The Hillsborough Disaster
As a new report on the notorious Hillsborough disaster is soon to come out looking at the tragic events that day and the behaviour of one of the key emergency services i.e. the police I though that it would be worth looking over the event itself if only to reminder us of what must never happen again.
Perhaps ironically Hillsborough is the home of one of England’s oldest football clubs and yet ultimately the name still evokes memories of one of the biggest disasters in sporting history.
Anyway let’s go back to that horrible day just for a minute.
In 1989 on the fifteenth of April it was the start of an FA Cup semi final. That day a crush of supporters from both sides on the steel fences of Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium took place. The result was 96 deaths ( specifically Liverpool fans) and hundreds of injuries.
The inquiry that took place at the time led by a Lord Justice Taylor, established the cause as failure of the police to control the crowd.
Some striking figures that have emerged from the reports on that day. The pens where the fans were allowed to stand and cheer had a capacity of 2,000. It was estimated that 3,000 were actually let in.
Of the 96 people who died only 14 were taken to hospital. Despite emergency services being dispatched they had trouble getting to the scene because of “crowd trouble” according to Police reports.
The Taylor report of 1989 was pretty damning, he blamed the police for filling the pens to beyond their capacity as well as their slow reactions to the disaster as it unfolded.
Despite this report no charges were brought against any individual or group. In 1991 the deaths of the incident were judged to be accidental in the inquest.
However many of the families of the victims thought the findings were suspect and pushed for further inquiries. The battle against the authorities raged on for almost ten years as support groups of the families involved Hillsborough tried to bring charges against the police involved. There was also questions over medical evidence and claims that after 15:15 all the victims of the disaster would have been dead. One woman even took her case to the European Court of Human Rights saying that her son was alive at 16:00. Finally the Hillsborough Panel was set up in 2009 with the aim of getting all the facts released and analysing them to find out the culprits of this tragic event.
In two days the files or the report gets released. Will the families of the victims
of that long ago day finally have some justice? Who knows?