible.

    He said: “The effect must be that the truth, however distressing or unpalatable, will be brought out into the light. Let’s pause for the memory of each of the victims who should be properly respected.”

    Read more: Liverpool Echo
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  8. #38  
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    VIDEO ROUND-UP: Families, campaigners & MPs react to Hillsborough inquest verdicts finally being quashed
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  9. #39  
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    And a Christmas No.1.........

    4pm UPDATE: Hillsborough charity single gets tax break to help raise more funds for families

    Dec 19 2012

    Peter Hooton and Steve Rotherham at the launch of the Hillsborough single

    VIDEO: Watch the Hillsborough charity single

    The Justice Collective - He Ain t Heavy, He's My Brother on MUZU.TV.

    4pm story

    Families of the Liverpool fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster will get extra money from sales of a charity single after Chancellor George Osborne confirmed he would effectively waive VAT on it.

    The version of the Hollies’ hit He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother by The Justice Collective is being sold to help cover their legal costs.

    An official announcement came after a High Court ruling which quashed the original accidental death verdicts returned on the 96 who died and ordered a fresh inquest.

    The song features artists like Paul Heaton, Sir Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, former X Factor star Rebecca Ferguson and Spice Girl Mel C.

    Bookies make it the odds-on favourite to take the coveted Christmas number one chart spot.

    Mr Osborne said: "These families have been campaigning for justice for almost 24 years.

    "It’s been a long journey so I’m pleased to be able to say the Government will effectively waive the VAT on sales of the Hillsborough single, ensuring that as much money as possible goes towards helping these families."

    1pm story

    Campaigners for a tax break on sales of a charity single in aid of Hillsborough families were told by David Cameron today to expect good news.

    The version of the Hollies’ hit He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother by The Justice Collective will help cover the legal costs of the families of Liverpool supporters killed in the 1989 stadium disaster.

    Pressed on whether it could benefit from a VAT waiver granted to previous such singles, the Prime Minister told MPs: "The Chancellor of the Exchequer is currently on the other side of the Atlantic but as the First Lord of the Treasury I think I can confidently predict there will be a decision that will go down well in Merseyside."

    Read more: Liverpool Echo
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  10. #40  
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    Story of 2012: From the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report to quashing of the original inquest verdicts

    by Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo

    Paddy Shennan charts what has been an amazing year for those seeking justice for the Hillsborough victims

    HILLSBOROUGH was the story of the year for the Liverpool ECHO and its readers. Here we give a flavour of how we covered the momentous developments – from the publication of the Independent Panel’s report in September to the quashing of the original inquest verdicts in December.

    “I’d like to see the whole conspiracy uncovered, from the start to this day. After that, I’d like to see the inquest verdict of accidental death overturned and find out why the police could not carry out their duty of care that day.” Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, on her hopes for September 12 and beyond. ECHO, September 7.

    “What do we hope comes out of the report? The truth. As simple as that.” Sheila Coleman, spokeswoman for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. September 7.

    “41 COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED. Victims of wholesale blunders. Police altered 164 statements and tried to smear the dead. Families: ‘We’re vindicated’. Cameron: ‘We’re sorry’. Law chief to rule on new inquests. Front page of ECHO Special Edition, September 12.

    Hillsborough disaster: How the Liverpool ECHO reported the tragedy

    Sep 11 2012

    “It was truly shocking to hear people could have been saved. There are so many shocking aspects. But the fans were totally vindicated.” Sheila Coleman, September 12.

    “The truth is out today, justice starts tomorrow.” Trevor Hicks, president of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, September 12.

    “The worst cover-up in British legal history.” Michael Mansfield QC, September 13.

    “The operational failure of the authorities on the day of the disaster was atrocious and inexcusable. Then to decide, coldly and clinically, to shift the blame onto the innocent supporters they were supposed to protect shows that some people will sink to any depths to save their own miserable skins – and jobs.” ECHO editorial, September 13.

    “Over this great city, light after long dark; truth, the sweet silver song of the lark.” The last two lines of a special poem, Liverpool, written by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, September 14.

    “There is nothing that I am ashamed of,” Sir Norman Bettison, chief constable of West Yorkshire, talking about the Panel’s report, September 15.

    “Nobody at Goodison will ever forget the scene as, prior to kick-off, two child mascots, one in Everton blue, one in Liverpool red, led out the sides hand in hand. The young pair’s shirt numbers had been arranged to read ‘96’ whilst the sound of The Hollies’ He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother rang around the ground and the names of the victims were displayed on the big screen.” Sports reporter Neil Jones on the tribute before the Everton-Newcastle game, ECHO September 18.

    “Kelvin MacKenzie, we know what you are – and, hopefully, the rest of the country now does, too. An apology? How low can you go?” ECHO editorial, September 27, after the former Sun editor said he wanted an apology from South Yorkshire Police for the “vilification” he has received since his infamous The Truth front page.

    “I’m delighted. But he is a disgrace. He has had a couple of weeks of going through a little stress while we have been through hell for 23 years,” Margaret Aspinall, October 5, after Norman Bettison announced his decision to retire in March.

    “Justice demands that we do whatever is possible to investigate culpability for any offence that may have been committed, and do so thoroughly and fairly.” Deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Deborah Glass, October 12. She had just announced that the police watchdog was launching the biggest-ever investigation into the police in the UK – centred on officers’ conduct during and after the Hillsborough disaster.

    “In reality, 96 could have been saved if people like the police had treated fans like humans instead of animals,” Sheila Coleman, after new evidence suggested as many as 58 victims of the disaster could have been saved if the emergency services had responded properly, October 15.

    Maria Eagle, MP for Garston and Halewood, used parliamentary privilege to unveil witness evidence against Norman Bettison. She said the witness, John Barry, claimed Bettison told him in 1989 South Yorkshire Police was “trying to concoct a story that all the Liverpool fans were drunk and we were afraid that they were going to break down the gates, so we decided to open them.” October 23.

    “We both welcome the resignation because Mr Bettison’s position had become untenable and was growing more so with every day which passed,” statement by Trevor Hicks and Margaret Aspinall, in the wake of the West Yorkshire chief constable’s decision to quit, October 25.

    “Robbie Williams will lead an all-star line-up in an attempt to land a Christmas number one to raise money for the Hillsborough fight for justice.” ECHO report on plans for a new recording of the song He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, October 26. Sir Paul McCartney later joined The Justice Collective.

    “I feel now that I’m going to see it through. I can picture being at a new inquest...This news has given me a new lease of life,” Anne Williams – mum of 15-year-old Hillsborough victim Kevin – who was diagnosed with terminal cancer just weeks after the publication of the Panel’s report. Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC had just announced he was going to the High Court to apply for the original inquest verdict to be quashed. ECHO, December 12.

    “A new police investigation into the Hillsborough disaster was announced today by the Home Secretary. Former Durham chief constable Jon Stoddart will lead the new inquiry ...(and) will work closely with the IPCC investigation into police conduct in the aftermath of the disaster...

    “Theresa May also revealed a Liaison Board will be established to bring together all organisations working to deliver justice for the Hillsborough families.” ECHO report, December 19.

    “The Lord Chief Justice Lord Igor Judge said the new evidence unearthed by the Hillsborough Independent Panel meant it was ‘inevitable’ the verdicts should be quashed and new inquests ordered,” December 19.

    “The effects must be that the truth, however distressing or unpalatable, will be brought out into the light. Let’s pause for the memory of each of the victims who should be properly respected,” The Lord Chief Justice Lord Igor Judge, December 19.

    “We are absolutely delighted. Justice is on its way. This is a huge step for the families,” Trevor Hicks.

    “We have done in nine weeks what it normally takes nine months or more to achieve, working with a phenomenally dedicated team all of whom have worked for free and displayed total professionalism throughout,” Justice Collective organiser and Walton MP Steve Rotheram, after He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother became the Christmas Number One, ECHO, December 24.

    Read more: Liverpool Echo

    Read more: Liverpool Echo
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  11. #41  
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    Happy New Year ..........

