Hillsborough: The real truth
Cops smeared Liverpool fans to deflect blame, new probe says 41 lives could have been saved, The Sun says: We are profoundly sorry for false reports and families of 96 victims call for prosecutions
13 September 2012
THE real truth behind the Hillsborough disaster was finally revealed yesterday — 23 years after the tragedy claimed 96 innocent lives. An independent report showed police tried to cover up catastrophic failings by disgracefully smearing Liverpool football fans, pinning the blame on them and falsifying reports.
It also disclosed FORTY-ONE victims of the 1989 FA Cup semi-final horror could have been saved if emergency services had acted faster.
The Sun last night said the paper was “deeply ashamed and profoundly sorry” for our notorious front page headline The Truth — published in the aftermath of the tragedy above a story reporting the police’s version of events. Furious families of the dead called for criminal charges to be brought against cops involved in the “depraved” deception. The devastating report into the Hillsborough tragedy savaged the police for a shocking catalogue of lies, blunders and smears.
The astonishing conclusions sparked a wave of shame and regret — but families of the 96 victims immediately demanded a CRIMINAL inquiry.The independent report — one of the most damning ever seen in Britain — said senior police officers led a deliberate campaign to blame dead fans for the tragedy.Cops’ notes were doctored to suggest supporters were drunk, had arrived without tickets and forced their way into the ground. Blood samples were taken from all the victims — some as young as TEN — to try to prove they’d been drinking excessively. And police even did criminal record checks on the dead in a bid to smear them after the crush.
But the Hillsborough Independent Panel, led by the Bishop of Liverpool James Jones, completely EXONERATED Liverpool fans killed in Britain’s biggest football disaster.Tragically, it concluded that as many as 41 of those who died could have been saved if emergency services had not been guilty of a string of tragic mistakes.It also released 400,000 documents which exposed how 164 police statements were ALTERED — 116 to remove criticism of the operation.
Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday made a “profound” apology over the tragedy at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest held at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground.He ruled out any Government cover-up or conspiracy, but told MPs: “With the weight of the new evidence in this report, it is right for me today as Prime Minister to make a proper apology to the families of the 96 for all they have suffered over the past 23 years.
“On behalf of the Government — and indeed our country — I am profoundly sorry for this double injustice that has been left uncorrected for so long.”
He added: “Anyone who has lost a child knows the pain never leaves you. But to read a report years after that says ‘a swifter, more appropriate, better focused and properly equipped response had the potential to save more lives’, can only add to the pain.”
The Attorney General Dominic Grieve said he would consider if there was enough evidence to apply to have the original inquest verdicts of accidental death quashed. South Yorkshire Police also expressed profound regret at the “disgraceful lies” told by senior officers at the time.
Current Chief Constable David Crompton said: “On that day South Yorkshire Police failed the victims and families. The police lost control. In the immediate aftermath senior officers sought to change the record of events. Disgraceful lies were told which blamed the Liverpool fans for the disaster.
“These actions have caused untold pain and distress for over 23 years. I am profoundly sorry for the way the force failed and I apologise to the families of the 96 and Liverpool fans. I’m ashamed. It’s been a dreadful day for the force.”
The Sun again publicly apologised for the front page headline “The Truth” — written by former editor Kelvin MacKenzie — on a story in which police officers accused drunk Liverpool fans of urinating on and stealing from the dead.
Current editor Dominic Mohan said: “Twenty-three years ago The Sun newspaper made a terrible mistake. We published an inaccurate and offensive story about the events at Hillsborough.
"We said it was the truth — it wasn’t. The Hillsborough Independent Panel has now established what really happened that day. It’s an appalling story and at the heart of it are the police’s attempts to smear Liverpool fans.
"It’s a version of events that 23 years ago The Sun went along with and for that we’re deeply ashamed and profoundly sorry. We’ve co-operated fully with the Hillsborough Independent Panel.”