A grieving mother’s dream of bringing forward an inquest into her son’s death at Hillsborough has taken a step closer to reality.
Kevin Williams was one of 96 Liverpool fans crushed to death at the FA Cup Semi-Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest and his mother, Anne, has tirelessly campaigned over the past 23 years for her son’s case to be heard by the British justice system.
When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Anne’s supporters called for a speedy hearing into a fresh inquest for Kevin and launched an online petition on the Directgov e-petitions website.
At 10:53 on Tuesday the petition, urging the Attorney General to fast-track an inquest, reached over 100,000 signatures, meaning it must now be considered for debate by MPs.
The Attorney General has said that he will apply to the High Court for fresh Hillsborough inquests next month, but said that the speed of the inquests is not within his power.
He has also gone on record as saying that that the inquests of all 96 victims will be held at the same time as “all the deaths arose from a single chain of events”.
The petition had been growing steadily with 60,000 signatures up until Saturday, when a co-ordinated campaign from Liverpool fans ahead of their home match with Wigan managed to gather 40,000 signatures in three days. The final 1,000 signatures were gathered in just one hour.
Shortly before the petition reached the 100,000 target, Mrs Williams said on Twitter: “A Big Thank you to everyone who signed the e petition.” She went on to mention theHillsborough Justice Campaign(HJC) who have helped Hope for Hillsborough (HFH), a group organised by her.
Sheila Coleman, from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign said: “We always felt that it would reach the necessary 100,000 signatures and this is the fourth time an e-petition regarding Hillsborough has done that. This shows how much love and support there is out there for Anne Williams.”
Debi McMillan, also from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign said: “Everyone’s been incredible in their support yet again, and we would like to thank each and every one of them.”
Despite the original inquest imposing a 3:15pm cut off for all victims, Mrs Williams has always insisted that her son was still alive past that time and has gathered evidence from witnesses who desperately attempted to save Kevin’s life, including former WPC Debra Martin who insists that he called out ‘Mum’ as she cradled him in her arms, before dying at 4pm.
Following the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report in September, fresh hope was given to the victims’ families and survivors of the disaster who have fought for justice with criminal charges and proceedings now being considered.