The Fight For Justice

On 15th April 1989, thousands upon thousands of Liverpool fans made the trip to Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, South Yorkshire to watch their beloved Reds take on Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup Semi-Final. The game was stopped at 3.06pm as it became known that the distress behind Bruce Grobbelaar's goal at the Leppings Lane End was not crowd hooliganism as first thought, but it was in fact fans being crushed - a crush that resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters.

Every Liverpool fan old enough has a story of that nightmare day, whether it be because they were at the game, knew people who went and returned or knew or were related to one of the victims. A truly sad day, not only for Liverpool Football Club, but also for the whole of football. Immediately after the Hillsborough disaster, the Home Office set up an inquiry under Lord Justice Taylor. Much has been said and written about the Taylor Report:

You can read more about it here

To this day The Fight For Justice still continues, but hopefully, there is at last light at the end of a very dark tunnel for the families and all Liverpool fans all over the world. Steve Rotheram, MP for Liverpool Walton, gave on the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster a speech in which he said, "I'm one of the fortunate ones, as I swapped my Leppings Lane ticket for a stand seat 15 minutes before kick-off" and, "If I can go from being a brickie in Kirkby to the Lord Mayor, who knows what these 96 people may have achieved in their lives."

A couple of years later, in October 2011, Rotheram opened a debate in the House of Commons calling for all papers related to the Hillsborough Disaster to be made public, and for prime minister David Cameron to issue an apology for events leading up to and following the disaster.

In August 2011, a petition was created for the full government disclosure and publication of all documents, discussions and reports relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. The requirement for this e-petition to succeed was that 100,000 people needed to sign the e-petition. So far, in excess of 155,000 signatures have been presented. 

Also, an e-petition was set up a new inquest into the death of Kevin Williams who died in the Hillsborough disaster. The petition is now closed after amassing in excess of 115,000 signatures.

Many lies have been written about Hillsborough, none more so than by a British national tabloid newspaper called The Sun. The lies, or more spectacularly referred to by The Sun as THE TRUTH, in their front page exclusive in 1989 has, not unsurprisingly, caused outrage with the the families and many more besides. The campaign "Don't Buy The Sun" continues to fight for Justice For The 96.

See our link to Don't Buy The Sun 

As a tribute to the 96, we respectfully list the names below, followed by a clip of the Hillsborough Anthem from 2009.

They will be forever in our thoughts. JFT96

John Alfred Anderson (62)

Colin Mark Ashcroft (19)

James Gary Aspinall (18)

Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16)

Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67)

Simon Bell (17)

Barry Sidney Bennett (26)

David John Benson (22)

David William Birtle (22)

Tony Bland (22)

Paul David Brady (21)

Andrew Mark Brookes (26)

Carl Brown (18)

David Steven Brown (25)

Henry Thomas Burke (47)

Peter Andrew Burkett (24)

Paul William Carlile (19)

Raymond Thomas Chapman (50)

Gary Christopher Church (19)

Joseph Clark (29)

Paul Clark (18)

Gary Collins (22)

Stephen Paul Copoc (20)

Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23)

James Philip Delaney (19)

Christopher Barry Devonside (18)

Christopher Edwards (29)

Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34)

Thomas Steven Fox (21)

Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10)

Barry Glover (27)

Ian Thomas Glover (20)

Derrick George Godwin (24)

Roy Harry Hamilton (34)

Philip Hammond (14)

Eric Hankin (33)

Gary Harrison (27)

Stephen Francis Harrison (31)

Peter Andrew Harrison (15)

David Hawley (39)

James Robert Hennessy (29)

Paul Anthony Hewitson (26)

Carl Darren Hewitt (17)

Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16)

Sarah Louise Hicks (19)

Victoria Jane Hicks (15)

Gordon Rodney Horn (20)

Arthur Horrocks (41)

Thomas Howard (39)

Thomas Anthony Howard (14)

Eric George Hughes (42)

Alan Johnston (29)

Christine Anne Jones (27)