    Hillsborough families find new, stronger voices in their fight for justice

    Claim that West Midlands police did not conduct an independent inquiry into the tragedy has gathered strength
    David Conn

    The Guardian, Tuesday 1 January 2013 20.25 GMT

    Lord [Geoffrey] Dear, the chief constable of West Midlands police when his officers conducted the investigations into the Hillsborough disaster, considers it a high point of his career, arguing the force did an outstanding job in a short time for Lord Justice Taylor's official inquiry.

    That glowing view is bitterly disputed by families of the 96 people who died at Hillsborough, and by many who survived the disaster and gave their testimony to Dear's officers. Since the Hillsborough Independent Panel published its report on 12 September, families and survivors are increasingly coming forward to complain that the West Midlands force did not conduct a truly independent investigation. They argue that the West Midlands police were complicit with South Yorkshire police's campaign to evade its own officers' responsibility for the disaster, and seek to falsely shift the blame onto the Liverpool supporters themselves.

    The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating West Midlands for several issues highlighted by the report, including whether officers "put pressure on three witnesses to change their statements." Five officers are individually under investigation, including Dear himself, and Mervyn Jones, who as assistant chief constable headed West Midlands' Hillsborough operations, according to Dear. The IPCC said it is examining: "General concerns in the report about inadequate investigation [by West Midlands police] and failure in its direction and control."

    Further allegations against the West Midlands police have since been made to the IPCC. They include that officers pressured other witnesses to withdraw criticisms of South Yorkshire police; that they concentrated on and sympathised with South Yorkshire police's discredited account that supporters were drunk and misbehaving; failed to conduct an investigation rigorous enough to result in criminal or disciplinary proceedings against anyone, and played a central role in the failings of the Hillsborough inquests which have now been quashed.

    The Hillsborough Family Support Group and Hillsborough Justice Campaign have also called on the IPCC to investigate the role of Detective Superintendent Stanley Beechey. He was under investigation himself in 1989-1990 over the multiple malpractice of the West Midlands serious crime squad, of which he was a former head. With 49 other serious crime squad officers, Beechey was stated by Dear to have been transferred to "non-operational duties". However, internal documents show that Beechey played a central, senior operational role in the West Midlands criminal investigation into Hillsborough, reporting to the Director of Public Prosecutions, then working for the coroner at the inquest.

    Family members whose children died at Hillsborough also believe their home telephones were tapped by West Midlands police. Hilda Hammond, whose 14-year-old son, Philip, died in the fatal crush in Hillsborough's Leppings Lane end, is haunted by an episode of interference on her phone the following spring, 1990. She was at home in Aigburth, Liverpool, talking to her friend who lived near Llanberis, north Wales. Their conversation was suddenly interrupted by the voice of another mother, Jenni Hicks, whose teenage daughters, Sarah and Victoria, died at Hillsborough. Hicks was at home in Pinner, Middlesex, talking to one of Sarah's friends in Liverpool, a conversation Hilda Hammond and her friend could clearly hear.

    Hicks's then husband, Trevor, was the HFSG chairman, contesting the South Yorkshire police version of Hillsborough and calling for prosecutions. Phil Hammond, Hilda's husband, was an active HFSG member and later the chairman. Hilda Hammond is convinced their phones were tapped.

    "There is no other explanation for it – what are the chances of interference on the line, and it is another Hillsborough family?" she said. "It was horrible. All these years I have considered it the ultimate betrayal."

    The HFSG has formally requested the IPCC to conduct a full, transparent investigation into the allegation by Hammond, Hicks and others, of phone tapping. Dear told the Guardian it is "nonsense" to allege that families' phones were tapped: "I would have had to make the application personally," he said.

    West Midlands police were formally appointed by South Yorkshire police themselves to investigate Hillsborough, on 16 April 1989, the day after the disaster. When Taylor was asked to conduct the official inquiry, the evidence gathered by West Midlands was "made available" to him, as well as for South Yorkshire police's "internal purposes."

    Documents disclosed as part of the panel process are renewing suspicions that the West Midlands police were sympathetic to the South Yorkshire force. West Midlands officers used a standard questionnaire and checklist when interviewing witnesses, including Liverpool supporters who survived the appalling horror of the Leppings Lane "pens" 3 and 4, with people dying all around them. The checklist was heavily weighted towards the South Yorkshire police narrative, which sought to blame supporters' misbehaviour for the fatal crush. Under a heading of "Investigation," the possible categories were all aimed at supporters: "forged tickets, forcing gates, unauthorised access, alcohol" and "disorder". There was no list of possible misconduct by police or any other body. When witnesses gave evidence of police inaction, negligence, assault or abuse, as many survivors did, they had to be noted in a catch-all section headed: "Any category not specified."

    The questionnaire, while it did include questions about police control, asked in six separate places about whether supporters were drinking, fighting, gaining "unauthorised entry," and "disorder."

    Some survivors, wholly vindicated by the panel, are recalling with greater confidence their discomfort at how West Midlands officers interviewed them. Young men who had gone to support Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest but found themselves in a hellish experience, were told their parents did not need to be present at the interviews.

    Similar stories are emerging, of West Midlands officers telling survivors they were not in pens 3 or 4 where they said they were, that their story was not particularly bad or was irrelevant. One survivor of pen 3, who did not want to be named, says pressure was put on him, quite forcefully, to amend and withdraw criticism of South Yorkshire police officers. He has given a detailed account to the IPCC. No explanation was ever given to these witnesses about who would be called to give evidence to Taylor.

    Despite the South Yorkshire police's relentlessly made case that fans' drunkenness and misbehaviour caused the disaster, almost no evidence was found to support their story. Taylor cut through to the safety failures by Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield City Council, and previous crushes in the Leppings Lane end. He identified the South Yorkshire police's loss of control outside the ground, then the decision to open an exit gate to allow a large number of supporters in, and the failure to close off the tunnel leading to the already overcrowded central "pens," as the prime causes of the disaster.

    Dear regards Taylor's findings as vindication for the West Midlands police inquiry. He points to the tribute Taylor paid in his introduction to the West Midlands police for "their speed and dedication in gathering the evidence," and to similar approval given by the Football Supporters Association.

    After Taylor's critical findings about the disaster's causes, on 16 August 1989 South Yorkshire police themselves asked West Midlands police to investigate whether any criminal charges should follow.

    West Midlands police were also reporting to the Police Complaints Authority who would decide whether policemen should face disciplinary action.

    On 16 August 1989, Dear was asked if West Midlands police would conduct those investigations. Just two days earlier, Dear had disbanded his serious crime squad, after a string of miscarriages of justice and collapsed prosecutions. It had emerged that West Midlands officers had habitually fabricated evidence, including inserting confessions into suspects' statements.

    Questions about the squad dated back to 1975 when the "Birmingham Six" were convicted of the two pub bombings; they spent 16 years in prison before forensic tests revealed parts of their statements had been fabricated.

    The PCA and DPP announced investigations into these alleged malpractices within West Midlands police. Dear stated he was transferring 50 serving and former serious crime squad officers to "non-operational duties." That was widely understood to mean the officers would have no involvement in criminal investigations, given the allegations about malpractice. Dear later described the postings as "non-jobs."

    DS Beechey was a former head of the serious crime squad, at the time deputy head of West Midlands CID. While other senior officers were posted to research, personnel and road safety talks in schools, Beechey's posting was for "studying technical aspects of Hillsborough". Dear has said that involved examining fuzzy video footage.

    Beechey's "non-operational duties" lasted from 14 August 1989, when the serious crime squad was disbanded, until he was cleared of wrongdoing and returned to "operational duties" on 30 November 1990.
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    David Conn

    The Guardian, Tuesday 1 January 2013 20.25 GMT

    Bereaved families at the Hillsborough inquest found him during that period playing a senior role at the now discredited "mini-inquests," held to give limited summaries of what had happened, which began in April 1990. The families were contacted by George Tomkins, a Liverpool man who claimed he had been framed by Beechey for a crime of which he was acquitted. Beechey was himself interviewed under caution about this allegation on 20 June 1990. He was never disciplined or prosecuted for any misconduct, but Tomkins sued for malicious prosecution, which West Midlands police settled, paying Tomkins £40,000.

    The families have been concerned about Beechey's role ever since the inquest, and the HFSG and HJC have asked the IPCC to investigate.

