Campaigners welcome new Hillsborough inquest


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The Independent Football

Hillsborough campaigners welcomed the news of a new inquest into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans, saying: “Justice is on its way.”

On the same day a new police inquiry into the disaster was announced, the fight for the truth took a historic step forward when a panel of three High Court judges, headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, quashed the original accidental death verdicts - and ordered a fresh inquest.

Trevor Hicks, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, spoke of his delight at the High Court's decision, saying: "Justice is on its way. Everything we've said has been proven to be correct."

The unopposed, "exceptional" application to the court was made by the Government's top law officer, Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

It follows the publication in September of a damning report laying bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy onto its victims.

The Liverpool supporters died during a crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989, where their team faced Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.

Yesterday, the High Court judges ruled that it was "necessary, desirable and in the interests of justice" that a fresh inquest should be held.

Their decision came as a new police investigation into the disaster was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May.

Former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart will lead the new inquiry.

The Home Secretary said: "I am determined to see a swift and thorough response to the findings of the Hillsborough Panel to deliver justice for the 96 football fans who died and the families who have fought so hard on their behalf."

Following the High Court's decision, Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling said: "The victims' families and survivors of the Hillsborough tragedy have seen their cause take another important step forward today.

"I will now do everything I can to help to get new inquests established quickly.

"I have received a request from the Doncaster and Bradford coroners for a judge to be appointed to conduct these inquests and I am today asking the Lord Chief Justice to make a recommendation to me on suitable candidates as soon as possible."

The main plank of the Attorney General's application related to crucial new medical evidence.

Welcoming the decision, Mr Grieve said: "The interests of justice require the 96 inquests to be quashed and for new ones to be held."

He added: "The families' long and painful quest for the truth reached a breakthrough with the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report.

"I hope and trust that new inquests will provide a better understanding of how each of their loved ones died, and bring closer the justice for which they have fought so hard."