Inquest verdict: The 96 were unlawfully killed #JFT96

Today the Hillsborough inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing of 96 people.

Errors and omissions by the South Yorkshire Police are ruled to have caused and contributed to the deaths on a number of counts, and also errors and omissions by the city council as the ground safety licensing authority, the engineers Eastwood and Partners, Sheffield Wednesday FC and the ambulance service.

The behaviour of the fans was ruled not to be a cause, in stark contrast to the views expressed by many at time, not least by the Sun newspaper. Views which are understood to have been promulgated by the South Yorkshire Police as part of a cover up operation.

This verdict is a huge step towards justice for the 96. It gives a green light to the “Operation Resolve” criminal investigation into the disaster, the investigations of the IPCC, and opens the door for the CPS to bring prosecutions.

South Yorkshire Police are also facing calls for an inquest into the events at Orgreave during the miners’ strike, and has been found failing to protect 1600 child victims of sexual exploitation in Rotherham. All perhaps reflect a culture of considering some people to be a problem rather than as citizens who need, deserve and are entitled to the police’s protection.

Progress has been made since Hillsborough – an officer could not be responsible for a crowd management event today without the correct training – and the cover-up was eventually exposed with the co-operation of some officers. I hope this verdict marks a turning point in the reputational battering that SYP has earned over the last three decades. Coming clean, the legal process, prosecutions and convictions are a necessary part of a rebuilding of trust but not sufficient. We need a fierce determination to reform the culture, learn the lessons, and be a police service to be proud of.

We could take a lesson in fierce tenacity from the victims’ families in their pursuit of justice for the 96 in the face of smears and lies from the establishment and the press.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017 and Doncaster North in December 2019 and is a councillor in Sheffield.

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72 Comments

  • I have just read through the 96 individual verdicts, in tears. I’m so pleased that the truth is now finally out, for the memory of the victims, for their families and for the fans who were wrongly blamed.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Apr '16 - 5:31pm

    Very good statement Joe. We need to stand up for police officers, but at the same time we need to stand up for people who are sometimes victims of the police. No organisation is immune to mistakes or unacceptable behaviour.

    Hatred of the Sun newspaper in Liverpool, and not just for one headline but anti-Liverpool prejudice at the time, sometimes extends into hatred of the Conservative Party.

    I’m from just outside of Liverpool, but I’ve even had good friends from the city show disgust when I’ve stood up for the Conservatives or the Sun. It can be hard for outsiders to understand the strength of feeling this incident rouses within Liverpool, but it is because we haven’t gone through what they have.

  • @ Eddie Sammon What on earth are you doing sticking up for the Sun and the Conservative Party ?

    This business should never have taken twenty seven years…… and as someone who has walked daughters down the aisle, my heart bleeds for poor brave Trevor Hicks.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Apr '16 - 6:13pm

    Hi David, it’s not something I make a habit out of. I’ve done it once or twice on Facebook over the past few years and it generally isn’t a popular thing to do. Although I stood up for the coalition.

    Yes I agree it shouldn’t have taken so long. Although we still need prosecutions.

  • Christopher Haigh 26th Apr '16 - 10:34pm

    @John Marriott -have you actually read this article ? The behaviour of the fans was ruled not to be a cause. The authorities had overestimated the capacity of sections of the ground at the Leppings Lane End, and there were problems with the safety barriers as well.

  • So sad that, even after a verdict completely exonerating fans, there are those who have to add, “but……”

  • Simon Thomson 27th Apr '16 - 6:19am

    Yes John Marriott you can have an opinion, however, your opinion regarding fans turning up late, and probably drunk, is wrong not supported by the facts. It’s lies like this that were promoted by SYP as a way of avoiding blame for the disaster. The fact is this disaster was caused by an inexperienced, arrogant and incompetent match commander who then, with the help of his superiors who concocted a series of smears that were believed by the gullible, lied through his teeth for 27 long years.

  • John Marriott…. You wrote, “I just wonder whether any of those fans who were allowed to stampede into the ground at the Leppings Lane end and are still around are suffering in any way from a guilty conscience.”

    Which, no matter how you read it, is STILL trying to allocate blame to the Liverpool fans who attended the match….Hence my, “but”

  • John Marriott 27th Apr ’16 – 9:03am….Expats, Was I really allocating blame “to the Liverpool fans”? First of all the word ‘Liverpool’ never appeared in my first comment…….

    However, you did mention the fans at the “Leppings Lane end”..It doesn’t take a genius to work out who you were referring to…

    I’d suggest, instead of turning verbal somersaults, you follow the old adage of “When in a hole; stop digging”….

    BTW…This is my last post on the subject

  • Richard Underhill 27th Apr '16 - 12:12pm

    Neither the Times nor the Sun has Hillsborough on the front page today, 27/4/2016.

