Bringing a historic conclusion to the longest running inquest in British legal history, earlier today the jury at the Hillsborough Inquest returned a determination of unlawful killing in which 96 football fans lost their lives as a direct result of the events that unfolded at the Hillsborough Stadium on April 15th, 1989. After 27 long, hard years, justice has finally been served.
The role that match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield and the South Yorkshire Police played in the unfolding of the tragedy has long been in question, but today a jury of his peers has set the matter to rest. As a direct result of his breach of duty in care, he has been found responsible for “manslaughter by gross negligence” — a term that doesn’t come close to quantifying the actual cost of the loss of life.
Video courtesy of BBC News
Although we’ve known this for certain for some time, after an almost 30-year campaign by the families of the victims, the actions of Liverpool supporters on the day has been exonerated with the jury finding that they did not contribute to the mounting danger at the turnstiles and that “the error or omission by police in planning and preparation” for the FA Cup semi-final between the Reds and Nottingham Forest “caused or contributed” to the situation.
“Nobody should pre-judge ongoing inquiries into the police, but whatever conclusions they reach, the credibility of the institution of South Yorkshire Police has been irreparably damaged,” said John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw. “It needs a new identity and more importantly a new ethos and ethics. South Yorkshire Police should be disbanded.”
A smear campaign in the media, cover-ups by government officials, gross negligence and outright lies from the police, a tainted original inquest and 27-years of pain and heartache for the families and friends of the victims — vindication and justice, which they deserved all along, is finally here.