Gary Philip Jones (18)

Richard Jones (25)

Nicholas Peter Joynes (27)

Anthony Peter Kelly (29)

Michael David Kelly (38)

Carl David Lewis (18)

David William Mather (19)

Brian Christopher Mathews (38)

Francis Joseph McAllister (27)

John McBrien (18)

Marion Hazel McCabe (21)

Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21)

Peter McDonnell (21)

Alan McGlone (28)

Keith McGrath (17)

Paul Brian Murray (14)

Lee Nicol (14)

Stephen Francis O'Neill (17)

Jonathon Owens (18)

William Roy Pemberton (23)

Carl William Rimmer (21)

David George Rimmer (38)

Graham John Roberts (24)

Steven Joseph Robinson (17)

Henry Charles Rogers (17)

Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23)

Inger Shah (38)

Paula Ann Smith (26)

Adam Edward Spearritt (14)

Philip John Steele (15)

David Leonard Thomas (23)

Patrik John Thompson (35)

Peter Reuben Thompson (30)

Stuart Paul William Thompson (17)

Peter Francis Tootle (21)

Christopher James Traynor (26)

Martin Kevin Traynor (16)

Kevin Tyrrell (15)

Colin Wafer (19)

Ian David Whelan (19)

Martin Kenneth Wild (29)

Kevin Daniel Williams (15)

Graham John Wright (17)

 

Rest in Peace

 

The fight for Justice For The 96 seems to be ever closer. The date of 12th September 2012 will forever be etched in the memories for not only all at "Fields Of Anfield Road" but Liverpool fans throughout the world. The long awaited truth was finally revealed when the true information and files were made available in the public domain.

All Liverpool fans throughout the world knew the truth but to many, the full extent of the 23 year cover-up has been quite staggering. It would appear that the cover-up has been orchestrated from the highest level for all of those 23 years. Well now, the Fight For Justice continues and those that have been responsible for the cover-up will now hopefully and rightly face up to what they have done and be sufficiently and correctly dealt with. Many of those responsible have since come out and made public apologies - for instance the editor of The Sun at the time, Kelvin MacKenzie being one who now, all of a sudden and like many others have declared their sorrow at their actions but at the same time, have still managed to try and distance themselves from the enormity of their actions. MacKenzie says he was acting on the information given to him by leading South Yorkshire officials and has, quite remarkably requested an apology from South Yorkshire Police.

Strange because at the time of his "The Truth" sensational headline he didn't shy away from the limelight and pass on any of the credit for his "scoop" to anyone else. Hopefully this odious individual will get all that is coming to him very soon. There are many more who were responsible and they will also feel the full force of impending justice very, very soon.

Justice For The 96!! YNWA

 

As mentioned above, on 12 September 2012, the Hillsborough Independent Panel concluded that no Liverpool fans were responsible in any way for the disaster. It's main cause it also concluded was a "lack of police control". Crowd safety was "compromised at every level" and overcrowding issues had been recorded two years earlier. The panel also identified that lives could have been saved. The panel identified that "up to 41" of the 96 who died might have survived. The reactions and the co-ordination of the emergency services contributed to these deaths.

Quite disturbingly. the findings also concluded that 164 witness statements had been altered. A total of 116 of those statements were amended to remove or change negative comments about South Yorkshire Police. The cover up wasn't only confined to the press and the police force. Government MP's were also involved. The Conservative MP at the time for Sheffield Hallam, Irvine Patnick, passed inaccurate and untrue information from the police to the press.

Apologies

As a result of the findings, apologies were released by Prime Minister David Cameron on behalf of the Government. In addition, Ed Miliband also apologised on behalf of the opposition. Further apologies came from Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, South Yorkshire Police, and former editor of The Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie. The reviled MacKenzie apologised for making false accusations under the headline "The Truth" in his Sun newspaper.

