Hillsborough inquiry: Police, politicians and officials implicated as families finally learn shocking truth behind tragedy 3

An independent panel has disclosed a 400-page document on Wednesday morning summarising its findings from a two-year inquest into the death of 96 football fans



The families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster have today learned of the full, shocking extent of the police mishandling and attempted cover-up which caused and followed the tragedy.

A 394-page report compiled by the Hillsborough Independent Panel has revealed attempts to discredit fans from both police and politicians following the deaths on April 15 1989.


Ninety-six people were crushed to death in the Leppings Lane stand of Sheffield Wednesday’s ground as an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest began.

A subsequent inquiry handed down a verdict of accidental death, though the independent panel has considered several pieces of evidence not made available during that probe.

The panel’s report has revealed:

  • South Yorkshire police disseminated false information to Conservative MP Irvine Patnick, a source for the subsequent infamous story from the Sun newspaper which, under the headline ‘The Truth’, made false accusations regarding the behaviour of Liverpool fans before, during and after the disaster.
  • 164 statements made by police in attendance that day were later doctored in order to suit a narrative which laid blame on supporters.
  • 116 “negative comments” were removed from these police statements.
  • Tests for blood alcohol level were performed on all of the 96 victims and, when those proved to be negligible, the criminal records of victims were sought.
  • Dr. Stefan Popper, who presided over the original inquest into the deaths, had suggested that a probe was unnecessary as the cause of death was already known – despite these being required by law.
  • 31 of the victims still had heart and lung function after 3.15pm, the cut off point by which it was adjudged all victims had died in the original inquest.
  • The “shortcomings” of the response from emergency services led to the avoidable deaths of 59 of the victims.
  • Senior police officers accused “drunken marauding fans” of “animalistic behaviour” in the aftermath of the disaster.
  • South Yorkshire ambulance service wrongly discredited criticisms of its conduct from doctors present on the day.
  • The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was fully aware that the original inquiry contained “devastating criticism” of the police.
  • There is “no evidence of substance” to suggest that the drunken or aggressive behaviour of fans was in any way a contributory factor.