Murdoch offered Liverpool sports centre if families accepted apology


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The Independent Online

News International offered to build a sports centre in Liverpool if families of those killed in the Hillsborough football stadium in 1989 gave public support to an apology by The Sun over their notorious coverage of the disaster.

Details of The Sun's alleged offer were given to the Leveson Inquiry in written evidence by Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group. She claimed a Sun executive visited victims' families in Liverpool "five or six years ago" and made the conditional offer. In 2004, The Sun admitted it had made a severe error when it claimed that Liverpool fans contributed to deaths in the stadium and prevented police from saving lives in the crush. The anger in Liverpool led to a boycott of the newspaper.

Ms Aspinall told the inquiry: "The harm our families suffered all those years ago was caused by the same problem which is the focus of your inquiry: that is unaccountable collusion between the press and the police working against the public interest, and in our case, natural justice."

News International declined to comment on the allegations.