  • Paul in Wokingham 27th Apr '16 - 1:47pm

    @Stephen – what is strange is how little seems to have changed at Hillsborough. I went there as an “away” supporter in January. The stadium as seen from the Leppings Lane End is without doubt the most unattractive I have ever clapped eyes on, and I was surprised watching the footage of the tragedy this morning at how little it has changed since 1989. I thought there was loads of money in football, but you wouldn’t know it as you wait to get into the away end at Hillsborough.

    But worse still – and I acknowledge that vivid memories of that awful day might have played a part in this – I did not feel it to be safe. The approach to the “away” gates appears to act as a pinch point with no obvious way to relieve pressure if the rate at which people arrive exceeds the rate at which they can get through the turnstiles.

    I would encourage anyone who thinks what happened was down to “drunken fans” to try walking to that stadium with just a thousand “away” supporters and see how they find the experience.

  • @ Joe Otten, Good to have your take on Hillsborough.

    I gather you’re standing for Police Commissioner for South Yorkshire – I don’t envy you. I hope you will pursue the Orgreave and Rotherham issues with all your strength….. and encourage Nick to do the same. A pity he wasn’t in the Chamber during the Home Secretary’s statement just now.

    I have no brief for Scargill, but serious wrongs were committed at Orgreave. It merits the same sort of enquiry as Hillsborough. The behaviour of the Thatcher Government and the Murdoch press was appalling….. at Hillsborough and Orgreave. The Rotherham issue does not inspire confidence that the SYP culture has changed.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Apr '16 - 2:26pm

    All one can do is weep as one listens to the stories of the families.

    I hope that they get justice. So far they have only received a vindication and acknowledgement that their loved ones were not only let down in the most horrific way, but also that they were slandered and libelled.

    I feel that even those like myself who did not know the families but were able to feel for them as they showed their love for their lost ones by fighting for justice, can now privately mourn for them and all that they have lost.

  • SYP didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory at the inquest though did they (rowing back on 2012 apology, recycling old lies/smears, hiring most expensive possible counsel)?

    An excellent speech by Andy Burnham today (I agreed with everything on prosecutions, praise for Theresa May, enacting Leveson recommendations and the untenable position of SYP’s Chief Constable).

  • Just announced on BBC News website :

    South Yorkshire Police chief suspended over Hillsborough

  • Bill le Breton 27th Apr '16 - 7:41pm

    I am not able, that is I am not willing to use the word ‘evil’, but discrimination is immoral. And all that happened in the days and months and years that ran up to Hillsborough, during that afternoon and in the years that followed, happened, or could only have happened, because discrimination was allowed free sway, was actively encouraged and exploited.

    Discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favour of, or in this case against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing is perceived to belong to rather than on individual merit.

    This was a case, and remains a case, of discrimination against the people, the accent, the culture, character of the people of an entire City Region.

    That afternoon a trap, years in the planning, had been set for the supporters of a football club; a trap set for ordinary innocent people, the best of people; a trap for a city; a trap for a port city culture.

    Once those who had set that trap saw the appalling consequences of their actions, in their panic, they counter attacked from their positions of power and authority, like the cowards and the liars they were. For 27 years they conspired to cover up their guilt in the parts they played. Whilst others unquestioning their discrimination accepted what the authorities told them.

    And all this could only have happened, could only continue to happen because of the foul prejudice that underpinned their discrimination.

    The numbers of those guilty are legion. They are all who acted before, during and after because of the distinction they made, based not on knowledge and fact, but on their prejudice.

  • Dave Orbison 28th Apr '16 - 1:41pm

    Joe Otten – good article. John Marriott and LibDem voice hang your heads in shame that still, STILL, you seek to blame fans and that these smears are given the oxygen of publicity. Had you listened to the forensic evidence, as I did, and more importantly the jury, you could not have made such comments with a clean conscience. Disgusted and outraged.

  • Dave Orbison 28th Apr '16 - 1:42pm

    Re Last post. For the avoidance of doubt I do not suggest LDV agrees with J Marriott I object to them publishing these smears

  • Peter Watson 28th Apr '16 - 1:58pm

    @Bill le Breton “That afternoon a trap, years in the planning, had been set for the supporters of a football club; a trap set for ordinary innocent people, the best of people; a trap for a city; a trap for a port city culture.”
    I think I agree with most of the sentiments you are expressing, but I’m really not sure what you mean by a “trap, years in the planning”.

  • David Orbison

    In a case like this people will always have different opinions, even the jury who heard all the evidence was split 7-2. Everyone knows the cover up and the Murdoch press coverage was a disgrace, but I’m sure many people would fine John Marriotts comments perfectly reasonable. I certainly didn’t read into it that he was trying to smear anyone.

  • @ Bill le Breton and Dave Orbison. I understand.

    I watched the coverage of the City ceremony on TV and was profoundly moved by the courage, character, dignity and basic decency of the normal ordinary folk taking part in it. One’s heart bleeds for their agony and one feels nothing but contempt for the ‘powers’ that denied them justice for 27 years.

