96 people were unlawfully killed and now the establishment has questions to answer.
The Hillsborough Inquests jury returns its verdicts on a historic and momentous day. The 96 Liverpool supporting victims were found to have been unlawfully killed and the Liverpool fans who were there were found to have played no part in causing the deadly situation to occur.
27 years of fighting later and the families, survivors and campaigners have finally, finally, got a legal judgement in black and white that proves that they were right all along.
On an extremely emotional day the jury in the Hillsborough inquests, over two years after it began, gave their verdicts.
96 football fans died on the 15th of April 1989 – and they died because they were unlawfully killed.
The deaths of the 96 Liverpool fans were in no way whatsoever down to the actions of any of the Liverpool fans who were at the stadium that day, despite the attempts of the establishment at the time and in years to follow to claim that it was.
They didn’t die by accident, they didn’t die at the hands of their fellow supporters. 27 years of lies proved wrong.
The police, including its senior officers, the ambulance service and Sheffield Wednesday FC were all found by the jury to have played some part in a situation that resulted in the loss of 96 lives.
The next stage now is for the criminal investigations to continue and as a result everyone is still restricted in saying what we really think about the role of South Yorkshire Police and its senior officers that day. The force apologized today, a hollow apology in many people’s eyes.
The families now know their loved ones died not because of ‘accidental death’, as ruled by the now-quashed original inquests, but by ‘unlawful’ means. That means person or persons have been walking free without facing a criminal prosecution for 27 years despite having played a part in the unlawful deaths of 96 innocent people.
The survivors, many of whom went through unspeakable and unimaginable torture that day, coming close to losing their own lives and watching helplessly as people around them lost theirs, not to mention the sights and sounds they experienced, found themselves blamed by the establishment for what happened 27 years ago. Already severely and deeply traumatised, to be told that they were to blame – falsely – is an act of cruelty bordering on the barbaric. Numerous survivors would ultimately find the traumas of that day and the aftermath too much to bear.
27 years is far too long to wait for justice but it is clear that the families, survivors and campaigners were not going to sit back and let the passage of time be an obstacle to their fight. In many cases the mothers and fathers that began the fight for justice for their lost son or daughter are no longer with us but in their place their children and a constantly growing army of campaigners fought in their place.
The fight was never going to stop, and it never will, until justice has been done for all 96 of the victims and all those survivors who had to endure hell.
To allow 96 people to die is unforgivable – to cover those deaths up is in many ways far worse. The S*n newspaper played a part in that and for that title to still be in existence is a crime of a different type, especially when they are still able to peddle front page lies with the only deterrent the risk of having to publish a postage stamp sized apologies buried deep inside their rag.
There are also one or people celebrating victory today that might want to think again about their own part in slowing down the march to it, including some who only use the disaster when they think it will boost their own image, turning down requests from campaigners when it doesn’t suit their own needs.
However today should be as much about recognising the good as it is about highlighting the bad. The bad will get their day in court, the good have got their day now and will have it every day from now on. Tonight the bad will be losing sleep, the good can sleep easy, knowing those who have suffered can now rest in peace.
So many people have sacrificed so much in the quest for the truth and 27 years is a massive chunk of anyone’s life. Some are no longer with us and some might not be with us by the time the whole criminal process is finally over and done with, but we’ll always have them with us as inspiration because they never gave up, ever. The obstacles they faced, the monsters they fought, the contempt they had to overcome – they must have been real life super humans to get past it all. But get past it all they did and that is why today they are celebrating a victory far bigger than all of Liverpool FC’s victories put together.
Bernard Ingham, former press secretary to Conservative heroine Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister at the time and part of a government that once secretly suggested the city of Liverpool should be put into ‘managed decline’, always insisted that the fans had played a part in the 96 deaths. He refused to comment today, quite the opposite approach to the time he said: “Liverpool should shut up about Hillsborough.”
Liverpool didn’t shut up about Hillsborough and the more the rest of the country and the rest of the world heard about Hillsborough the more the people who had campaigned from day one got their voices heard. Those voices had always been right, now they were louder than ever.
The truth always comes out in the end and, despite the callous way those with power use that privilege to hurt others, there is no weapon stronger than the truth, especially when used with the kind of dignity we have witnessed for almost three decades.
Today THE TRUTH won.