Sports

Apr 272016
 
Calls for Hillsborough accountability
TributesImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fresh tributes are being left at Hillsborough stadium following the conclusion of the inquests

Calls are being made for senior police officers to be held accountable for the deaths of 96 fans in the Hillsborough disaster.

Inquest jurors found they were unlawfully killed and pinpointed police failures before and after the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram said “now it is about accountability”.

The families of those who died declared justice had been done after the jury reached its conclusions.

Their focus has now turned to whether criminal prosecutions will follow in light of the evidence that emerged.

How the truth was uncovered

Live updates and reaction

Hillsborough: From tragedy to truth

Lawyers acting on behalf of the families said the inquests had “completely vindicated” their 27-year battle for the truth.

Two ongoing criminal investigations into the disaster and its aftermath could finish by the end of 2016.

Image copyright Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty
Image caption A commemoration event is being held outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool on Wednesday

A police inquiry is looking at the lead-up to the crush on the day of the match, while a separate inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating allegations of a cover-up.

Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, David Cameron paid tribute to the families whose “Twenty-seven-year search for justice has been met with obfuscation and hostility instead of sympathy and answers.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn paid tribute to the “dignity” of campaigning relatives, praising their “steadfastness and determination”.

He called for “all those involved in the lies, smears and cover-ups [to] now be held to account”.

Media captionLiverpool reflects on Hillsborough verdict
Image copyright PA
Image caption Joanna Hamilton, whose brother Roy died in the Hillsborough disaster, spoke during a press conference

Val Yates, who survived the disaster, wants the police put in the spotlight. “It raises a whole new set of questions and people will still need to carry on fighting,” she said.

“There’s been truth, there’s been justice and now there has to be accountability. We were all cleared, we were exonerated. We were not murderers, we did not kill our own.

“Their incompetence, negligence, mismanagement – they did it.”

Anne Burkett, the mother of Peter, 24, who had travelled to the match with friends, said the story of Hillsborough was one of “human tragedy”.

She added: “It is also a story of deceit and lies, of institutional defensiveness defeating truth and justice. It is evidence of a culture of denial within South Yorkshire Police.”

How the disaster unfolded

Sun and Times criticised for front pages

Mr Rotheram, who was also present on the day of the disaster, said: “Justice has been served by the verdicts and now it is about accountability.”

Barry Devonside, whose 18-year-old son Christopher died, said fans and the families were “treated in the most despicable of ways” by South Yorkshire Police who “should have been upholding the law”.

He called for charges to be brought against the most “high-ranking police officers”, adding: “This should never be allowed to happen again.”

Image copyright Hillsborough inquests
Image caption The jury was shown pictures of fans in the Leppings Lane end of the stadium as the disaster unfolded

Dr John Ashton, who was at the match, described the apologies as “mealy-mouthed”. He said there was a “moral crisis in leadership” and “people won’t take responsibility when things go wrong”.

Becky Shah, whose 38-year-old mother Inger died in the disaster, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that everything we’ve been saying for 27 years has finally been proven to be correct.

“The fans have [been] vindicated, totally exonerated from any blame whatsoever. The blame is now lying squarely where it belongs”.

The jury concluded that mistakes by South Yorkshire Police (SYP) and South Yorkshire Ambulance Service on the day had “caused or contributed” to the disaster but the fans did not.

Relatives accused SYP of “a culture of denial”.

‘Avoiding the blame’

Stephen Wright, whose brother Graham, 17, died in the tragedy, said: “The evidence over the past two years has been overwhelming, yet South Yorkshire Police and their senior officers have tried to look truth in the eye and deny responsibility and shift blame on to others.”

Liverpool Echo editor Alistair Machray said: “To spend the next 27 years avoiding the blame, in fact worse than that, seeking to pin the blame on football supporters who, as enquiries and now inquests have now concluded were absolutely blameless, that is scandalous.

“Moving on and justice is not possible until accountability has taken place.”

Labour MP Andy Burnham, who has supported the campaign, said: “This has been the greatest miscarriage of justice of our times.

“But, finally, it is over.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hillsborough campaigner Trevor Hicks spoke after the conclusions were delivered

The names of all those who died will be read out at a commemoration service outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool later with 96 lanterns and 96 roses laid on the steps.

Home Secretary Theresa May is due to give the government’s response to the jury’s conclusions in the House of Commons later.

Meanwhile, the Sun has been criticised for not carrying the story on its front page on Wednesday.

The paper sparked a mass boycott when, four days after the disaster, it ran a front-page story headlined “The Truth”, alleging some fans had picked victims’ pockets and urinated on police.

It ran a full-page apology in 2012 over its reporting of the disaster after years of criticism.

Speaking after the jury’s conclusions, former editor Kelvin McKenzie said he was “profoundly sorry for the hurt” caused.