    As someone with family roots in the coalfields, it’s time Orgreave was sorted now.

    As ,when and if Johnson B. becomes Tory leader don’t let us ever forget the snobbish sneers that came from his mouth. All the blether and apologies can’t wash it away.

  • @malc “I’m sure many people would fine John Marriotts comments perfectly reasonable.”

    I agree, because what John was alluding to was the culture that was endemic among football fans at the time, which directly resulted in UK football fans being banned from attending many European matches. The mesh fences, cages and the policing approach to football crowds, had more to do with controlling violence than public safety – something the inquest noted. It has been interesting educating my children about football in the 1980’s- they having attended matches since the 2012 Olympics in modern all seating stadia.

    What I find particularly noteworthy is the rather obvious omission in the inquest and the questions the jury were asked to answer, specifically question 7 – the only question that was about the behviour of the supporters: “Were there any behaviour on the part of the football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?”

    The jury were not asked for their opinion about the behaviour of the supporters who “surged” into the central tunnel, just their behaviour at the turnstiles… Which is interesting given that no evidence was presented that suggested that the police et al had forced or directed fans to the central tunnel…

  • @Roland, Malc,

    Why? Why comment when you haven’t bothered to follow the inquest or bothered to read the report? If you had, you would be left in no doubt why the smears repeated by John Marriott are so disgraceful.

    I suggest you might start here, for example:

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/sep/22/hillsborough-sergeant-tunnel-overcrowded-pens

    The reason the supporters headed to the central tunnel was because (a) it was a ground not very familiar to them as supporters of another club, (b) there was a huge weight of numbers moving in a surge that was difficult to move away from as a result of the crush outside caused by an insufficient number of turnstiles combined with the sudden opening of Gate C, (c) the fact that, unlike the police commander who gave the order to open the gate, they had no idea whatsoever that Pens 3 and 4 at the end of the tunnel were already overcrowded, (d) the fact that the gate was directly ahead of Gate C that was opened, (e) the gate to the tunnel hadn’t been closed as it had in previous years and (f) the sergeant that would have closed the gate to the tunnel hadn’t been made aware of the fact that Gate C had been ordered open by Duckenfield.

    The lack of turnstiles had nothing to do with anti-hooligan measures. The lack of proper stewarding between the turnstiles and the entrances to the pens through the tunnel and around the side had nothing to do with anti-hooligan measures. The lack of space between the road and the turnstiles had nothing to do with anti-hooligan measures. The pitch-side security fences certainly increased the numbers killed, but large numbers would have died even if it wasn’t there. Besides, how on earth could the innocent fans that were killed or injured be responsible for the poor response to the hooligan problem by the authorities? That is an outrageous slur against the victims.

    The inquest jury was unanimous that alcohol was not a causal factor and that supporters turning up late was not a causal factor, despite these ignorant smears being repeated for the best part of three decades.

  • Dave Orbison 28th Apr '16 - 6:00pm

    John Marriott, Roland and those that think picking away at this is some intellectual exercise… first as Stephen says why not trouble yourselves to read the evidence? It’s all on-line. You just need to spend time and have an open mind as opposed to pedal your pet theories. A majority decision is by the way a finding of fact. The finding of fact re the fans behaviour was UNANIMOUS with respect to the first question ‘did their behaviour in anyway contribute’. The jury’s decision was UNANIMOUS to the second question on the same subject ‘could it have contributed’? On both counts NO!

    The questions posed on here as to the build up of fans etc etc are not new. They were fully explored in testimony given at the request and pulled one way and another in the most adversarial of circumstances before the verdict was reached. So instead of lazily regurgitating smearing innocent people, why not do the decent thing and read the facts.

  • @John “you do seem to be scratching around for a way to attach some blame to the fans.”

    No, just pointing out the obvious:
    1. We are talking about adult human beings
    2. Following the crowd or ‘orders’ is not a legal defence, although circumstances may mitigate

    Remember we don’t excuse the behaviour of individual members of crowds on marches, eg. anti-capitalist demonstrators, just because ‘that is what the crowd was doing.

    Yes, there was a lot going on that was wrong and hence each just added to the fire, which only needed an ill-considered false move to create the spark. But remember we are talking about adults and not animals.

  • Dave Orbison 28th Apr '16 - 6:57pm

    Roland – not a legal defence? Do you have any idea what you are talking about. There were guidelines The Green Code that covered the control of spectators at football grounds. The guide was written based on the studies and appreciation of the dynamics of crown movement voluntary and involuntary that exist in a variety of circumstances.

    The Hillsborough ground FAILED to comply with this code. The design of the ground did NOT comply with this code and the police did NOT comply with their legal duty of care in marshalling the crowd. These were the circumstances that led to the deaths.

    Just read the FACTS please – your petty theories and utter lack of expertise flies in the face of detail scrutiny of the facts.

