Families' long, cruel wait to hear the truth - Argus Friday 29th April 2016

Posted Wednesday 4th May 2016   By Ericka Waller

The Hillsborough disaster caused the deaths of 96 people and injured 766 others at a football match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989. Days later, The Sun’s front page read ‘The Truth, Some fans picked pockets of victims. Some fans urinated on the brave cops. Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life.’ After 27 years, the real truth has emerged, proving The Sun guilty of colluding with police to "smear a whole city in its moment of greatest grief.” And yet today, The Sun was the only national that didn’t run the Hillsborough inquest on their front page. It’s now been proven that evidence proving the ineptitude and fault of the South Yorkshire Police was tampered with. CCTV camera evidence was destroyed and millions of pounds of tax-payers money was spent spinning lies to protect the police. The families of the victims have been to hell and back to reach the final verdict.

Upon arriving in Sheffield on the day of disaster were informed their dead children were being treated as suspects in a criminal investigation, meaning they couldn’t hold or kiss them because they were “the property of the coroner”.

Immediately after identifying bodies, parents were asked how much the victim had drunk.

Blood tests to gauge alcohol levels were taking from the dead and dying, including a ten-year-old boy, to give weight to lies fabricated by the police that the disaster was due to ‘drunken yobs’.

Ironically the cover-up about ‘drunken football hooligans’ being the cause of the disaster was concocted over drinks in police social club, The Niagara. Police photographers were then dispatched to take shots of litter outside the Liverpool fans side of the stadium as ‘evidence’.

Would people attending Wimbledon, be subjected to the same scrutiny if a disaster were to occur on the centre court? Would they be blamed?

At the heart of the deceit was Chief supt Duckenfield, a well-known ‘disciplinarian’, appointed just 19 days before the semi-final. Duckenfield had never commanded a match at Hillsborough before, nor been on duty there for 10 years. He didn’t study relevant paperwork, or the incident procedure, and signed off the operational plan for the day, before visiting the ground.

When control of the turnstiles was lost, he ordered a side exit gate to be opened. After being invited by police, 2,000 fans went in through gate C into an already full pen. Thirty of the 96 who died were crushed to death in there barely 10 minutes later.

Duckenfield colluded with the press to put out a story that fans without tickets had forced the gate down.  It has taken 27 years for him to admit he ordered the gate open.

He also admitted his focus before the match had been on dealing with misbehaviour, and he’d not considered the need to protect people from overcrowding or crushing.

Finally, Duckenfield admitted that ‘his serious failures directly caused the deaths of 96 people’. There is a chance he will never be prosecuted, due to early retirement.

Despite the smear campaign against them, families of the victims have never faltered in their pursuit to clear the names of their loved ones.

They remained dignified despite a letter from Thatcher’s Press Secretary which read ‘Most reasonable people outside of Merseyside recognise the truth of what I say… All I get from Merseyside is abuse. I wonder why. You are at least right in believing that you will have to put up with my discomforting views... After all, who if not the tanked up yobs who turned up late determined to get into the ground, caused the disaster?’

Karen Hankin, wife of victim Eric said “The conspiracy and lies which began on the 15th April 1989 and continued over the years involving police, politicians, and officials of high standing has been the most evil act of man's inhumanity to man.”

As Guardian Columnist, Suzanne Moore succinctly said “The Hillsborough verdict shatters the fantasy that class war doesn’t exist”.

MP Andy Burnham is calling for a review of the judicial system, in light of how long inquests and justice takes to prevail after disasters. Families of the Shoreham victims are still waiting all this time after the event, for answers they need, and deserve.

And finally, am I the only one who to has to offer the recycling men a strip-tease to get them to take away my recycling? Brighton is supposedly green and eco-friendly, yet the council find any excuse not to take rubbish.

For three weeks they’ve found pathetic reasons to not empty my containers. And why don’t we recycle food? Every other county seems to. Maybe the council get bonuses based on how empty their vans are at the end of each round? I’ll try offering them sausages next week; my shimmy obviously isn’t doing the trick.