Campaigner Anne Williams dies

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Anne Williams. Photo by Vegard Grott

Tributes are being paid to Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams who died, aged 62, of cancer in the early hours of this morning.

Mrs Williams, who lost her 15-year-old son Kevin at Hillsborough in 1989, campaigned for two decades for a fresh inquest into the death of her son, having had evidence he was alive after the 3:15pm cut-off point which was imposed at the original inquests.

She had taken her case for a fresh inquest to the European Court of Human Rights in 2009, but lost her appeal. She was given renewed hope after the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report, which led to new inquests being called.

She tracked down witnesses – one of them a police officer who said Kevin had called for his mother at 4pm – and Anne formed the campaign ‘Hope for Hillsborough’.

More than 100,000 people signed a petition to have the inquest of her son moved forward soon after Mrs Williams found out she had cancer. She vowed never to give up in the search for justice and bravely attended Monday’s 24th anniversary Hillsborough memorial service in a wheelchair this week.

Neil Fitzmaurice, an actor and comedian who survived Hillsborough, said on Twitter: “I am now mourning the loss of a truly inspirational woman! R.I.P the incredible Anne Williams! Finally able to hug her boy Kevin once more!”

Liverpool Football Club said in a statement: Liverpool Football Club was this morning saddened to hear of the death of prominent Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams. RIP Anne.”

Liverpool FC legend Terry McDermott tweeted: “RIP Anne Williams, the strength and fight she has shown for 24 years makes her the true Iron Lady #RIPAnneWilliams.”

Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams

Barry Devonside of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign said: “I have known Anne for many many years. Her personal fight for justice was immense and long. If there is another injustice inside the Hillsborough disaster it was her fight to have Kevin’s inquest overturned three times.”

Steve Rotheram, MP for Walton also paid tribute by saying: “Anne Williams’ passing is a painful reminder of the families’ long and arduous fight for justice.

“Anne was routinely let down by an establishment hell bent on protecting themselves rather than protecting the families.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said the flags will fly at half-mast over council buildings as a mark of respect, and described Anne Williams as “a remarkable woman in Liverpool’s history”.

He tweeted: “Terribly sad to hear about Anne Williams, an amazing and inspirational person. Her courage in the fight for justice is a lesson to us all.”

About Ian Bolland, JMU Journalism