CPS studying Hillsborough tapes

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The Independent Online
The Crown Prosecution Service yesterday confirmed it was studying video footage of the Hillsborough tragedy which shows the disaster unfolding on surveillance cameras.

South Yorkshire Police has previously said that film of the 1989 accident, in which 96 fans on the Leppings Lane terraces died, was of too poor quality to be made available to the Taylor inquiry into the disaster and to the inquest into the deaths.

The CPS said it was paying urgent attention to the tape, sent by the Hillsborough Family Support Group, saying that "the nature and volume of the material has generated further consideration." It has promised the families a swift response to their calls for the case to be re-opened.

Philip Hammond, spokesman for the families, said the support group will launch a private prosecution against police officers involved if the CPS does not take action.

Mr Hammond, whose son, Philip, died at Hillsborough, claims the police have covered up the existence of the video. It was recently discovered in the archives of Yorkshire Television.

South Yorkshire Police told both the Taylor inquiry and the 1991 inquest into the deaths that the video camera which shot the footage was faulty and the pictures were of "very poor quality". But Mr Hammond said yesterday: "You can see the images, and they are very good."

South Yorkshire Police has always said the pictures were of such poor quality that its officers were forced to rely on their view from the police control room and from officers near the terrace for crowd control. Mr Hammond said: "What the police have done is unbelievable. It is just one big cover-up. We want to see them prosecuted. "

None of the officers present at the match was available for comment yesterday. However South Yorkshire police insisted that the tape included "no new evidence", and a spokeswoman said they did not dispute the existence of good-quality footage of the disaster. She said live television coverage turned the video recordings into poor images on the monitors in the police control room.