The former The Sun editor who published a story claiming Liverpool fans urinated on police, stole from the dead and beat up rescue workers during the Hillsborough disaster under the headline 'THE TRUTH' has apologised, saying he "too was totally misled."

Kelvin MacKenzie's apology came just hours after prime minister David Cameron urged MacKenzie to "face up to his responsibilities" over The Sun's coverage of the tragedy.

"I too was totally misled," MacKenzie said.

The Sun's current editor Dominic Mohan also apologised, saying: "Twenty-three years ago The Sun newspaper made a terrible mistake. We published an inaccurate and offensive story about the events at Hillsborough. We said it was the truth - it wasn't."


justice for the 96

Kelvin MacKenzie has said he was 'totally misled'


Kelvin MacKenzie he had "no reason" to believe police and a Conservative MP would distort the truth: "Twenty three ago I was handed a piece of copy from a reputable news agency in Sheffield in which a senior police officer and a senior local MP [ Sir Irvine Patnick] were making serious allegations against fans in the stadium.

"I had absolutely no reason to believe that these authority figures would lie and deceive over such a disaster."

The story itself alleged a "mob" joked about molesting a dead girl, and quoted a high ranking police man saying: "The fans were just acting like animals. My men faced a double hell - the disaster and the fury of the fans who attacked us."

The reporter who wrote the story, Harry Arnold, later said told the BBC he regretted the headline, which he insisted was MacKenzie's, but said he had written the story in a "fair and balanced" way.

"When I saw the headline, 'The Truth', I was aghast because that wasn't what I'd written. I'd never used the words the truth," he said.

MacKenzie told him not to worry and said he would "make it clear that this is what some people are saying".

But the way the Hillsborough disaster was reported in the press has been a source of anger for more than 20 years.

The story prompted a boycott of The Sun in Liverpool, which remains to this day, despite the newspaper apologising for the "terrible mistake" in 2004.

Labour leader Ed Miliband told the Commons The Sun should apologise to the families of the dead, while Labour MP Chris Bryant called on MacKenzie to apologise.

Despite MacKenzie saying the coverage was a "fundamental mistake" in 1993, he appeared to backtrack in 2006, telling a business lunch he was "not sorry then and I'm not sorry now."

"All I did wrong there was [to] tell the truth."

But on Wednesday he said: "Today I offer my profuse apologies to the people of Liverpool for that headline."

Trevor Hicks who lost two children at Hillsborough said MacKenzie's apology was "too little, too late."

Former Tory MP Patnick, who was knighted in 1994, said nothing as he left his home in the south-west of Sheffield on Wednesday afternoon, despite calls from Labour MP John Mann for his knighthood to be withdrawn.

Mann said “the shameful and disgusting behaviour of Sir Irvine Patnick is a significant feature in the Hillsborough independent Panel Report and his Knighthood should be removed immediately. David Cameron should now do the right thing and take the necessary steps to do this”.

He walked out of the stone-built detached property and refused to answer questions from waiting reporters.

SEE MORE

Loading Slideshow...
  • Hillsborough

    LIVERPOOL SUPPORTERS ARE HELPED AFTER BEING CRUSHED AGAINST THE SAFETY

  • Hillsborough

    Fan in despair after the Hillsborough Disaster

  • Hillsborough Tragedy

    Fans leave the ground after the disaster

  • Liverpool v Nottingham Forest - Hillsborough

    One of the fans who came to see the semi -final between Nottingham Forest & Liverpool, is led away after surviving the disaster

  • Hillsborough Tragedy

    The injured are carried away on boards by fans who came to see a game of football

  • Hillsborough

    Fans try to get away from the crush of the crowd as they pour into the ground

  • Hillsborough papers published

    File photo dated 15/04/1989 of Liverpool fans trying to escape severe overcrowding during the FA Cup semi-final football match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough. The families of 96 people killed in the Hillsborough tragedy will see thousands of official documents relating to the disaster for the first time today.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    File photo dated 15/04/1989 of a Liverpool fan at Hillsborough after their FA Cup semi-final football match against Nottingham Forest. The families of 96 people killed in the Hillsborough tragedy will see thousands of official documents relating to the disaster for the first time today.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    File photo dated 22/10/11 of a banner in memory of those who died in the Hillsborough tragedy at Anfield, as the families of 96 people killed in the Hillsborough tragedy will see thousands of official documents relating to the disaster for the first time today.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    File photo dated 15/04/2011 of a Hillsborough banner at Anfield, as the families of 96 people killed in the Hillsborough tragedy will see thousands of official documents relating to the disaster for the first time today.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    File photo dated 15/4/2009 of a hans paying tribute at the Hillsborough Memorial in Liverpool. he families of 96 people killed in the Hillsborough tragedy will see thousands of official documents relating to the disaster for the first time today.

  • Liverpool Prepares For Hillsborough Disclosure Day

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: The Hillsborough memorial is covered with tributes at Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool Football Club on September 10, 2012 in Liverpool, England. On Wednesday relatives and friends of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough football stadium tragedy in Sheffield on 15 April 1989 will see the full disclosure of all documents relating to the disaster when they are made public at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Liverpool Prepares For Hillsborough Disclosure Day

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: The Hillsborough memorial is covered with tributes at Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool Football Club on September 10, 2012 in Liverpool, England. On Wednesday relatives and friends of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough football stadium tragedy in Sheffield on 15 April 1989 will see the full disclosure of all documents relating to the disaster when they are made public at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Hillsborough papers to be published

    The front cover of 'With Hope In Your Heart' written by 51 year old Chris Whittle who lives in Burnley.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    Hillsborough Family Support Group members during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral after the release of previously unpublished papers realting to the Hillsborough disaster.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    Hillsborough Family Support Group members Jenny Hicks (left) and Margaret Aspinall (right) during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral after the release of previously unpublished papers realting to the Hillsborough disaster.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    Hillsborough Family Support Group member Margaret Aspinall, the mother of Hillsborough victim James Aspinall, during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral after the release of previously unpublished papers realting to the Hillsborough disaster.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    Hillsborough Family Support Group member Trevor Hicks speaks during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral after the release of previously unpublished papers realting to the Hillsborough disaster.