Hillsborough Inquest Legacy
Photographs by Patrick Trollope.
THE true nature of what has happened at
the Hillsborough disaster has only come to light thanks to the brave
determination of many of the families of the victims, survivors and other
campaigners who stuck by them.
Ever since the afternoon of 15 April 1989, a dark cloud has been hovering over
the deaths of the men, women and children, all of whom had set off on what was a
sunny day to see Liverpool FC play in the FA Cup semi-final clash against
Nottingham Forest. Sadly, this game ended with 96 fans being crushed to death
against metal barriers and fences. That is when the lies appear to have started
and a cover-up like no other in the history of the United Kingdom. Not only did
the day's events leave fans dead and families bereaved, but the blame was passed
on to those fans. It was then to take the determination of the families of those
affected 27 years to reveal the real 'truth.'
Eventually the years of work by families of those who died, together with help
of survivors and campaigners, lead to new evidence being brought to light. This
work was later backed by the hard and painful work of a panel, led by the Bishop
of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones. The findings by the 'Panel'
in December 2012 lead to the High Court quashing the accidental death
verdicts that had been given in the original inquests and ordering new hearings.
The new inquests started on 31 March 2014, and were originally expected to last
for 6 to 9 months, but as the evidence grew and grew this was not going to
happen. This was to become the biggest ever inquest in the country's history and
it took 2 years, nearly 300 days of evidence, from almost 1,000 witnesses. Then,
on 25 January 2016, at Birchwood Park, Warrington, Lord Justice Goldring told
the jury they would have to answer questions in 14 sections about how the deaths
were caused, including a possible verdict of unlawful killing based on whether
was responsible for manslaughter, by gross negligence...
Everything then would rest on the 14 questions, and on just 6 women and 3 men.
On 26 April 2016 the findings were announced. The jury found that the 96
Liverpool fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed. The
inquest's jury concluded this by a 7 to 2 majority. The jury then ruled that fan
behaviour did not cause or contribute to the tragedy. More shockingly, they
concluded that both the Police and the Ambulance Service caused or contributed
to the loss of lives in the disaster by error or omission after the crush in the
west terrace had begun to develop. Now the history books will have to be
The implications of the verdicts are yet to be realised, but will be far
reaching. As possible criminal prosecutions now loom, a new fight will be
started. This time, the new inquest has not only changed the way we read the
history, but also the image of Liverpool. As the lessons are slowly learned from
this, questions now move onto just how to stop something like this ever
happening again. As in the words of those at commemoration event that was held
on Wednesday, 27 April 2016, on Liverpool's St George's Hall Plateau:-
"All they wanted was the truth." The findings will in time affect
everything, from the way journalists get information and report, through to the
way the emergency services operate and even how the legal system works. The
words:- 'Never Forgotten' will forever be associated with the 96 and the
survivors, along with their families. This outcome, the families hope, will
become a lasting legacy for those who died: a new system that it's hoped will
stop things like this ever happening again.
On Wednesday, 27 April 2016, it was amazing to see huge crowds gathering on St
George's Plateau and Lime Street for a special event, led by Mayor of Liverpool,
Joe Anderson who was joined by family members of the 96. It was a mixture of
tributes, music, speeches and moments of reflection looking back at the last 27
years. These are some of the many photographs we took at the event.
The event had 96 lanterns placed outside on the steps, along with a banner with
the names those who lost their lives on the 15 April 1989 and the words
'Truth' and 'Justice', displayed above Flowers and
scarves, were also left on the lower steps as a tribute.
It was not the only thing that took place, as flags were flown at half-mast on
all civic buildings, and the bells at Liverpool Town Hall and Municipal Building
rang 96 times. Also iconic buildings across the city were bathed in red light in
a show of solidarity for the 96 and their families and, on M62, digital screens
had the words:- 'Never Forgotten' as a visual tribute to the 96. The
commemoration was concluded with the Sense of Sound choir performing:- 'You'll
Never Walk Alone'. This commemoration was very emotive in so many ways. The
atmosphere was that of relief, sadness and also joy, all mixed into one. It was
a feeling that cannot readily be conveyed to those not attending.
Mayor Anderson said:- "The commemorative event at St George's Hall was our
opportunity for the City to come together with the families and campaigners and
show the world the overwhelming spirit of comradeship and solidarity that exists
in this City towards them. So many people have been touched by their struggle
over nearly 3 decades. They are an example to everyone who seeks out truth and
justice. This is our way of saying 'thank you' to them and to remember the lives
of their loved ones."
Across the water in the Town Halls in Wallasey and Birkenhead, Hillsborough
Commemorative Books have been opened for local residents to record their
comments for the Hillsborough families.
After the conclusion of the inquests, which upheld that the 96 had been
unlawfully killed and that supporter behaviour played no part in the tragic
events, Wirral Council leader Phil Davies paid tribute to the determination of
the families. Cllr Davies said:- "On this most significant of days in
their fight to discover the truth of what happened to their loved ones, our
thoughts as ever are with the families of the victims of the Hillsborough
disaster. The determination and dignity they have shown during their long 27
year campaign is an inspiration for everyone who believes in justice. The books
will give Wirral residents the opportunity to pay their own tribute to those who
tragically lost their lives and to those who steadfastly fought to protect their
If you want to sign them, they are situated in the foyers of both buildings and
will be accessible from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, until 13 May 2016. After
that time, they will be given to Liverpool City Council for them to present them
to groups representing the families.
Please let us know your thoughts and views on this topic to:-
News24@southportReporter.com or post you comment here, on our
Editorial comment:- "Here at Southport and Mersey Reporter we wish that
all involved find a swift closure to the fight ahead and we wish them good luck.
It's been a long road, but you have achieved the impossible! We must, as a City,
indeed the whole of Merseyside, continue to support them and their efforts..."
Remember you can
photos photographs from us. Help us keep this site online.
Don't brake our copyright.
Page 1 of 4