Families of the Hillsborough victims believe phones were tapped

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Families battling to discover the truth about Hillsborough believe their phones were tapped during the early years of their campaign to unmask the establishment cover-up of the tragedy, it emerged yesterday.

Sheila Coleman, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, told The Independent that she and six families of victims suspect their home phones were eavesdropped in the early 1990s as they took court action to demand the disclosure of documents about the crush.

Mrs Coleman admitted she had no proof that the bugging had taken place but said she was under the "firm impression" that it had. She suspected it had been carried out by the police or another "element of the state" determined to thwart their campaign.

In 1993, the campaign sought a judicial review of the coroner's verdict of accidental death on the 96 Liverpool fans who were crushed at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium.

Speaking to The Independent, Mrs Coleman said: "You would hear your own voice being played back to you; other people would tell me that the phone would pick up before I would hear it ringing. The families had issues with their phones being cut off. It was quite a problem at the time."