Now for the justice: Hillsborough families seek new inquests


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The Independent Online

The families of the 96 Liverpool fans killed at Hillsborough announced yesterday that they will be seeking new inquests into the deaths.

The Hillsborough Family Support Group also decided at a meeting at Anfield yesterday to seek criminal prosecutions of those involved in the cover up by police, who tried to shift blame for the 1989 tragedy to the victims. It was the group's first meeting since an independent panel published its report which exposed the cover up.

In a statement read by the group's president, Trevor Hicks, and chairwoman, Margaret Aspinall, who lost her son, James, 18, the group condemned "the despicable conspiracy by those in authority to tarnish the reputations of the dead". They added that they intended to petition the Government, the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

"The report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel clearly shows the previous inquest proceeded on a false factual basis. Its conclusions can therefore no longer stand," they said. "We urge the Attorney General to apply for a new inquest as soon as possible. We feel strongly that the new inquest should be held in Liverpool. We demand a full and immediate investigation into criminal prosecutions that may be brought against all those responsible."

The families will also apply for civil proceedings to be re-opened where they may have "been dismissed or settled on a false factual basis".

Mr Hicks, from Keighley, West Yorkshire, who lost daughters Vicky, 15, and Sarah, 19, added: "This goes beyond Hillsborough. What was exposed on Wednesday was a disgrace to the nation, not just the families..."

The families have always condemned the original inquest, which concluded that all the victims were dead or beyond help by 3.15pm. Last week, the independent panel concluded that 41 of the 96 who died could have been saved.

It examined 400,000 documents and found that 164 police statements were altered, 116 of them to remove or change "unfavourable" comments about the policing of the match and the unfolding disaster.