  • Dave Orbison 28th Apr '16 - 7:50pm

    Roland – sorry if I appear to be pedantic about the facts. We are not talking just about adults. We are talking about children too. Do you think they contributed to their own demise and that of others?

  • @Dave – There is no dispute in what the inquest found or with the jury’s responses to the 14, carefully and precisely worded, questions put to them. However, these questions and answers do not support the media’s take on the jury’s findings that the ‘fans’ behaviour did not in any way contribute to the crush of fans “in the central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace”.

    As you say there are many contributing factors that created the unsafe circumstances and which the inquest methodically and in great detail walked through, as they did in unpicking the lies – specifically those made about the behaviour of the fans on street and at the turnstiles that the police had used to explain why they opened the exit gate, which was the ‘spark’ that brought everything together.

    However, we should remember it was the inquest’s remit to establish the causes of death and the circumstances that lead up to those deaths and not to proportion guilt; which is the domain of any subsequent court action arising. Hence why the first question the jury was asked to consider was worded thus:

    1. Basic facts of the disaster: Do you agree with the following statement: “Ninety-six people died as a result of the disaster at the Hillsborough stadium on 15 April 1989 due to crushing in the central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace, following the admission of a large number of supporters to the stadium through exit gates.”

  • @Dave – I think there a problem in that when people talk of ‘fans’ at Hillsborough they mean only those that died and not those who were involved ie. further back in the crush and were able to walk away. Because certainly, like John, I’m sure there are some fans still alive who know a lot more than most about what actually went on in the tunnel on that fateful afternoon…

  • @Roland

    Please explain how you think the fans heading in to the tunnel – which was their immediate and natural route in the absence of any kind of direction by police or stewards or even signs – could possibly have known what was happening far ahead and below them where the fans were being crushed at the front, or how they could reasonably have been expected to organise their own crowd control in a situation where most would have only had a good idea of what was going on in the area immediately around them.

    I confess, I used to incline towards the same sort of view – that not all the fans were blameless and the police must have just screwed up rather than acted badly – but a year or two back I took the time to read many of the witness statements and I completely changed my mind. The actions of many of the police that day were truly despicable. Trevor Hicks was even spoken to “callously” by a police officer who refused him admission to the temporary mortuary at Hillsborough when he went along to identify his two dead daughters.

    In fact Roland, if you want to know what really happened that day – including the reason why fans gravitated towards the central tunnel – then you could do a lot worse than read Hicks’ statement form start to finish :-

    http://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/repository/docs/HOM000001150001.pdf

  • Dave Orbison 28th Apr '16 - 8:58pm

    Roland – re precise questions as if this narrowed the scope. Again read the facts. Q7 ‘was there ANY fans behaviour that contributed’ or ‘may have contributed’? NO! The scope was as broad as possible.

    Stuart – spot on. Roland people died in the tunnel. It was the only obvious entrance due to lack of signage with a known dangerous 1 in 10 downward slope… As Stuart says read the evidence for goodness sake.

  • @Dave – sorry if I appear to be pedantic about the facts. But I find it odd that you have consistently furnished quotes, devoid of context. If you are going to quote Q7, kindly quote the entire question, as did in my first post…

    @Stuart – all good points only problem I have is that for a crowd to reach the point where people at the front are being crushed, the people behind are pushing (those in front of them) to create space for themselves to move into rather than stop and wait… the trouble is that it is all like a row of dominio’s, a small shove at back by a very small group can result in a much larger result, especially given the slope in the tunnel (and of the terraces) and lack of restraints/hurdles. The trouble is, as you point out, it is highly likely that those who initiated the shoving, had no idea of how that action rippled through the crowd.

    But all this should not detract from the fact that the inquest has examined the evidence and exposed the lies and myths that have surrounded what actually happened at Hillsborough. Because finally both the victims families can have justice and the real lessons can be learnt, because as the inquest found and Joe noted, it wasn’t just SYP who were at fault.

  • Dave Orbison 29th Apr '16 - 12:14am

    @Roland – I have read the question and the factors the jury took into consideration. The Coroner also stated that they were free to take ANY factors they thought relevant into consideration… Did you read that by any chance? There was no surge down the tunnel as you describe. Watch the video, read the statements.

    Joe at no stage suggested the fans were in ANYWAY culpable whereas you apparently do not. This is a big difference unless you are now accepting that the fans were indeed innocent of any wrong doing. If so, that clarification would be welcome.

  • If anyone hasn’t seen the video that shows why the police opened the gate there’s a link below.

    http://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/repository/media/VID0002.html

  • stuart moran 29th Apr '16 - 5:50am

    What is clear is that SYP behaved terribly in the aftermath and allowed grieving families to receive no peace in the 27 years. This was compounded by an inadequate first inquest

    I would say to those skeptics on here – look at the evidence and transcripts. I do not see Malc what that video is supposed to show as you seem to treat it as a some sort of smoking gun!

