Football’s worst tragedy, Liverpool fans vindicated
In 1989, the worst football tragedy occurred at Hillsborough soccer stadium in which 96 men, women and children died. After 29 years an inquest has delivered its verdicts on a series of key questions. It has been the longest case heard by a jury in British legal history. The jury’s findings included that the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed, jurors concluded by a 7-2 majority. The match commander Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield’s actions amounted to “gross negligence” due to breach of his duty of care to fans. The police planning errors caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed on the day of the disaster.
Pete Weatherby, a lawyer representing some of the bereaved families, told a Hillsborough Justice Campaign news conference: “The jury has vindicated the long, long journey of the families to obtain justice and make those responsible for the disaster accountable.”
Weatherby said there had been “concerted attempts to cover up” what happened and paid tribute to the “dignity and tenacity” of the families in their battle for justice. “The disaster was entirely avoidable and caused by catastrophic human failure,” he said, focusing on what he called “a catastrophic policing failure by South Yorkshire Police.”
Weatherby said the families had been forced to endure “lies by senior officers and vile abuse in parts of the media” in the years after the tragedy in what he said was “a culture of denial writ large.”