    Documents released to the panel, however, reveal that Beechey's role was more central than has been understood for 22 years. While on "non-operational duties" and under investigation himself, Beechey was in fact working as a senior detective in the West Midlands team investigating Hillsborough on behalf of the DPP. He liaised directly with the DPP and PCA – which was investigating him at the time. He was described in August 1990 as third in command of the West Midlands police's Hillsborough investigation team, working from the Nechells Green police station in Birmingham.

    West Midlands police have never acknowledged this, and in 2009 described Beechey as "a later addition" to the Sheffield coroner's team, his role: "Of a limited, overseeing nature". In fact he was appointed inquest manager, the second most senior police position, in April 1990, at the beginning of the inquest process.

    Attention has always focused on allegations of culpability among the senior officers who were in command at Hillsborough, Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield and Superintendent Bernard Murray. But witnesses' statements reveal many different complaints were made about police officers' conduct. Several supporters gave accounts of a mounted policeman outside the ground swearing at and punching supporters; of police officers inside punching fans, swearing and being abusive, and assaulting or pushing fans back into the pens when they tried to escape to safety. There were many accounts of fans in the pens screaming for their lives, for the police officers around the pitch to open the gates at the front to allow people out, but failing to do so until dozens of people were already dead.

    In an initial report to the DPP, West Midlands police had decided to interview Duckenfield, Murray, Superintendents Marshall and Greenwood and just two junior officers, of whom the report said it was "very difficult to imagine" they ought to be prosecuted. The West Midlands investigators considered they should examine: "The extent to which the effects of alcohol played a part," and said "the role of supporters may not have been given sufficient prominence [by Taylor]".

    Thus, the panel noted: "While Taylor had dismissed the issues of drunkenness and ticketless fans as contributing factors to the disaster, the report put them back on the agenda."

    One of Beechey's key roles in the Hillsborough criminal investigation was to re-interview survivors who had criticised police officers' conduct, to see if they wanted to translate these into official complaints. The Guardian has seen 28 statements, from September 1989 to early 1990, in which Beechey personally interviewed witnesses.

    One was Eddie Spearritt. He was with his 14-year-old son, Adam, and was deeply traumatised by being unable to save Adam, who died, while Eddie suffered crushing injuries but lived. Spearritt maintained to Beechey a complaint against an officer, who he said refused to open the gate "despite my loud appeals directly to him and his close proximity to our position."

    Just one other witness's testimony was gathered to that officer's alleged failure to open the gate. The officer did not face charges for neglect of duty, or any other criminal or disciplinary offence. Another survivor, Damian Kavanagh, then 20, had described police refusing to open the gate at the front of pen 4 despite people screaming and shouting. He saw the gate opened briefly and two or three people get out, then: "They were pushed back in by the police and the gate was shut again."

    When the gate was finally opened, Kavanagh managed to scramble to it over people's heads. When he reached the gate, he had said a police officer: "Grabbed hold of me by my shirt and said: 'You ******* ****,' and tried to push me back in."

    Kavanagh managed to push past the officer and get onto the pitch, where he helped carry bodies on advertising hoardings across the Hillsborough pitch. On 3 November 1989, Kavanagh was visited at work by Beechey. He made a second statement, largely repeating his first, except it did not include the observation of people getting out then being pushed back into the pen. Beechey returned a week later, with a video showing the officer who had sworn and grabbed Kavanagh. Making a third statement, Kavanagh said in it: "I do not wish to make a specific complaint against this officer." The statements note Kavanagh "withdraws complaint".

    Kavanagh recalls he did not feel pressured to withdraw the complaint. However, he says he was not even made aware that West Midlands police had moved on to a criminal investigation He does not recall Beechey explaining the significance of making a formal complaint.

    "I didn't understand why he had come back for me to tell him everything a second time," Kavanagh said.

    "Now I feel very uneasy, I feel they were happy they had ticked me off, and there wasn't going to be a complaint against that officer."

    On 19 February 1990, Beechey met the Conservative MP Irvine Patnick at the House of Commons. Patnick was spreading stories of supporters' drunkenness and misbehaviour. He had been given by White's news agency, the source of the false allegations infamously published by The Sun, extracts of sworn statements by stewards, police officers and an ambulance officer. These included allegations against fans – although they also included observations of supporters attending to the injured and dead. Patnick wrote to Beechey, sending these statements, on 21 February 1990. He also enclosed a report by Michael Shersby MP, who was assisting South Yorkshire police's campaign against the supporters and the Taylor report findings.

    Patnick wrote to Beechey: "I do think that the South Yorkshire police's evidence was not fully taken into account at the [Taylor] inquiry and … I do so –hope something can be done to rectify this."

    It is not known if Patnick's briefing against the Liverpool supporters informed Beechey or the West Midlands investigation for the DPP. There is no record of Patnick being challenged about how White's had copies of sworn statements. Now, nearly 23 years later, the IPCC is investigating whether West Midlands police officers themselves "inappropriately" provided the statements to White's.

    Of Beechey's role, Dear says it still fell within his definition of "non-operational duties" and "non-jobs".

    "The main purpose of non-operational duties was to keep officers away from day-to-day detective work in the West Midlands, where they would have the 'fluidity' to potentially interfere with the investigation into themselves," Dear said.

    However, Dr Tim Kaye, who as a Birmingham University law professor conducted an independent investigation into the serious crime squad's activities, concluding in May 1991 that they were "alarming," rejected that outright: "'Non-operational duties' should not include carrying out interviews, because fabricating confessions was an endemic problem within the squad," Kaye said.

    "West Midlands police said Beechey was on 'non-operational duties', 'studying technical aspects of Hillsborough'. Since we now know that Beechey was interviewing witnesses, these statements sound like weasel words."

    While there is no evidence that Beechey did anything improper on the Hillsborough investigation, the HFSG and the HJC are calling for a thorough investigation into his activities and why he was given so prominent a role. Dear told The Guardian he agreed that the IPCC should fully investigate.

    On 30 August 1990, the DPP concluded "there is no evidence to justify any criminal proceedings" against South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield City Council and "insufficient evidence to justify proceedings against any officer of the South Yorkshire police or any other person for any offence".

    The PCA considered 17 complaints from members of the public, brought to them by West Midlands police. They dismissed 15, then decided Duckenfield and Murray should be charged with neglect of duty. Duckenfield retired on medical grounds on 10 November 1991, then the PCA decided not to proceed against Murray alone.

    Dear asserts that the West Midlands investigations were "scrupulous" and he will be cleared of any fault by the IPCC.

    However, the Liverpool Labour MP Maria Eagle says she has always found it highly significant that South Yorkshire police appointed the West Midlands police to investigate Hillsborough, and were given all the documents when the investigation concluded.

    "South Yorkshire police were seeking to exonerate themselves for their own failings and blame supporters for the disaster," Eagle said: "My overriding impression is that West Midlands police were working not as independent investigators, but on behalf of South Yorkshire police."

    West Midlands police declined to comment, or explain its description of Beechey's role, while the IPCC investigation continues.
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    Sandra Laville, crime correspondent

    The Guardian, Tuesday 1 January 2013 20.05 GMT

    Hillsborough inquiry is a huge challenge, says IPCC chair

    Task of collating documentation could take months, admits Dame Anne Owers, amid calls for commission to be scrapped

    The criminal inquiry into the cover-up over the Hillsborough stadium disaster is the greatest challenge ever faced by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, its chairwoman has said.

    Dame Anne Owers made it clear that the IPCC's task was bigger and more testing than any of its other controversial inquiries, including those into the fatal shootings by police of Jean Charles de Menezes after the 2005 London bombings and of Mark Duggan before the 2011 riots.

    She revealed the scale of the investigation in an interview with the Guardian in which she also accused police involved in Duggan's shooting of delaying the IPCC inquiry by refusing to be interviewed in person. Instead, the officers had to be questioned through multiple exchanges of letters over more than six months. "It was like putting a message in a bottle and sending it down the Thames," she said.

    The Hillsborough investigation comes at a time when the IPCC faces criticism from groups including families of victims of police brutality, politicians and lawyers, and after the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, called for it to be replaced by a new body with tougher powers.