    Do you think that in over 2 years of evidence the jury may not have seen this and taken it into account? Do you think anyone denies there was a crush developing outside the stadium? This is all known and has been taken into account

    Do you know that the current inquest and the Taylor Report draw very similar conclusions? That Liverpool fans were in no way to blame for the circumstances that led up to and during the disaster. It was down to inadequate police control compounded by a poorly designed stadium – a fact that was known because on both previous times the ground had been conformed that way had led to similar situations (i.e. funnelling all the fans at that end of the ground, including stand, through a limited number of turnstiles).

    It was to the great credit of Justice Taylor, the families and the current inquest that the truth was eventually found and those that died are absolved from blame. This was even with the fact that evidence was withheld and distorted as we have found out recently

    Whether the individual officers on the day will be held to account is difficult to say – there was great pressure on them and the decisions they made were wrong, and led to disaster but whether thy are personally culpable or they were just incompetent for that role is difficult to say – the inquest and Taylor suggests they were to an extent but that is for another court to decide. What seems clear is that there is a case to answer about SYP behaviour and the culture that existed, and perhaps still does in that force

    I think, Malc and Roland, instead of posting on here you would be better going to the evidence and reading some of it; you may then understand why your conclusions based on very limited information are unworthy and erroneous – the truth has been established not once but twice – surely that is enough for you – or do you maintain that your 10 minute looking at selected pieces of evidence has been more thorough than a 2 year inquest?

  • @Malc,

    Again, why are you posting one small piece of the evidence when an inquest has laboriously been through all the available evidence and carefully weighed it up against what happened on the day and what would normally have been expected to have happened on the day with regards to crowd control.

    Your video clearly shows that the crush outside the ground happened well before the supporters were advised to arrive at the ground, thus dispelling one deliberate smear straightaway. However, opening Gate C was not the main issue; the main contributing factor was the failure of the police to close the gate at the entrance of the tunnel to the sections of the terrace that were already overcrowded. This had happened on previous occasions and should have happened even before Gate C was opened.

    By far the most damning action of the police that led to numerous death of supporters was Duckenfield’s immediate attempt to lie about what happened at Gate C. By trying to pretend that the problem was related to crowd behaviour rather than police incompetence, the police under his command continued to behave as if there was an attempted pitch invasion underway. Consequently supporters who were trying to escape the crush in the pens were forced back into the pens by the police. Critically, the immediate attempted cover up by Duckenfield led to a situation where ambulance crews were prevented from attending to the injured. of the 96 that died, only 14 reached hospital. Many of those that died would not have done so without Duckenfield’s lie about Gate C. The police continued to treat the situation as a crowd behaviour problem even when there were piles of corpses at the bottom of the terrace.

    Why do you and your co-conspirators continue to ignore the evidence and repeat the smears of the police?

  • For those of you who clearly have no concept of what standing on a football terrace was like, here’s a clip of Liverpool’s Kop from 1964:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHdSaPt8RyA

    On a full terrace, physical contact between supporters was an absolute certain. If you turned up later than those that got there early it was not possible to find a space to stand without squeezing your way between people already standing in the place they had chosen to stand. The crowd naturally surged forward down the terracing, particularly when something happened in the match. This happened in the pen at Hillsborough when the Liverpool player, Peter Beardsley, hit the cross-bar with a shot that hit the bar. One of the crush-barriers that had been placed to prevent surges to the bottom of the terrace had been removed by Sheffield Wednesday in the Leppings Lane end to improve the flow of supporters. As a result, one of the lower barriers caused a barrier to fail under the pressure of the number of supporters crushed behind it. Even without the overcrowding caused by the failure of the police, those sections of terracing would have been full to capacity with many surges and with much physical contact and involuntary pushing between supporters. All it took for a surge down the terracing in that kind of crowd was a slight movement by someone at the back. Trying to blame the supporters at the back for the movement of the crowd below at Hillsbroough is ignorant and sickening.

  • Sorry, that should have been written: “As a result, one of the lower barriers failed under the pressure of the number of supporters crushed behind it. “

  • Dave Orbison 29th Apr '16 - 8:21am

    Stephen – well said. I hesitate to start the process of rebutting the amateur sleuth of the ‘Inquest deniers’ on here as I cannot simply do justice to the volumes of evidence that were thoroughly tested and weighed at the inquest. I agree that if people want to ‘reject the findings of the inquest’ that, at the very least, it would be fair for them to look at the evidence before coming to their conclusions. The transcripts of the Inquest are at:
    https://hillsboroughinquests.independent.gov.uk/hearings/

    Furthermore, ALL the documents used as evidence were uncovered and catalogued by the Hillsborough Independent Panel. You can look up everything there:
    http://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/browse/

    If that is too daunting, then just start with the Coroners summing up where he forensically went through the evidence looking at every aspect of the case.

    In 2016 we are lucky to have the technological advances that allow evidence to be seen by all in this case. I prefer the rigour of evidential scrutiny over blind prejudice as the best means of discovering the truth and arriving at a just verdict.

