This week, the Hillsborough Independent Panel published their report on their findings from examining the documentation related to the Hillsborough disaster. As some of my international readers may not be aware of this event in history, I'll attempt to summarise (or there's a pretty concise summary here). On 15th April 1989, there was an FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. There was overcrowding in the terraces at the start of the match, which led to a crush, causing the deaths of 96 people. Liverpool fans were blamed for causing the crush, with claims being made that drunken, ticketless fans had forced their way into the ground. All sorts of horrendous headlines were written about the things that the Liverpool fans (including the deceased) had apparently done.
For the 23 years since then, families of the Hillsborough victims, survivors and fans of Liverpool FC have been campaigning for the truth about events this day to be told, and for full disclosure of all documents relating to the initial investigation.
This was eventually granted, and the Hillborough Independent Panel was set up, in order to analyse all the documentation. On Wednesday, the results of their investigation were made public. In addition to what people already knew and wanted made public - that the Liverpool fans were in no way responsible for events that day - there were many shocking findings. Over 150 statements were edited to remove comments about the police being disorganised, or that suggested there was any sort of chaos prior to the crush. The false information that was fed to the press about the behaviour of Liverpool fans that day came from the high ups in South Yorkshire Police and a local MP. And this goes right to the top - Margaret Thatcher rejected the initial investigation report because it made the police look bad. Perhaps most upsetting is the fact that of the 96 who died, 41 could have been saved. The coroner ruled a cut off time to the investigation of just a few minutes after the crush, stating that everyone was either dead or brain dead by then, and that no events after this time would have had a significant impact. Turns out this was yet another lie; the post-mortem shows that 41 of these people were not killed outright in the crush, and had they received medical attention they potentially could have survived. You can read the whole report, or find out more about the panel here (it's not a pleasant read, I cried my eyes out).
So now that the truth is out there, the next step is for those responsible to be brought to justice. If you live, work or study in Liverpool (unfortunately it's not open to anyone else), please take a moment to consider signing these petitions here and here for the removal of the knighthood's of Irvine Patnick and Norman Bettison for their role in the cover-up. And remember, sharing is caring.
My boyfriend's mum (who was at Hillsborough that day, and pregnant with my boyfriend as it happens) suggested I do some justice for the 96 nails. So here they are: