Editor hopes to make the `Sun' shine on Merseyside

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The Independent Online
The Sun newspaper said yesterday that it had approached the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy to try to end the long-running enmity towards the newspaper in Merseyside. Stuart Higgins, the paper's editor, confirmed that he had approached the chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, Trevor Hicks, to set up talks.

The Sun lost sales of around 200,000 copies a day after the paper was boycotted in protest at its coverage of the 1989 stadium disaster. Its sales are still believed to be down by more than 120,000 copies, eight years later.

Under a banner headline which read "The Truth", the Sun claimed that the crush that caused the 96 deaths at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough Stadium was caused by Liverpool fans who had been drinking before the match. The story also claimed that some Liverpool fans stole from the pockets of the dead and urinated on policemen trying to rescue them.

Mr Hicks said yesterday that the Sun might make a donation to the Hillsborough Justice Fund to make amends for the article.

"The Truth" was written while Kelvin Mackenzie, who later admitted the story was a mistake, was editor of the newspaper. Mr Mackenzie is now managing director of cable television channel L!ve TV, owned by Mirror Group, a shareholder in The Independent.