  • I thought the video showed and explained what happened on the day. It covers the fans arriving, how unsuitable that part of the stadium was for large crowds, the pressure both police and fans were under, the police decision to open the gates and their failure to block off the entrance to the tunnel. It’s no “smoking gun” just a video of what happened leading up to the disaster.

  • @Malc
    “I thought the video showed and explained what happened on the day.”

    No it does not. It shows a very small part of the evidence base that was considered by the inquest.

    ” their failure to block off the entrance to the tunnel”

    It absolutely does nothing of the sort. The decision to close the tunnel should have been made before the decision to close Gate C on the basis that the central pens were already at capacity. The police control room had a full view of the pens in the Leppings Lane end (which obviously aren’t shown in the video you linked to) and they should have given the command to close the tunnel gate at that point regardless of anything to do with Gate C and the crush outside. That is what happened at previous semi-finals at Hillsborough and at other matches at Hillsborough.

    Your video demonstrates nothing about the disastrous decision by Bettison to lie about Gate C and the related behaviour of the men under his command who continued to perpetuate the lie by treating the incident as a crowd behaviour issue rather than a full-scale incident requiring urgent medical attention to a large number of people. That police cover-up happened during the emergency and it caused loss of life. Please go to the bother of reading my previous comments and the information in the links provided by Dave Orbison before posting any more of your ignorant hypotheses.

    By the way, the video you linked to also shows the absence of police cordons outside the ground that had existed at previous matches.

  • Stuart Moran 29th Apr '16 - 10:14am

    Malc

    The problem is that you have made assertions and tried to justify it using a video that only tells a small part of the story

    My reading is of it is that you and Roland blame ‘late arriving’ supporters for the disaster. In fact what they did was just turn up for the match and find an inadequate stadium and incompetent policing.

    That stadium was a mess at the time. I have been there and experienced it. Have you?

    In no instance is there evidence of fans causing the problems apart from turning up and behaving as a crowd does in those circumstances. The problem did not just appear either. It was building for a time and the authorities did not respond

    All is laid out in the evidence, as is the disgraceful behaviour of SYP….who had already shown their mettle at Orgreave

    I follow previous posts in suggesting you read the documentation

    Oh and just in case someone is reading this that lost someone an apology may be in order. I nearly did!

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 29th Apr '16 - 10:33am

    I understand why people are angry at the comments posted by Malc, John Marriott and Roland. I am, too.

    I think that it is important for these views, which have been proven now to be misguided and wrong, are publicly challenged as they have been very effectively in this thread.

    I have nothing but admiration for the tenacity of the families who have pursued this injustice for nearly three decades. It should not have taken this long.

    The actions of the media, South Yorkshire Police and successive governments prolonged these families’ ordeal and were an absolute disgrace.

  • Jayne Mansfield 29th Apr '16 - 10:35am

    Why should one read the evidence? A jury sat through the evidence for two years before returning their verdict.

    Are those who are questioning the behaviour of some of the fans, questioning the verdict that the jury reached after their deliberations, or is it just a case of ‘mud sticks’ ?

    Thank goodness for our jury system is all I can say.

  • Stuart Moran 29th Apr '16 - 10:56am

    Jayne

    Of course what you say is right

    I think though that one of the advancements we have seen is that information is available to read…..the documentary record of this case is really well done

    This underpins the jury system and all involved have done us all a service

    Some people above have taken a very tabloid approach of basing their opinion on gut feel rather than the evidence. I have learnt over ten years to accept that juries see and hear all the evidence rather than the snippets reported in the press so I trust they come to the right conclusion based on that

    I would also say that he Q6 7-2 majority does not undermine the decision. This is the one question very difficult to answer. The most important question regarding the fans behaviour was Q7 and that was unanimous

  • stuart moran 29th Apr '16 - 5:43pm

    John Marriott

    I am sorry but I stand by my criticism of your posts

    I too see things in shades of grey but there are times when there has to be a binary decision.

    I almost lost a family member at this tragic event and I know from what they have told me, and reading the evidence which backs up their views, that the fans did not contribute to the incident by their behaviour – they were behaving as crowds do; boisterous, excited, anticipative but there was no violence, no systemic drunkenness and no behaviour that could be deemed to have had a meaningful contribution

    Your implicit suggestions that, no matter the verdict of the inquest and the conclusions of the Taylor Inquiry, fan behaviour was a contributing factor go against the evidence and undermine the work done by the jury in coming to this decision

    I think your comments are akin to the ‘they were asking for it’ that is often used to cover-up other police misbehaviour, and it seems that particularly Roland’s comments are aimed at trying to absolve the police of misconduct

    There were mistakes made by the police, some were due to incompetence and some of them were bordering on criminal negligence – I work in an industry that if I make an error such as was made by the police I would be in danger of prosecution. I am well paid and trained to make those decisions so if I make them I am liable. The same for those at Hillsborough

    What was most reprehensible though were the lies and the cover-up post the disaster and the behaviour of SYP who have also been implicated in lying about Orgreave – and that continued for 27 years

  • @John Marriott

    Your comments, again, are an ignorant slur and are based on no evdidence whatsoever. Alcohol was not a contributory factor to the tragedy, no matter how many times you repeat it. The verdict delivered by the inquest’s jury was clear that the behaviour of the supporters was not a causal factor in the disaster.

