Now for justice for the 96, say Hillsborough campaigners

HILLSBOROUGH campaigners last night demanded the punishment of those involved in covering up details of the disaster and a new inquest into the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters following the publication of an independent report into the 1989 stadium crush.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel found that South Yorkshire Police amended 164 statements to reflect better on them and instead apportion blame to Liverpool supporters, and that 41 of the victims might have survived had the emergency response been swifter.

Prime Minister David Cameron offered an apology to the families of the deceased, whom he said had suffered the “double injustice” of “the failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth” as well as efforts to smear the dead.

Cameron added that Attorney General Dominic Grieve would review the panel’s report and decide whether to order a new inquest into the incident, which took place at an FA Cup semi-final held at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium.

“We have had the truth, now it’s time for justice,” said Sheila Coleman, spokesperson for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.

“Law-makers and those who are supposed to uphold the law shouldn’t be above the law. How can you have faith in a police force which ordered its younger officers to alter their statements? The Attorney General has to quash the inquest verdicts and investigate what criminal procedures should be brought.”

The panel, chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones, spent 18 months examining 450,000 pages of documents. It followed petitioning from families of the victims insistent that supporters had not been to blame, contrary to the findings of the original inquiry led by Lord Chief Justice Taylor.

Cameron said it was “right” for him “to make a proper apology” to the families “for all they’ve suffered”.

Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police David Compton “profoundly” apologised to families of the victims and Liverpool supporters

Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, criticised for his newspaper’s coverage of the disaster, also expressed his contrition.