Hillsborough Tragedy: David Cameron Makes 'Profound Apology'

Cameron Apologises For Hillsborough 'Double Injustice'

David Cameron has said he is "profoundly sorry" for the time taken to get to the truth about what happened during the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 people died.

Documents published today revealed that police and emergency services made "strenuous attempts" to deflect the blame for the Hillsborough disaster onto innocent fans

The disclosures were made by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which has been overseeing the release of thousands of official documents relating to Britain's deadliest sporting disaster.

Ninety six Liverpool supporters died in a crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989, where their team were to meet Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.

Making a somber statement in the Commons today, the prime minister said "harrowing" report showed that the police ran criminal database and alcohol checks on the dead in an attempt to discredit them.

"It was wrong, quite profoundly wrong, that the police changed the record of what happend and tried to blame the fans," he said. "It is right for me to make a proper apology for the families of the 96."

"On behalf of the government, and indeed our country, I am profoundly sorry that this double injustice has been left uncorrected for so long.

"Today's report is black and white, the Liverpool fans were not the cause of the disaster."

Cameron added: "Several newspapers reported false allegations that fans were drunk and violent and stole from the dead.

"The Sun’s report sensationalised these allegations under a banner headline 'The Truth.' This was clearly wrong and caused huge offence, distress and hurt."

Labour leader Ed Miliband also issued an apology for what he said was previous Labour governments failures to get to the truth quicker.

"We on this side also apologise for the families that we did not do enough to help," he said.

Liverpool MP Steve Rotheram said a fresh coroners inquest be ordered in the the tragedy so that justice was seen to be done.

"Finally we have the undeniable truth, a truth that we know now many innocent people who could and should have been saved," he told MPs.

Introducing the report to the Hillsborough families at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, Bishop James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool and chairman of the panel, said: "For nearly a quarter of a century the families of the 96 and the survivors of Hillsborough have nursed an open wound waiting for answers to unresolved questions.

"It has been a frustrating and painful experience adding to their grief.

"In spite of all the investigations they have sensed that their search for truth and justice has been thwarted and that no-one has been held accountable.

"The documents disclosed to and analysed by the panel show that the tragedy should never have happened.

"There were clear operational failures in response to the disaster and in its aftermath their were strenuous attempts to deflect the blame onto the fans.

"The panel's detailed report shows how vulnerable victims, survivors and their families are when transparency and accountability are compromised.

"My colleagues and I were from the start of our work impressed by the dignified determination of the families."

He added: "The panel produces this report without any presumption of where it will lead. But it does so in the profound hope that greater transparency will bring to the families and to the wider public a greater understanding of the tragedy and its aftermath.

"For it is only with this transparency that the families and survivors, who have behaved with such dignity, can with some sense of truth and justice cherish the memory of their 96 loved ones."

Downing Street confirmed that Cameron received a copy of the Hillsborough report this morning, after it was seen by the families.


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