    Your opinions are not shades of grey.They are nothing more than ignorant speculation by somebody who hasn’t bothered to read the findings of the inquest and hasn’t bothered to look in to the evidence of what actually happened. Worse, your comments repeat the deliberate lies propagated by South Yorkshire Police that cause so much real upset to the families and friends of the victims.

  • “after the match had begun might in any way have had a guilty conscience”

    I’m sorry to keep posting here on this, but your conduct needs to be called out. Again, the inquest found that there was no significant number of late arrivals at the ground and that any late arrivals were not a causal factor in the tragedy. You are repeating a deliberate smear propagated by South Yorkshire Police which, given the findings of the inquest, is inexcusable and a libel.

  • Dave Orbison 29th Apr '16 - 6:28pm

    John Marriott you stated “…especially by the police in opening that gate instead of dealing directly with fans arriving late (and probably the worse for drink) and then afterwards seeking to cover up their errors.” Also, you stated “I just wonder whether any of those fans who were allowed to stampede into the ground at the Leppings Lane end and are still around are suffering in any way from a guilty conscience.”
    You say your only regret is you should have used “possibly” instead of “probably” as you ‘speculated about events and peoples’ feelings’.
    The Inquest looked at all of this and gave clear, unequivocal findings. Lots of factors contributed to the crush outside the turnstiles which led to the tragic events once police opened the gate. The gate was opened at the request of police officers concerned people would die in the crush at the turnstiles. This crush arose NOT because people were drunk or arrived late. It occurred as fans were funneled in the approach to the ground, the failure to control the rate of arrival as at previous semifinals by the police, inadequate marshaling of fans and having just 20 turnstiles compared to 60 at the other. This compounded by the failure to simply delay the kick-off.
    Fans did NOT stampede through the gate they were ‘released through it from the crush like a cork from a bottle’. The signage was so poor they were faced with just one entrance to the terrace which was already over full and whose capacity have been significantly overstated by engineers. They had no knowledge of this. They walked down a dark, 1 in 10, tunnel inevitably leaning forward as you do when you go downhill. Such was the poor layout of crush barriers they were again funneled and the pressure resulted in one giving way.
    Why should victims be expected to feel guilt other than perhaps survivors’ guilt? Why after all this you wish to air your idle speculation and attribute guilt to victims is beyond me?
    You seem immune to the upset that your musings have caused. Perhaps you should read the testimony of the victims’ families and speculate how you might have felt if you were in their shoes. Why not watch the Hillsborough drama by Jimmy McGovern on ITV this Sunday 22:20? Perhaps you may then ‘get it’ though based on your comments I’ll speculate you don’t.

  • No, ‘expats’, whoever you are, I am not digging an even bigger hole ……………..

    If your, “I just wonder whether any of those fans who were allowed to stampede into the ground at the Leppings Lane end and are still around are suffering in any way from a guilty conscience”……..doesn’t qualify as a ‘hole’ then I’m unsure what might?

    As has been repeated, again and again, the jury’s verdict was unanimous in that “the fans were in no way to blame”…Why do you continue to put your own twisted interpretation that ‘any’ should suffer from a guilty conscience?

  • Dave Orbison 29th Apr '16 - 6:56pm

    John Marriott – “I really did unlock a Pandora’s box didn’t I?”

    No you just upset people with your idle speculation, some of whom are closer to the events than you know. I don’t need your labels thank you. You know nothing about me or my circumstances. Your ‘speculation’ as to my personality traits and that those of others is as baseless in fact as are your continued insults of towards the victims.

    What I DO know is that the findings of fact on Hillsborough could not have been clearer whilst you still prefer to speculate -what value facts and evidence? You must know that this is extremely upsetting and offensive. Knowing that, I am at a loss, as to what motivates you to post such libel.

  • Nonconformistradical 29th Apr '16 - 9:37pm

    @John Marriott
    I wonder if you have ever served on a jury. If you have then you should understand the necessity of making the grave decisions required in a court of law based on the evidence presented in court – AND ON NOTHING ELSE – CERTAINLY NOT ON IDLE SPECULATION. If you haven’t served on one then, based on your comments here, I’d be rather concerned about your ability and/or willingness to remain objective while serving on a jury.

  • Cllr. Marriott: Why you felt it necessary to write what you did is a mystery to me…now others have pointed out your rrors, be a man and apologise unreservedly for any offence caused…or are you a sun reader

  • Dave Orbison 30th Apr '16 - 10:06am

    Personally I was surprised and disappointed that John Marriott’s comments were published by LDV. They are clearly inappropriate and have caused offence. But the genie is out the bottle. I do think John and Roland should reflect on the feedback. I agree with Bob Sayer the least John Marriott could do is to do the decent thing.