    Owers said the task ahead, while huge, would also provide the IPCC with a chance to display its strengths in the face of such criticism. It has been given new powers to compel police and others to testify as witnesses.

    "Clearly it is a test and a challenge," she said. "But it is also an opportunity for us to show what we can do if we are properly resourced to do a big job. The scale of it is very big but I think the way we are working with a team that includes investigators, lawyers and family liaison teams is critical and will be a model for the future, provided that we get the resources we need."

    Owers said she was in discussions with the Home Office over extra funding to cover the investigation. She is also demanding more resources for the watchdog's present and future work as it struggles to cope with a 20% – £5m – cut in its budget over four years, a reduction she said was putting considerable pressure on frontline staff.

    She revealed the IPCC is embarking on a huge recruitment drive to employ 100 investigators. Forty will be recruited from next month in the first tranche – both former police officers and others from non-police backgrounds – as the Hillsborough investigation gets under way.

    A major incident room has been set up in the IPCC office in Sale, Greater Manchester, as a temporary base for the inquiry team while the organisation secures an office block in Warrington which will be the team's permanent home. The building will be equipped with special security systems to secure the evidence before the IPCC takes possession of all the documents and begins interviewing. In the months ahead the team will:

    • Try to retrieve more than 450,000 documents from the authorities that own them.

    • Input them into the Holmes major incident system.

    • Prepare to interview up to 2,400 police officers who were on duty on the day.

    Owers admitted retrieving and inputting the documentation could take months. But she said the investigation would not be put on hold while this was done. Investigators would pursue possible lines of inquiry from the documents and could potentially start interviewing police officers.

    The IPCC inquiry will work alongside a criminal inquiry into the disaster by the former chief constable of Durham, Jon Stoddart. The Hillsborough Independent Panel's report in September exposed the scale of the cover-up by South Yorkshire police and other authorities in the aftermath of the disaster in 1989, which left 96 people dead. The panel found that officers altered 116 of their 164 statements to remove or amend comments that were unfavourable to South Yorkshire police as they tried to blame the victims – the Liverpool fans – for the disaster.

    Stoddart's inquiry will focus specifically on any criminal culpability for the deaths at the FA cup semi-final in Sheffield, while the IPCC is focusing on the cover-up and what has been described in parliament as a black propaganda campaign by the police.

    Owers – who was appointed by the home secretary, Theresa May, as part-time chair last April – has increased her commitment to four days a week to take charge of the Hillsborough inquiry.

    She admitted that the challenge to the IPCC came at a time when questions about its competence had been raised by a number of different people. The family of Sean Rigg, a 40-year-old who died at Brixton police station in south London in 2008, have attacked the IPCC for its "inadequate and obstructive" investigation into his death after an inquest jury found officers had used unsuitable force on him during an unnecessarily long restraint. Owers has since asked for an independent review of the IPCC's work on the case.

    "Yes there are cases where people haven't been satisfied with our investigations," Owers said. "We have got to be concerned about the cases that families feel have gone wrong, we have got to respond to that.

    "We are doing a review of the way that we deal with cases of death in custody. We are going out and talking to families about their experiences and about what they think could have been done differently. We are talking to lawyers who have made criticisms and to external groups like Inquest. We are looking at to what extent it is about the powers and resources we have got and to what extent it is about the fact that we need to look at things differently in some cases."

    Owers defended the time it has taken the IPCC to conclude its inquiry into the shooting of Duggan, which sparked the riots in summer 2011. She vowed that the full report would be published and in part blamed police obstructiveness for the delay. "The investigation is nearly finished," she said.

    "It is a very complex case. One of the problems for us was that the officers would not come in to be interviewed. We asked them to do so in December of last year and it was July before we got the final response from them to our questions. We had to write the questions to them and they wrote back their answers. That prompted more questions so we had to write to them again and they wrote back through solicitors.

    "It was like putting a message in a bottle and sending it down the Thames."
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    IPCC recruit 30 additional investigators to work on Hillsborough inquiry

    by Gemma Jaleel, Liverpool Echo
    Jan 3 2013

    Read more: Liverpool Echo
    UP to 100 people – including 30 investigators – are being recruited as part of the inquiry into police conduct over Hillsborough.

    The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will investigate up to 2,400 officers linked with the tragedy in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

    A new office in Warrington is being equipped for the 100 staff who will eventually work on the inquiry, which could take several months.

    It will look at whether there was a criminal cover-up of police failings.

    The inquiry is currently working from a temporary base in Sale, Greater Manchester, while secure IT systems are installed in the Warrington office so staff can assess more than 450,000 documents relating to the disaster.

    IPCC deputy chair Deborah Glass, who is leading the investigation, said: “I have met the Hillsborough Family Support Group and the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, and written to all the other families who asked to be updated to advise them of the progress of our investigation and share the terms of reference.

    “We have now secured a suitable office in Warrington, which is large enough to support both the IPCC’s ongoing investigation and the future investigation into the deaths, and store all of the documentation which is relevant to both inquiries.

    “At present we have a list of 1,444 names provided by South Yorkshire police covering officers who were apparently on duty at Hillsborough, who responded to the disaster or who were involved in the aftermath.

    “In addition we are aware that 30 more police forces or police related bodies had officers or staff who played some kind of role in relation to Hillsborough – that covers more than 400 officers.

    “We are aware there may be more officers whose details we have not had yet, particularly from West Midlands police so we estimate we will have in excess of 2,000 names to analyse.”

    The IPCC announced it would investigate after the Independent Hillsborough Panel’s report revealed 164 police statements were altered – 116 of them to remove or change negative comments about the policing of the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Sheffield Wednesday stadium.

    The panel disclosed potential crimes committed before, during and after the disaster, the IPCC said.

    A spokesperson added: “We were already looking to recruit 40 investigators. Following the Hillsborough referral, we are now recruiting a further 30.

    “As the investigation expands, we expect to recruit between 80 and 100 additional staff for various roles including administration.”

    Read more: Liverpool Echo
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    Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams hoping fresh could happen as early as March

    Liam Murphy
    Jan 14 2013

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    LONG-STANDING Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams believes fresh inquests into the deaths of the 96 fans could begin as early as March.

    She updated her Facebook page to suggest the hearings could start within two months.

    The 60-year-old had been campaigning for the inquest into her 15-year old son Kevin to be fast-tracked, after she was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer and feared she might not live long enough to see justice done.

    It led to enormous support for an e-petition calling for the inquest into Kevin’s death to be brought forward.

    It collected more than 105,000 signatures but Attorney General Dominic Grieve ruled a single application would be made for the inquests into the 96.

    Yesterday, Anne wrote: “Good Afternoon my Red Family, had meeting with lawyers yesterday hopefully the inquest will start in March, no venue yet.”

    It was just last month that the momentous decision for new inquests was made by Lord Chief Justice, Lord Igor Judge, who also said he wanted them held as soon as possible. His judgement followed the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

    Since then, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has started investigating up to 2,400 officers linked with the tragedy, with a new office in Warrington being equipped for the 100 staff who will work on the inquiry, which could take several months.

    But the Attorney General has also warned that any fresh inquest hearing may have to await the outcome of any prosecutions.

    If inquest hearings do take place in March, it is possible they will simply be opened and then adjourned, pending the conclusion of criminal investigations.

    Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said she had not been made aware of any new date for the inquests.

    Read more: Liverpool Echo
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    MARGARET Thatcher’s former chief press secretary Sir Bernard Ingham today refused to apologise for blaming Liverpool FC fans for the Hillsborough disaster.

    Sir Bernard refused to say whether he still blamed fans and said: “What have I to apologise for?”

    He spoke after a letter written by Sir Bernard to Liverpool fan Graham Skinner in 1996 was this week handed to the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG).

    In it he said Liverpool should “shut up about Hillsborough”.

    The Echo Says: Bernard Ingham still so hopelessly wrong over Hillsborough

    Challenged by the ECHO, he admitted he had not taken the time to read the Hillsborough Independent Panel report but claimed he had formed his own view of it from media reports, pointedly refusing to say what that was.

    The panel cleared Liverpool fans of any blame for the 1989 disaster that claimed 96 lives. It also revealed a huge police cover-up.

