Hillsborough: Police forces agree cover-up compensation for victims

The crush happened at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final match at Sheffield Wednesday's ground Hillsborough (Image: Independent Office for Police Conduct/PA Media)

Two police forces are to pay damages to more than 600 people over a cover-up which followed the Hillsborough disaster, lawyers have said.

The South Yorkshire and West Midlands forces agreed the settlement earlier this year following a civil claim.

Nobody has ever been convicted over police actions following the disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans died in a crush at a 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

Three men were acquitted of altering police statements in May.

Former South Yorkshire Police Ch Supt Donald Denton, 83, retired Det Ch Insp Alan Foster, 74, and Peter Metcalf, 71, who acted as a solicitor for the force, were accused of trying to minimise the blame placed on the force in the aftermath of the disaster.

They were each charged with two counts of perverting the course of justice, relating to the amendment of police statements.

The men went on trial but were acquitted of the charges after a judge ruled they had no case to answer.

Hillsborough victims
Ninety-six Liverpool fans died as a result of the disaster on 15 April 1989

 

A spokesman for Saunders Law, the lead solicitors for the group litigation, said the civil claim for misfeasance in a public office was started in 2015.

It was agreed in April but could not be reported until the conclusion of the trial.

The spokesman said: “[The] victims sought justice and accountability for the deliberate, orchestrated and thoroughly dishonest police cover-up that suppressed the truth about the responsibility of the police and blamed the football supporters for the horrific events that unfolded”.

The disaster at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium was investigated by West Midlands Police.

It remains the UK’s worst sporting disaster. Many families and survivors have since led a 30-year campaign to discover how and why the victims died.

In 2012, then-chief constable of South Yorkshire Police David Crompton apologised for a cover-up following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report.

Flowers and tributes at Hillsborough memorial
Flowers and tributes were left at the Hillsborough Memorial after the collapse of the trial
(Image: PA Media)

 

New inquests, which concluded in 2016, found that the men, women and children who died were unlawfully killed and fans played no part in the causes of the disaster.

Lawyers said the cover-up caused additional psychiatric injury to the survivors of the disaster and the families of those who died.

The Saunders spokesman said: “The settlement of these claims marks the end of an unparalleled and extraordinary fight for justice by the victims and their families.

“We trust that this settlement will put an end to any fresh attempts to rewrite the record and wrongly claim that there was no cover-up.”

Source: bbc.co.uk

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