Families and friends of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough stadium disaster are celebrating a key victory, as the original verdict of ‘accidental death’ has been quashed and a completely new inquest has been ordered.
On a landmark day for the 23-year-long justice campaign, a brand new police investigation into the case was also announced by the Home Secretary, Theresa May.
The fresh inquests were ordered by The Lord Chief Justice, Igor Judge, quashing the original verdict after a request by the UK’s Attorney General, Dominic Grieve.
This comes just three months after the Hillsborough Independent panel reported that 41 victims could possibly have survived the tragedy.
Mr Grieve hailed the “remarkable” report produced by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, saying the document undermines the evidence produced at the original inquests.
Lord Judge described the events of 1989 as “catastrophic”, adding it was a ‘”disappointingly tenacious” attempt to blame fans.
He told families present at the High Court: “We must record our admiration and respect for their determined search for the truth about the circumstances of the disaster and why and how it had occurred, which – despite disappointments and setbacks – has continued for nearly quarter of a century.”
Upon The Lord Judge leaving the court room, those who had gathered inside to hear the verdict gave a loud round of applause.
The new inquests are likely to be held in Doncaster, and are set to review all the original material, plus new evidence that has recently been brought to light, including the 116 police documents that were altered, and facts about the safety of the stadium.
A separate announcement was made by Home Secretary, Theresa May, at the House of Commons stating that a fresh pollice investigation into the disaster will now be launched.
MP May said: “The findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel were truly shocking, but while the families have now been given the truth, they have not yet received justice.
“I am determined to see a swift and thorough response to the findings of the Hillsborough Panel to deliver justice for the 96 football fans who died, and the families who have fought so hard on their behalf.”
Mrs May made public that former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart would lead the investigation into the events that occurred on 15th April 1989.
Speaking outside the High Court, Trevor Hicks of the Hillsborough Family Support Group described the inquest decision as “a huge step for the families”, adding: “It’s clear now justice is on its way. I think a lot of us are going to have a much happier Christmas.”