    When contacted at his home in Surrey, Sir Bernard said he believed political games were being played.

    In his hurtful letter, after a Jimmy McGovern documentary was screened, he said: “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.”

    He refused to apologise for this view, which was completely rejected by the panel, and said: “That seems reasonable to me, I most certainly do (think that) if there is any respect for the 96 who died.

    “I think people should be concerned about those who died.”

    *Archive of coverage on the Hillsborough disaster and fight for justice - click here

    HFSG chair Margaret Aspinall said an apology from Sir Bernard would make no difference.

    “Just like the woman, he is not for turning. We know the truth and deep down he knows the truth, he just can’t face it.

    “We have proved that he’s wrong.”

    Mr Skinner, 62, of Helsby, whose friend Eric Hughes died in the disaster, said: “His letter is an appalling diatribe.

    “I am not surprised that he hasn’t changed his view. I think he’s a bully, and not a very nice person.”

    Sir Bernard had previously revealed South Yorkshire police officers told Lady Thatcher and him the day after the Sheffield disaster that “a tanked-up mob” of fans outside the football ground were to blame.

    It is a line he continued to peddle in his 1996 letter – but was categorically proven not to be the case by the independent panel.

    In an ill-tempered conversation the ECHO was unable to put this claim to Sir Bernard, but he refused to answer for it when confronted by one of our reporters last year.

    We were also unable to put other claims contained in his 1996 letter, but he made clear he was unrepentant for his past actions.

    “I am not playing games over this,” Sir Bernard said

    “I hope that I make this absolutely clear. I believe a political game is being played over this, and I am not [taking part].

    “I am getting fed up about the way people are mucking about on this.

    “It really is appalling, we had 96 people killed and the concern is not about them, it’s about the people who were not in the ground.

    “A lot of this does not distinguish between the people who died and the people who were outside.”

    He said he did not know the full circumstances of the disaster, but added: “I do know what I was told and I have seen film. I was told there was a large crowd.

    “Did they have tickets? Why did they turn up late? I am just asking questions. I ask questions and nobody answers me because they don’t want to.”

    A key part of the police cover-up was to attempt to pin the blame on ticketless fans.

    Police placed significant emphasis on ticketless fans, alcohol and crowd behaviour, something which the panel’s investigation concluded was categorically wrong.

    Sir Bernard did not see anything wrong in linking Hillsborough and Heysel – the 1985 Belgian disaster in which 39 Juventus fans died before a European Cup Final after a charge by some Liverpool supporters.

    When challenged that the causes of the two disaster were very different he said: “I don’t know what caused either disaster.”

    Sir Bernard ended the conversation after making clear his irritation at being probed on his letter and views on the Hillsborough disaster.

    Sir Bernard Ingham 1996 letter: Liverpool should “shut up” about Hillsborough

    Letter from Sir Bernard Ingham to Graham Skinner in December 30, 1996

    Thank you for your letter of December 11. I believe that there would have been no Hillsborough disaster if tanked-up yobs had not turned up in very large numbers to try to force their way into the ground.

    I visited Hillsborough the day after the disaster and I know what I learned then. I have never denied that the police may have made mistakes, but I firmly believe that the Lord Chief Justice whitewashed the real culprits and I said so from the moment I read his report.

    I have not seen the McGovern film. But I am long enough in the tooth to know that TV films should never be accepted as evidence. But let us suppose there is something in the film – for example, the “evidence” that the pens were already full when the gates were opened. What, then were all those people doing trying to get into the ground? I have never, of course, said where they came from because I do not know.

    I have no intention of apologising for my views which are sincerely held on the basis of what I heard first hand at Hillsborough. 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.

    To go on about it serves only to confirm in many people’s minds that Liverpool has a very bad conscience about soccer disasters. I think it a disgrace to the public service that South Yorkshire policemen have won the right to compensation. But it will do Liverpool no good whatsoever in the eyes of the nation if, egged on by ambulance-chasing lawyers, those who saw their relatives killed at Hillsborough now sue for compensation for the “trauma”. Is the pain of losing a relative to be soothed away by a fat cheque?

    Take my advice, Mr Skinner: least said, soonest mended for Liverpool.

    Read more: Liverpool Echo

    Well thank goodness we didn't shut up.....
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    Some people never learn – Bernard Ingham still so hopelessly wrong over Hillsborough

    Liverpool Echo
    Jan 16 2013

    THERE’S no fool like an old fool – and Sir Bernard Ingham, former chief Press secretary to Margaret Thatcher, has certainly shown himself to be one.

    The 80-year-old has, for some reason, decided to ignore all the evidence to the contrary and maintain his misguided, discredited and offensive views on the Hillsborough disaster.

    He’s read about the conclusions of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, but says he knows what he was told at the time.

    If Margaret Thatcher relied on this blinkered individual for sound advice it’s perhaps little wonder many of our communities suffered so badly during her tenure.

    There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion – but when it has clearly been shown to be a warped view, based on lies and misinformation, then it’s hardly clever to rigidly hold onto it at all costs.

    Ingham may have lost all his credibility among Merseysiders many years ago, but he may have earned just a little respect if he had offered his sincere – if beyond-belated – apologies following the publication of the Hillsborough panel’s report.

    By ridiculously and repeatedly insisting that the lies are, in fact, the truth, he has ridden roughshod over the feelings of grieving families.

    He has displayed a lack of basic understanding of the basic facts, a lack of intelligence – and a lack of emotional intelligence.

    It may be a vain hope, but he should – at long, long last – admit his monumental mistakes and apologise to all those he has offended. But it seems unlikely to say the least.

    History has proved him to be an old fool – and, without any sign of an apology on the way, it will prove him a stubborn old fool.

    Read more: Liverpool Echo
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    Some better news.

    Congrats to Margaret Aspinall who won the Mum of the Year award.

    Richly deserved.
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    Independent Police Complaints Commission’s Deborah Glass talks about the Hillsborough investigation

    Exclusive by David Bartlett, Liverpool Echo
    Jan 21 2013

    EIGHT senior, decision-making police officers are the initial focus of the huge Hillsborough cover-up investigation.

    In an exclusive ECHO interview deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) Deborah Glass said the key figures from South Yorkshire and West Midlands police forces were being targeted first.

    She revealed the IPCC is being contacted on an almost daily basis by people wanting to give witness statements. And she said home secretary Theresa May has not placed a limit on how much money is spent.

    But Ms Glass refused to pledge officers would end up in the dock as a result of the probe – the biggest in the IPCC’s history.

    She said: “What I can’t promise, and won’t promise and nobody should believe me if I did promise, would be that we are going to deliver prosecutions or sackings or anything specific. Because that would just be wrong and it would be misleading. It wouldn’t be possible to promise something like that. What I promised at the time and would repeat is that we would do everything in our power to investigate as thoroughly and robustly as it deserves. And it deserves the most thorough investigation and that is what we will do.”

    Ms Glass said the IPCC and Jon Stoddart, the former Durham chief constable leading the probe into the deaths of 96 Liverpool FC fans at Hillsborough, were putting in place the foundations for inquiries that would withstand the strongest of scrutiny.

    She added: “Clearly for lots of people justice means people being in the dock. But actually it means more than them being in the dock, it means them being in prison. I really get that and actually we are all aware of it.

    “That’s why we are doing everything we can to ensure the foundations are in place, that the investigation will withstand scrutiny. So that if that is where the evidence takes us that that’s where we will get.”

    *Transcript of interview with Deborah Glass deputy chair of the IPCC who is leading the Hillsborough investigation

    Mrs Glass said both she and Mr Stoddart were hoping to give Hillsborough families a broad timescale for the investigation next month.

    “We have got to be really aware of what a complex and difficult job this is. Investigating something this complicated, that happened that long ago, is always going to pose massive, massive challenges. As I have said before, people die, memories fade.”

    The IPCC launched its investigation after the full scale of the police cover-up in the wake of the 1989 Sheffield semi-final disaster was revealed in September by the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

    The IPCC is broadly looking at the aftermath of the disaster – but will also examine the role of South Yorkshire police leading up to the tragedy. It will probe the role of up to 2,444 police officers involved in the disaster and its aftermath. The independent panel revealed the statements of 164 police officers were amended to shift blame away from police onto fans.