  • What worth an insincere apology? After his repeated assertions regarding the fans’ actions I fear that any apology from Cllr. Marriott would have the same value as that from Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield or Kelvin Mackenzie…..

  • John Marriott,

    It does not matter what you “feel”. What matters is that you do not write libellous, untrue smears that contradict the findings of a an inquest. You need to retract those comments and apologise for making them.

  • stuart moran 30th Apr '16 - 11:23am

    John Marriott

    You are just compounding things. I have read your previous posts and people above have quoted extensively from them the points that were considered offensive in the light of the inquest findings

    This is the question asked at the inquest – taken from the official transcript

    THE CORONER: “Question 7: Behaviour of the supporters.
    “Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?”
    Was your answer “no”.
    FOREWOMAN: It was.
    THE CORONER: “Was there any behaviour on the part of
    football supporters which may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?”
    Was your answer “no”?
    FOREWOMAN: It was.

    Note the difference between the two parts to the question – the word ‘may’

    Can you explain to me what has given you the insight to make comments that contradict the decision from a jury who have seen and listed to all the evidence? I assume you have some relevant information that was not made available to the jury and will be presenting it in defence of any police officer prosecuted as this will be the main focus of their defence?

    Oh, and remember the inquest verdict is very similar to that of LJ Taylor just after the event….even though SYP had been manipulating evidence.

    I know you have mentioned where the true responsibility lies but you, and others, still come back with insinuation against the supporters.

  • John Marriott – Turn off the computer, put your feet up and have a nice glass of wine. If everyone who disagreed with part of a trial or inquest verdict was sued for libel there would be ten million case’s a year. Let Stephen write his letters or posts and just ignore them. I bet there are times you wish you were an Independent!

  • Dave Orbison 30th Apr '16 - 12:02pm

    John Marriott – “… because, clearly, you are only interested in one thing. If you don’t think you have had your pound of flesh from me why not pick on some other unfortunate who is prepared to speak his or her mind even if it may not conform to your own beliefs?

    I can hardly believe my eyes in reading your latest pronouncement. Compounding your previous actions, it now seems that you see yourself as the victim here. Are you really so lacking in self-awareness? Do you have no sense of perspective?
    You chose, for whatever reason to have your views published. In restating the smears, you cannot have done so without the full knowledge that they were counter to the verdict of the jury and that they were bound to cause offence. Do you deny any of this, honestly?
    My ONLY interest is to challenge you, Roland and anyone else here or anywhere, when you choose to repeat the lies and smears that have been spun in the past and that have so comprehensively been disproven. I don’t have to explain myself to you for challenging your outrageous remarks.

    Whereas I was willing to accept an apology in the hope that it would be genuine and heartfelt, perhaps after a period of reflection, I fully agree with Expats that clearly coming from you any such apology would be worthless.

    There is no merit to any of your arguments whatsoever. Yes, you are entitled to your views. In that sense it’s a free country. But if you choose to publish such views knowing that they would cause offence, you deserve no sympathy if decent people put you in your place. You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

    Re “.. being only interested in one thing”. What do you think I and others on here who have strenuously objected to your views ARE ‘interested in’? Your statement implies that we have some other agenda other than to challenging your prejudice. This just compounds my outrage.

    You really ought to do some soul searching but I now realise you are not the sort of person that is capable of reflection or showing any humility. As always prejudice and ignorance go hand in hand.

  • stuart moran 30th Apr '16 - 12:07pm

    Malc

    You say you are disagreeing with the jury in their response to Q7 which is described above

    Can you just enlighten us on:

    What grounds have you come to this conclusion?
    Have you a link to a particular piece of evidence either presented at the inquest or in your own personal hands that supports this?

    I am reading over Duckenfield’s evidence to the inquest……have you read it?

  • Dave Orbison 30th Apr '16 - 12:08pm

    malc – yes have a glass of wine… both of you – it’s all so funny isn’t it. Hardly worth getting up set about – after all you were only saying what you think and it’s a free country and everything.

    As for being an Independent – I do not for one moment associate John Marriott’s comments with that of the LibDems. Yet you seem to imply that ‘poor John’ would be better off if he stood as independent. What a sad world it must be when you think such dismissive remarks are fitting in the context of 96 deaths.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 30th Apr '16 - 10:36pm

    I think it’s time to bring this comments thread to an end. Everyone has had their say and I again pay tribute to those who have patiently and effectively challenged those who simply repeated the age-old smears which were refuted by the inquest jury.

    I don’t think we’ll get any further by continuing the arguments, but I do hope that Messrs Marriott, Malc and Roland will reflect on the way that they conducted themselves when all the evidence was pointing in the opposite direction to their comments.

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