Hillsborough Wikipedia posts: Suspected civil servant a Merseyside resident


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The Independent Online

A London-born civil servant living in Merseyside may have inserted derogatory comments into a Wikipedia page about the Hillsborough disaster, it has been reported. 

A Government enquiry was launched into the changes in April, when it was revealed that a computer logged into the Government’s Secure Intranet (GSI) added comments including “Blame Liverpool fans” to the Wikipedia page documenting the tragedy in which 96 people were crushed to death in a crowd during the FA Cup semi-final match in 1989.

At the time of the revelations, the Cabinet Office called the comments sickening, but said identifying the culprit may be difficult as the changes were made in 2012.

However, it is believed that the Home Office has now interviewed a suspect, after it was handed evidence showing internet activity on the webpage uncovered in a joint investigation by The Telegraph and online watchdog Wikipediocracy.

The civil servant appeared to have also made changes to a celebrity’s biography, entries on footballers, and the description of his hometown in southern England, the newspaper reported on Wednesday.

He is believed to have retained his job, and denied that he made the edits.

Read more: Wikipedia edit scandal grows beyond Hillsborough

Leigh MP Andy Burnham, who is heading the investigation, said the Cabinet Office is pursuing “strong leads” on the author of the edits.

“I am satisfied that everything that should be done, is being done. There are strong leads that they are following,” he said.

“The investigation is at a fairly advanced stage. I thought there may be a simple technological solution and it has proved to be more difficult than that, but leads have emerged.

”They are no longer just sifting the haystack, there is now more focus to the investigation and it has narrowed,” he added.

However, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, Margaret Aspinall, told the newspaper said she was “frustrated” by what she considered to be the slow progress of the investigation, adding: “We weren’t told they could be from Liverpool - one of our own - that’s so much worse.

“They were big enough and manly enough to do it, and they should face the consequences. Of course, they should be named,” she said.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “The amendments made to the Hillsborough Wikipedia page are sickening. The behaviour is in complete contravention of the Civil Service Code.

“Our first priority is to establish the facts and to examine the issues raised. Once we have the facts, the Minister for the Cabinet Office will update Parliament with the findings and consider further appropriate action.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further whilst this investigation is ongoing.”