    Ms Glass said of those officers 34 are still serving with South Yorkshire Police, five retired but were re-employed in a support role, seven have died and the remaining 118 have retired.

    Five of the eight key figures are from South Yorkshire and the other three from West Midlands which was tasked with investigating the handling of the disaster.

    Ms Glass said: What we are focusing on are the senior officers there. Who gave the instructions on how those statements should be taken?” “From West Midlands there are three key decision-makers identified. We know who they are. We know they are still alive and retired. What we will do is start with a small number of key individuals and work our way from there.

    "With things like amendments to statements junior officers may say ‘I was told to do that’. They may not have committed an offence. We need to establish from the senior decision makers what went on here.”

    Earlier this month the IPCC and Mr Stoddart were handed the keys to the former North West Development Agency building, Rennaissance House, in Warrington, where both investigations teams will have their base. The IPCC is in the process of recruiting 70 investigators – 30 will specifically work on Hillsborough or fill roles vacated by current IPCC investigators moved to the Hillsborough probe.

    The inquiry is currently working from a temporary base in Sale, Greater Manchester, while secure IT systems are installed in the Warrington office. The IPCC may eventually recruit 100 staff for the investigation and Mr Stoddart could have a similar number working for him.

    Some 30 people from both teams will specifically work on documents uncovered by the panel. Every single one of the 26,000 documents must be read and categorised on the HOLMES (Home Office Large Major Enquiry System). In the early stages of the investigation there were fears the independent panel had not taken possession of all documents. But Mrs Glass said it now appeared those missing were duplicates.

    Keeping Hillsborough families informed at every step of the investigation is something Ms Glass has committed to – and this includes the creation of a “challenge panel” to keep a watching eye over progress.

    She said she was full of admiration for the families, whom she has met on a monthly basis since the investigation started – most recently last Wednesday – alongside Mr Stoddart and director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer.

    She said: “I am full of admiration – the tenacity they have displayed, the dignity they show is humbling. I know that can be a trite word but it’s powerful. Let me give you an example. At one of the meetings one of the survivors gave us an account he had written immediately afterwards. He said I would like you to take this away so you can understand.

    "I emailed him and said ‘thank you that was very powerful. I would like to circulate to our staff’. And he said fine. I did that. Our staff have found it very powerful and impactive. We are doing this because it is incredibly important. This is not just another investigation for the IPCC. And we would not be doing this if we were not absolutely determined to get it right.”

    Ms Glass, an Australian, said Hillsborough first came onto her radar when the panel published its report.

    “I was not living in the United Kingdom when this happened. I didn’t grow up with the Hillsborough disaster as part of my psyche as so many people have. This is not something I think anybody expected us to take on or wanted us to take on. But we took it on because it matters. Obviously it matters crucially to the families. The grief and the loss that I hear in their voices now when they speak is incredibly impactive.

    “It matters to the people of Liverpool incredibly powerfully.

    “One of the MPs was saying to me last week an entire generation of young people in Merseyside grew up not trusting the police because of Hillsborough. But it matters to public confidence generally. It matters to this country.”

    Read more: Liverpool Echo

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    DEBORAH GLASS admitted the process of setting up the Hillsborough investigation may appear bureaucratic – but insisted it was just thorough.

    The Hillsborough Independent Panel disclosed 450,000 pages of material which is available on its website.

    The deputy chair of the IPCC said, contrary to popular opinion, it cannot just use the website for its investigation.

    She told the ECHO: “If we could just work with what is on the website we would. The reason we can’t is because the HOLMES (Home Office Large Major Enquiry System) system is not just about storing documents and making them available. Every document needs to be read for its relevance to the inquiry, with what potential offences is it relevant to? Manslaughter, to perverting the course of justice, to misconduct in public office?

    “Documents generate actions. You can’t just take a scan of 26,000 documents and leave it at that. Staff need to read every single document to determine its relevance to the inquiry and to see whether actions are generated as a result of that. Actions might be, trace this witness.

    “There are specialist HOLMES readers and indexers. That’s what they do. Their life is spent in major incident rooms.”

    The documents must also be available to defence teams in any future prosecution.

    Ms Glass added: “The obligation that prosecutors have, when they bring a case, is also to make available all the material that might potentially undermine the prosecution case.”

    She said the famous police corruption case following the murder of Lynette White in Wales in the 1980s collapsed because of missing documents.

    “It collapsed on disclosure grounds.

    “We are all painfully aware of those things and we don’t want anything like that to happen here.”

    Deborah Glass: Why I have to earn Hillsborough families’ trust

    A SPECIAL challenge panel will be privy to the inner-most workings of the IPCC’s Hillsborough investigation.

    The terms of reference are still under discussion but IPCC deputy chair Deborah Glass said there will no area off limits.

    She said: “The principle behind that is to have a small panel of people with unimpeachable reputation in whom the families have confidence to challenge us.

    “Part of the way this has to work they have to sign a confidentiality statement. There should be no document they are unable to review if they want to.

    “Privy to our inner- most workings but set up in such a way that it does not compromise our independence.”

    The panel’s remit will be to keep a watchful eye over the investigation and its progress.

    Ms Glass added: “One thing I am very conscious of is the lack of trust, in us and the system as a whole. The entire criminal justice system has been brought into disrepute by Hillsborough.

    “I have said to the families I don’t expect you to trust us, to trust me. Why should they? If I had had the experience of official inquiries delivering the results they did, why would I trust anyone?

    “So I know I have got to earn their trust. I know as an organisation we have got to earn their trust.

    “And, similarly, with the DPP. They didn’t bring a prosecution last time. They didn’t take over the private prosecution from the families. Judges don’t exactly get off scot free either.

    “It is about trust in the system.”

    Read more: Liverpool Echo

    Excellent piece and would seem at long last the investigation is going to be done how it should have been in the first place....
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    Fight for Hillsborough justice will not lose momentum says Labour MP Andy Burnham

    By Neil Jones
    Jan 25 2013

    THE fight for justice for the families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster can not and will not lose momentum, according to Labour MP Andy Burnham.

    The Shadow Secretary of State for Health was speaking ahead of a talk to students at Liverpool University last night.

    He said the fall-out from the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report into the 1989 tragedy has ensured that the Prime Minister is taking a “personal interest” in the case.

    Mr Burnham has been one of the leading voices in the battle for truth and justice and was instrumental in the setting-up of the Panel.

    Earlier this week, Deborah Glass, deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s (IPCC) investigation into the disaster, told the ECHO that she could not promise that their investigation will lead to prosecutions or sackings of officers implicated by the Panel’s findings.

    Liverpool-born Mr Burnham, the Labour MP for Leigh, said he “completely understands” this stance, but said it was vital that the momentum built up since the Panel’s shocking findings were released in September was maintained.

    He said: “It is absolutely essential.

    “I met Deborah Glass and Jon Stoddard (the former Durham chief constable leading the probe into the deaths of the 96 Liverpool supporters at the Sheffield ground) recently and I have to say I was encouraged by what I heard from them.

    “We will, of course, be keeping a close eye on everything that happens.

    “We understand that it will take time to arrange the new inquests, but we are very eager to maintain the momentum, most definitely.”

    Mr Burnham added: “The Panel’s findings were the breaking of the dam.

    “We all knew the scale of the injustice that the families had suffered, and so in some respects what the Panel’s findings revealed was not surprising, but it has still been an incredible turnaround over the last few months.”

    He said he had liaised with David Cameron on Hillsborough and believes the Prime Minister is giving the fight for justice his full backing.

    He said: “I have spoken with the Prime Minister and I am satisfied that he understands and is taking a personal interest in this. We are grateful to him for that.

    “Cross-party support is, of course, important to the Panel, but this has never been about party politics. No political party, my own included, did enough with regards to Hillsborough. Belatedly, we are trying to put that right.”

    He added: “One of the biggest things to come from this has been that the scale of the tragedy, and of the families’ suffering, has reached across the whole country, the whole world.

    “This was never just Liverpool’s tragedy. It was a national scandal and the reverberations go far wider and deeper than people realised.

