David Crompton, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, whose force's failings at the Hillsborough disaster led to the deaths of almost 100 football fans, has apologised for "inappropriate and insensitive" remarks in which he accused the families of victims of lying about the disaster.
The apology came after a Freedom of Information request revealed how he had emailed Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt and head of media Mark Thompson just days before the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report was released last September. "One thing is certain – the Hillsborough Campaign for Justice will be doing their version... in fact their version of certain events has become the truth even though it isn't!!" Mr Crompton wrote.
He also described the South Yorkshire force as becoming "roadkill" for the media if it were not more innovative in its response to the panel's report.
Mr Crompton said yesterday that the internal email "was never intended to cause any offence and I apologise if it has done so".
Shaun Wright, police and crime commissioner for South Yorkshire, said he was "disappointed" by the language used and had raised his concerns with Mr Crompton: "One of those emails in particular uses language that could be construed as inappropriate and insensitive, especially for the families of those killed."
The Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall, whose son James was 18 when he died at the stadium, condemned Mr Crompton's actions. "I'm absolutely appalled, but it doesn't surprise me. They've always talked about us this way."