Hillsborough Wikipedia edits: Civil servant fired for making offensive changes

The Cabinet Minister Francis Maude confirmed the junior administrative officer has been dismissed

A junior civil servant has been fired for making offensive Wikipedia edits on a webpage about the Hillsborough disaster while at work, Francis Maude confirmed today.

The unnamed man, who lives in Merseyside, has been identified as the person behind posts made using the government intranet in 2012 and sacked for gross misconduct, the Cabinet Office minister said.

His sacking follows an investigation by the Daily Telegraph that found the 24-year-old edited the phrase “You’ll never walk alone”, the anthem of Liverpool FC, to read: “You’ll never walk again.”

The abusive edits began on the 20th anniversary of the 1989 tragedy in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

Mr Maude said in a ministerial statement to MPs that the "young, junior administrative officer" was subject to a formal disciplinary investigation and subsequently dismissed.

His statement reads: “The Government has treated this matter with the utmost seriousness. Our position from the very start has been that the amendments made to Wikipedia are sickening.

 “Extensive further inquiries were taken forward as a Civil Service disciplinary matter, involving potential breaches of the Civil Service Code and of individual departments’ policies on acceptable behaviour.

“An individual was then subject to a formal disciplinary investigation and dismissed for gross misconduct, on the grounds of responsibility for the 2012 edits.”

He said the investigation had come up against “substantial technical obstacles” such as deleted internet logs that made tracing specific historic edits “extremely difficult” and it was unable to identify the source of other edits, including the edit ‘Blame Liverpool Fans’.

“In the absence of other specific leads, and despite a great deal of forensic and other work, it has not been possible to identify the originators of the 2009 edit or any of the others in question.”

Wikipedia is an online encyclopaedia that is free to use and can be contributed to by anyone, anywhere. It has volunteer editors monitoring the site to try and ensure only factual information is displayed across its millions of pages.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there