    “People who perhaps wondered why Liverpool people never let go of their fight now understand. Hopefully, the fight will continue to gather momentum in the coming weeks and months.”

    Read more: Liverpool Echo
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    Hillsborough mum Anne Williams nominated for prestigious Woman of the Year award

    Dan Kay
    Jan 28 2013

    HILLSBOROUGH mum Anne Williams has been nominated for a prestigious national award celebrating inspirational women.

    Mrs Williams, a shining light in the 23-year battle for justice after losing 15-year-old son Kevin in 1989, is among the ‘Women of Achievement’ at the Women of the Year event to be held in Park Lane, London later this year.

    The awards, which have been running since 1955, salute women who have displayed courage, dedication and achievement with previous winners including Doreen Lawrence, Annie Lennox, Ellen McArthur and Dame Vera Lynn.

    Anne said, “I’m a bit overwhelmed really. I received a letter from Baroness Helen Kennedy congratulating me for what she called my ceaseless campaigning over Hillsborough and I had to read it through a couple of times to take it all in.

    “I’ve always had Kevin in some form of legal avenue for the last 23 years and always felt his case could open the floodgates for the others.

    “2012 was such an important year for me after all those knockbacks so, after getting the news about the inquests just before Christmas, it’s pleasing to get the new year off to a good start with this nomination. I feel very honoured.”

    As she waits for the new inquest into her son’s death that she has campaigned for over two decades to see, Anne, 61 and battling terminal cancer, is currently in the process of writing new chapters for her book, which details her long quest for the truth and is set to republished later this year.

    “I’ve got quite good quality of the life at the moment. Some days I feel wonderful, other days not so great but thankfully I’ve got wonderful family and friends who are so supportive to me.

    “I am enjoying updating my book, When You Walk Through The Storm, which was published all the way back in 1999 and, getting back to writing in recent months, it makes my blood boil that all the evidence was there for so long, only to be ignored by the system.

    “I was lucky in a way to uncover the evidence I did and to find all the people who tended to Kevin on that dreadful day.

    “The Accidental Death verdict has been quashed but the families, survivors and everyone involved in Hillsborough still need to see justice.

    “We don’t want any more cover ups. I hope all government bodies involved in the investigation do their job properly and leave no stone unturned.”

    Read more: Liverpool Echo
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    Hey NAC! Hope you're well.

    If Anne doesn't win ths award it's a travesty!

    It shows the type of woman she is when she says 'she's lucky to uncover the evidence she did and to find all the people who tended to Kevin' luck has nothing to do with it! it was the tenacity and love of a mother who had her son taken away from her, who wasn't prepared to allow an establishment that should have protected her and her son get away with it.

    It's been said before but she's an inspiration, and if there is a god then she will still be here to see Kevin and the 95 the justice they deserve!

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    Quote Originally Posted by THEFLYINGPIG View Post
    Hey NAC! Hope you're well.

    If Anne doesn't win ths award it's a travesty!

    It shows the type of woman she is when she says 'she's lucky to uncover the evidence she did and to find all the people who tended to Kevin' luck has nothing to do with it! it was the tenacity and love of a mother who had her son taken away from her, who wasn't prepared to allow an establishment that should have protected her and her son get away with it.

    It's been said before but she's an inspiration, and if there is a god then she will still be here to see Kevin and the 95 the justice they deserve!


    Morning TFP........all good here and hope the same with you.....

    Am seeing Anne tommorow and will pass on your best wishes....
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    One of Spain's most prestigious sporting awards ceremonies will pay tribute to Liverpool supporters and their ongoing fight for Hillsborough justice on Monday night.

    The Mundo Deportivo Awards have dedicated their honour for 'best supporters' to Reds fans, in recognition of their campaign to reveal the truth about what happened at the tragedy in April 1989.

    Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, who has fought relentlessly for justice for 24 years, will travel to Barcelona to collect the award on behalf of Liverpool supporters.

    "I think it's great that the fans are being recognised for the support they have shown for the families and the campaign for justice for all these years," Margaret told

    "It's a lovely gesture and I'm honoured to collect the award on behalf of all our fans around the world.

    "We saw with Mansfield's gesture to the 96 in January how people around the country are starting to realise what we have known for so long. This honour shows that people around the world are beginning to understand as well."

    The award ceremony, organised by esteemed Spanish newspaper Deportivo Mundo, is now in its 65th year.

    The showpiece of each annual ceremony is the presentation made to the winners of best Spanish sportsman and sportswoman of the year.

    However, there are 16 further awards handed out during the course of the night and one of them is for the best supporters from around the world in any sport.

    The honour comes after a momentous year for Hillsborough campaigners. In September 2012, the Hillsborough Independent Panel released its report and laid bare the truths surrounding the disaster which claimed 96 lives.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NACNUD View Post
    Morning TFP........all good here and hope the same with you.....

    Am seeing Anne tommorow and will pass on your best wishes....
    All good here NAC, cheers mate!
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    Scottish GP stopped Hillsborough 96 being Hillsborough 97
    23 Sep 2012 10:50

    GLYN PHILLIPS shrugged off his own injuries to bring Gary Currie back from the brink of death.

    Hillsborough victim Gary Curry says he wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the brave Scots medical man

    A LIVERPOOL fan told yesterday how he would have been the 97th victim of the Hillsborough disaster…if it had not been for a quick-thinking Scots GP.

    Gary Currie – just 18 at the time – was saved by Glyn Phillips after he was dragged out of the fatal crush in the Leppings Lane end and on to the pitch.

    He was not breathing and had no pulse but Glyn, despite being injured himself, battled for 15 minutes to revive him.

    Dr Glyn Phillips ignored his own injuries to help crush victims

    Yesterday, Gary, 42, admitted: “Glyn saved my life. I will praise him for what he did forever.

    “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. I could have easily been victim No.97.”

    It is not known how Gary managed to make it out of the infamous “pens” and on to the pitch where Glyn, now 57, began emergency first aid.

    He was nearly given up for dead but eventually was revived and rushed to hospital where he lay in a coma for nine days. He had suffered brain injuries and internal bleeding.

    Glyn, from East Kilbride, later asked police to reunite him with the man he saved – and visited him weeks later.

    He has since returned for Gary’s 21st and 40th birthday parties.

    Gary’s mum Alice, 80, said: “I love Glyn to bits. I think the world of the man.

    “When he came round to visit the first time, I gave him a big hug. He went upstairs to see Gary and got the shock of his life to see him sitting up in bed. He said he never thought he would see that.

    “We keep in touch with him and his family. Our whole family will always be grateful to him.”
    Dr Glyn Phillips and the Currie family

    Last week, Glyn called for police to face criminal charges following the publication of a report into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy in 1989.

    The Hillsborough Independent Panel report revealed 164 police statements were altered – 116 to remove or alter “unfavourable” comments about policing.

    Glyn told the Sunday Mail: “What we should be expecting at the very least is some charges for perverting the course of justice by members of the police.”

    Lifelong Liverpool fan Gary recalled how he travelled to Sheffield with three pals and wanted to be at the front of the Leppings Lane end stand so he might be seen on TV.

    He said: “We got into the ground at about 1.30pm and went to the same place we did the year before – right at the front.

    “There was hardly anyone else about at that time but things gradually started to get busier and, about 10 minutes before kick-off, it started getting really tight.

    “My right arm ended up around my neck as if I was strangling myself. I couldn’t move.

    “I passed out and the next thing I knew I was waking up nine days later in hospital.”

    But although he is glad to be alive, he is wracked with guilt.

    He said: “I don’t think I am lucky really. I am glad I am here but sometimes I don’t want to be. I do get down. It has been a hard 23 years.

    “There now needs to be fresh inquests for the 96.”

    Even though this is a story from last year it shows yet again if the emergency services and police had done what they were supposed to do then certainly many more lives could have been saved....

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    Hillsborough families welcome appointment of high court judge to oversee inquests

    By David Bartlett
    Feb 13 2013

    HILLSBOROUGH families today welcomed the appointment of a high court judge to oversee the historic inquests into those who died in the 1989 disaster.

    Lord Justice Goldring was today revealed as the man who will oversee the historic new inquests, made possible by the quashing of the “accidental death” verdicts last year.

