New inquests open into Hillsborough

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The 96 Hillsborough victims

The 96 Hillsborough victims

New inquests into the deaths of 96 people at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield nearly 25 years ago got under way on Monday.

The inquests will be heard in front of a jury at a purpose-built courtroom in Warrington and are expected to last until at least Christmas and possibly as long as 12 months.

They begin over a year after they were ordered by then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Igor Judge, on the guidance of Attorney General Dominic Grieve, following the quashing of the original accidental death verdicts which were recorded in 1991.

When Liverpool played Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final on April 15th 1989, 96 fans died at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough.

A panel of 11 jurors and 10 reserves chosen from a pool of 150 people is expected to hear evidence on stadium safety, emergency planning, crowd management and the response of the emergency services on the day. Previously unseen television footage recorded at the game is also expected to be shown.

After the jury is formally appointed, the Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice Goldring, who is acting as coroner, will open the hearing with a statement.

Families of the victims will be invited to read background statements on their loved ones before the hearing breaks for a number of weeks to consider pathological evidence of how the victims died.

Jurors have been ordered to put anything they have previously read or heard about Hillsborough out of their minds and warned not to comment on the case on social media. A similar warning about not commenting on the inquest via websites such as Facebook and Twitter has been given to members of the public.

In addition to the inquests, there are two separate inquiries also up and running.

These include Operation Resolve, a criminal investigation into events leading up to the disaster, as well as the disaster itself, which is being led by Chief Constable of Durham Police, Jon Stoddart

The police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), is also looking into allegations of police misconduct in the aftermath of the tragedy.

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