After this publication, the Hillsborough Families Support Group (HFSG) called for new inquests for the victims.  In addition they also called for prosecutions for unlawful killing, corporate manslaughter and perversion of the course of justice. This was in respect of the actions of the Police for not only causing the disaster, but also for covering up their actions. Also actions were called for in respect of Sheffield Wednesday FC, Sheffield Council and the Football Association for their various responsibilities for providing, certifying and selecting the stadium for the fatal event.

Now finally out in the open, calls were also made for the resignation of police officers involved in the cover-up. Sheffield Wednesday, the police and the Football Association were called upon to admit their blame. Sir Dave Richards was requested to resign as chairman of the Premier League and to give up his knighthood. 

Shortly after, on 23 October 2012, Norman Bettison resigned with immediate effect as Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police.

Second Coroner's Hearing

Following an application on 19 December 2012 by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve, the High Court quashed the verdicts in the original inquests and ordered fresh inquests to be held.

The odious Kelvin MacKenzie however was still trying to wriggle free. He now claimed that although he was "duped" into publishing his story, that his "heart goes out" to the families of those affected, saying that "It's quite clear today the fans had nothing to do with it". Whatever happened to the "buck stops with me" mantra when ultimately those in the highest office accept respoinsibility. In MacKenzie's case however he did not accept any personal responsibility for the story.

Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation

Following the inquest verdict, South Yorkshire police announced it would refer the actions of its officers to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). In addition, West Yorkshire Police announced it would refer its Chief Constable, Norman Bettison, to the IPCC in mid September.

By 22 October 2012, the names of at least 1,444 serving and former police officers had been referred to the IPCC investigation. 

On 12 July 2013 it was reported that the IPCC had found that in addition to the now 164 police statements known to have been altered, a further 55 police officers had changed their statements. Deborah Glass, deputy chair of the IPCC said, "We know the people who have contacted us are the tip of the iceberg." That was after the IPCC's Hillsborough Contact team had received 230 pieces of correspondence since October 2012.[160]

As well as South Yorkshire Police, the IPCC is also investigating the actions of West Midlands Police. In 1989 it was they who had been tasked with investigating South Yorkshire Police's conduct for both the original inquest and also the Taylor independent inquiry.

In April 2016, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that it would consider bringing charges against both individuals and corporate bodies once the criminal investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission – Operation Resolve – had been completed.

Criminal and Civil Cases

Prosecutions

In February 2000, Private Prosecutions were brought against Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield and another officer, Bernard Murray. 

Police disciplinary charges were abandoned when Duckenfield retired on health grounds and, because he was unavailable, it was decided it would be unfair to proceed with disciplinary charges against Bernard Murray. Duckenfield took medical retirement on a full police pension.

On 18th December 2012 the Home Secretary at the time, Theresa May announced that a new police enquiry would be initiated to examine the possibility of charging agencies other than the police over the Hillsborough deaths. 

Most recently, on 28 June 2017, it was announced that six people were to be charged with offences in relation to the disaster. Former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, in charge of the match, faces 95 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence. He faces no charge in respect of the death of Tony Bland, who died four years after the disaster.

Former Chief Inspector Sir Norman Bettinson faces four counts of misconduct in public office. Former Sheffield Wednesday F.C. Club Secretary Graham Mackrell faces a charge of breaching the Safety at Sports Ground Act 1975. Solicitor Peter Metcalf, former Chief Superintendent Donald Denton and former Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster were all charged with perverting the course of justice.

On 9 August, all except Duckenfield appeared at Warrington Magistrates Court. Mackrell pleaded not guilty to the charge against him. No formal pleas were taken from the other four defendants. All five were bailed to appear at the Crown Court on 6 September. Duckenfield was not required to appear as the Crown Prosecution Service has to apply to the High Court to lift a court order before he can be prosecuted on the manslaughter charges.

Finally justice is getting increasingly closer. The families and all who have supported them deserve the highest praise for all their dogged detrmination and their efforts. It's not long now it seems that those really responsible for that dreadful, fateful day on 15th April 1989 will be brought to justice.

JUSTICE FOR THE 96 - JFT96

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