    Lord Justice Goldring will decide in due course where the inquests will be held, and he plans to open the inquests as soon as possible.

    He is one of the most experienced judges in the land after being the Senior Presiding Judge of England and Wales from January 2010 until December 2012.

    Jenni Hicks, deputy chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: “I don’t know anything about Lord Justice Goldring, but I am pleased that a high court judge has been appointed.

    “For these inquests we need a really top category person, someone of stature, because of the huge inquest for 96 people.”

    Sheila Coleman, of Hillsborough Justice Campaign, added: “He has certainly got a track record of experience and let’s hope he uses it to great effect with the inquests.”

    He was formally appointed an Assistant Deputy Coroner for the purpose of conducting the inquests into the deaths of the 96 people in the Hillsborough disaster.

    He has been appointed by the South Yorkshire (East) Coroner to conduct the inquests into the 95 deaths at Hillsborough and by the West Yorkshire (West) Coroner to conduct the inquest into the death of Tony Bland who died of injuries he sustained at Hillsborough.

    The Judicial Office said the judge will not be giving any media interviews regarding his appointment or in relation to the inquests.

    He was called to the Bar in 1969 and became a QC in 1987.

    He was appointed a High Court Judge in December 1999. Between 2002 and 2005 he was Presiding Judge of the Midland Circuit.

    He was appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal and Deputy Senior Presiding Judge in October 2008 and Senior Presiding Judge on 1 January 2010.

    Between 2002 and 2005 he was Presiding Judge of the Midland Circuit.

    He was appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal and Deputy Senior Presiding Judge in October 2008 and Senior Presiding Judge on 1 January 2010.

    Last year he hit the headlines after issuing guidance on blogging to members of judiciary. He said they should not identify themselves as members of the judiciary and also avoid expressing controversial opinions.

    He also backed down from guidance issued to magistrates that they should resign immediately if they wanted to run in last November’s Police and Crime Commission elections.

    Read more: Liverpool Echo

    Now the Judge is in place let's hope the new inquests follow very soon.....
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    The new Hillsborough inquests: listen to the families

    Liverpool Echo
    Feb 12 2013

    HILLSBOROUGH campaigners won a major battle to get the original – long-since-discredited – inquest verdicts quashed.

    And now they can welcome the news that a change to the Coroners’ Act will mean there is no longer a need for inquests to be held in the place where the death or deaths being investigated took place.

    Many families have already spoken of their fears that they would have to return to Sheffield for the new inquests – something which would, inevitably, cause much additional, and needless, anguish.

    But the way is now clear for the new inquests to be held at a location which is more suitable for the families – and a decision which puts them first.

    Where this location should be, we believe, is a matter which needs to be discussed with the families themselves.

    It is not necessarily the case that Liverpool would be the preferred choice for the majority – not least because many family members live outside the city.

    But the main thing is that the new legislation will allow for greater flexibility – and offers the potential for detailed consultation with each and every family affected.

    Some outsiders might say that the new inquests should not be held in Liverpool because the jury would be biased – but in view of the evidence that was recently put before the nation we would suggest the verdict would be the same in any city in the land!

    The bottom line is that the powers-that-be have repeatedly let the Hillsborough families down – and the very least they can now do regarding the new inquests is to ensure that the arrangements for them suit those who lost their loved ones.

    Read more: Liverpool Echo


    Changes to law to make Hillsborough inquests in South Yorkshire less likely

    by Marc Waddington, Liverpool Echo
    Feb 12 2013

    A KEY change in the law will today boost hopes of not having to hold fresh Hillsborough inquests in South Yorkshire.

    Government justice ministers have changed the Coroners’ Act so that there will no longer be a restriction on where their inquests can be heard.

    Hillsborough campaigners said they were delighted at the news and that it improved the likelihood that the inquiries into the deaths of their loved ones would not have to take place close to Sheffield, the scene of the disaster.

    They said many families and witnesses would not be able to cope with the trauma of having to return to the city. Some of them have never been back to the city since the tragic events of April 15, 1989, in which 96 Liverpool FC fans perished.

    The change to the law means that families will now be able to make representations to the courts about where the inquests should be held.

    However, some campaigners do not support the idea of holding them in Liverpool, but prefer somewhere else within the North West.

    Justice minister Helen Grant said: “The anguish of losing a loved one in circumstances that require an inquest is unimaginably heartbreaking for any family.

    “We want to ensure inquests can happen without unnecessary delays so families can find closure.

    “That is why I am granting coroners the power to move inquests – at their discretion – to the most suitable location.

    “This will bring about greater flexibility, more timely hearings and some relief to families.”

    The move comes within months of a decision by the High Court, on the request of Attorney General Dominic Grieve, to overturn the original verdicts.

    Sheila Coleman, of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said she expected a coroner to preside over the inquests to be named imminently, if not today.

    But Mrs Coleman added that her group would prefer the inquests not to be held in Liverpool, but somewhere such as Chester or Manchester which would be easily accessible for the families.

    She added: “We are confident that when all the facts emerge, a reasonable jury will deliver the correct verdicts.

    “We don’t want anything to take away from that through anyone being able to infer bias.”

    Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said the announcement was welcome, adding: “I always thought they would never allow them to be held in Sheffield. The families would have been against it.

    “Even though I had to go back for the original inquests, I never wanted to have to.

    “This is another milestone reached.”

    Walton MP Steve Rotheram said: “The main thing is that at last there can be inquests free from geographical constraints.

    “It’s now for everyone to start looking at where they should take place.”

    Read more: Liverpool Echo
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    Hillsborough families welcome IPCC changes to root out police corruption and improve transparency

    By David Bartlett
    Feb 12 2013

    HILLSBOROUGH families today welcomed the announcement the police watchdog is being further strengthened to investigate corrupt officers.

    Home Secretary Theresa May (pictured) said the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) would be expanded to deal with all serious complaints against the police.

    Police will also be subject to more stringent regulations, which are intended to improve transparency and root out corruption.

    Disciplinary hearings against officers who resign or retire will be pursued until their conclusion – with anyone found guilty of misconduct added to a new national “struck off list”.

    Last year the IPCC was given extra powers to force officers to attend interviews and to investigate matters already scrutinised by its predecessor organisation, to help in its huge probe into the Hillsborough cover-up.

    Sheila Coleman, of Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said: “People should take note that the announcement made by Theresa May in respect of corrupt police and new rules to make them more accountable is as a direct result of ordinary decent people fighting for the truth.

    “It shows that you can make a difference through persistence. We would expect the IPCC to use the increased powers and resources to facilitate justice and accountability.”

    Yesterday it was revealed that ministers had changed the Coroners’ Act so that the new Hillsborough inquests can be held outside Yorkshire.

    Today the Home Secretary told parliament the College of Policing will publish national registers of chief officers’ pay packages, gifts and hospitality, second jobs, and their contact with the media.

    The college will also publish a new code of ethics to be distributed to officers of all ranks.

    Ms May said: “This country has the finest police officers in the world and the vast majority conduct themselves with the highest standards of integrity.

    “But it is vital to ensure public confidence is not damaged when individual cases of corruption happen.

    “This package of reforms will see all serious allegations investigated independently, a new code of ethics introduced, tougher rules around misconduct hearings, increased vetting of officers and more transparency around police business.

    “They will mean the public can have full faith in the police and will strengthen the link between officers and the people they serve.”

    Last year, the IPCC led investigations into only 130 of the 2,100 cases referred to it, with the remainder returned to individual police forces to investigate.

    But over the same period, nearly a third of all internally-investigated complaints against the police were found to have been mishandled at appeal.

    The Home Secretary said she would draw on the resources currently devoted to the internal professional standards departments of individual police forces to provide the increased capacity for the IPCC.

    IPCC chair Dame Anne Owers said: “I welcome the Home Secretary’s proposal to strengthen our ability to provide independent oversight of police complaints and in particular to investigate more serious and sensitive allegations within the police service.

    “We will be discussing these proposals with the government as they are developed. The IPCC plays a vital role in securing public confidence in the police complaints system and the integrity of the police service.”

    Read more: Liverpool Echo

    Quite alot going on in the last couple of days.....hopefully Justice is finally on it's way.
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