Hillsborough verdict a damning indictment of the British establishment | Letters

I was living in Sheffield in 1989, and bought a copy of the Sheffield Star’s special edition on the tragedy, published the following day, on Sunday 16 April, which I still have (After 27 years, justice, 27 April). Reading it again, in the context of the inquest verdicts, it is striking to note that the paper’s account of the disaster, written by local reporters in the hours following it, and based on eyewitness accounts, is virtually identical in its conclusions to that of the jury’s verdicts 27 years later. The front page explicitly states that “Liverpool fans were not to blame, but the victims.” It also describes the decision of Duckenfield (not named at that stage) to open the gate as “a moment of madness”, which “backfired in a catastrophe which brought about the biggest soccer tragedy in the history of the British game”. Harry Livermore, the lawyer who represented the Heysel stadium defendants, and who was at the game in a different stand, is quoted as saying that the tragedy “was entirely due to the inefficiency of Sheffield Wednesday FC for their lack of proper organisation, and the inefficiency of the Sheffield police. It may be hard luck that they are held responsible – but this again is a tragedy that should never have happened”.

It was crystal clear from the very outset what had happened and who was to blame. This makes the subsequent lies and cover-up, and the extent to which they were believed, even more damning. The perpetrators of those lies should be held to account just as surely as should those whose negligence and stupidity caused the disaster in the first place.
Isabella Stone
Matlock, Derbyshire

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