The fourteen jury verdicts today in the inquest into the 96 people who died at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989 bring to an end one stage of the tireless campaign by the Hillsborough bereaved families to establish the truth about who was responsible for the terrible disaster on that day, twenty seven years ago.
For years it was a battle against the lies spread in the media about drunken Liverpool fans storming the football ground. The notorious Sun front page on Wednesday 19 April, four days after the disaster, was the worst example of what was being reported in many newspapers, local, regional, national, blaming Liverpool supporters for the disaster. The verdict on question 7, whether fans contributed to the disaster, was an unequivocal ‘No’.
Some thought the campaign for justice by the families was futile. Now at last, after an inquest lasting more than two years, we have the truth.
The key question, number 6, ‘Were the 96 people unlawfully killed?’ has now been answered. They were. Now the South Yorkshire police superintendent in command at the match, David Duckenfield, must surely face criminal charges, as well as South Yorkshire Police for the way it conducted itself on the day and in the aftermath of the disaster.
The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) pay tribute to the dedication and tireless commitment of the formidable Hillsborough campaigners. OTJC Chair, Joe Rollin, said, ‘I am overjoyed that justice has finally been done for the Hillsborough families. The verdicts demonstrate that with the determination and public support campaigners can overturn miscarriages of justice. The verdicts will spur on the OTJC and its demand for a full public inquiry into the policing at Orgreave on 18 June 1984.’