Media captionFormer Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie: “I was completely duped”

A spokesman for the paper said it was covering the conclusion of the inquests on pages eight and nine, and in its leader column.

Survivor Philip Goveas, who was 31 at the time, said the paper’s coverage was “an absolute joke and a disgrace”.

Hillsborough campaigner Trevor Hicks, whose daughters Sarah and Victoria died in the disaster, said he had spent “an awful long time” wondering “what purpose in life I had”.

“It robs you of everything,” he said.

Mr Hicks added that the inquests’ conclusions would not mark the “end of the road” for the families. They would no longer be “driving” the campaign, but will continue to watch developments.


‘I couldn’t mention Hillsborough’

Media captionA former Hillsborough police officer on her guilt at not saving a 14-year-old victim

Former South Yorkshire Police officer Fiona Nicol tried to save 14-year-old victim Adam Spearritt as the disaster unfolded.

Speaking after the inquests concluded, she described how she “couldn’t mention the word Hillsborough without getting upset” for 10 or 15 years, and still remembers “certain people’s faces”.

She said: “It was my day off but because it was such a big match they asked for volunteers to work.”

Ms Nicol said she has never been to a football match since that day, and won’t let her children go to matches “even thought they are adults”.


Match commander, Ch Supt David Duckenfield, was found “responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence” due to a breach of his duty of care to the fans.

Barrister Paul Greaney, QC, who represented the rank-and-file officers at the Hillsborough inquests and questioned Mr Duckenfield as he made his apology to fans, said he had expected him to “answer the questions” he put to him.

He told the BBC: “What surprised me was the starkness of his answers and the lack of qualification.”

In pictures: Hillsborough reaction

Only victim not to be represented by family at inquests

BBC match commentator Alan Green, who was at the FA Cup semi-final match on 15 April 1989, said he “cried with relief” when he heard the jurors’ answer to Question 6 (unlawful killing).

He said he also felt “anger and guilt” and paid tribute to the “extraordinary strength, persistence and dignity” of the families over “27 horrible years”.

Mr Green said he was “constantly thinking about the dignity of the fans” trying to load bodies onto makeshift stretchers as police were “standing around doing nothing”, and added the police and ambulance response had been “chaotic”.


Image caption Hillsborough campaigner Trevor Hicks was speaking at Liverpool Cathedral to BBC presenter Dan Walker
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Photographs of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster were displayed during a press conference

Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation into the disaster, is being led by Assistant Commissioner Jon Stoddart.

Prosecutors have said they would “formally consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body based upon all the available evidence”.

The IPCC is also considering offences including perverting the course of justice, perjury, and misconduct in public office.

14 questions the jury answered

Current SYP Chief Constable David Crompton said the force “got the policing… catastrophically wrong”.

He said his force “unequivocally” accepted the conclusions of unlawful killing and the wider findings.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust Chief Executive, Rod Barnes said it “fully accepted” the jury’s conclusions that mistakes were made, adding it was “truly sorry”.


Who were the 96 victims?

Media captionHillsborough: Remembering the 96 victims

Read profiles of all those who died in the disaster


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Apr 272016
 
Media captionThe BBC’s Lucy Manning looks at the failings that contributed to the disaster

Families of the 96 fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster have declared justice has been done after an inquests jury found they were unlawfully killed.

Lawyers acting on their behalf said the conclusions had “completely vindicated” their 27-year battle for the truth.

Jurors found police failures before and during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final led to the fatal crush.

Two criminal investigations into the disaster and its aftermath are ongoing and could finish by the end of 2016.

A police probe is looking at the lead-up to the crush on the day of the match, while a separate inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the allegations of a cover-up afterwards.

Media captionJeremy Cooke speaks to three women who lost family members, but never gave up in the fight for truth
Image copyright PA
Image caption Joanna Hamilton, whose brother Roy died in the Hillsborough disaster, spoke during a press conference

Anne Burkett, the mother of Peter, 24, who had travelled to the match with friends, said the story of Hillsborough was one of “human tragedy”.

She added: “It is also a story of deceit and lies, of institutional defensiveness defeating truth and justice. It is evidence of a culture of denial within South Yorkshire Police.”

How the disaster unfolded

What the police chief knew

Five key mistakes

Families and players react to conclusions

The jury concluded that mistakes by South Yorkshire Police (SYP) and South Yorkshire Ambulance Service on the day had “caused or contributed” to the disaster.

Fans had not contributed to the danger unfolding at the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s ground on 15 April 1989, the inquests concluded earlier.

Image copyright Hillsborough inquests
Image caption The jury was shown pictures of fans in the Leppings Lane end of the stadium as the disaster unfolded

Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram, who was at Hillsborough on the day of the disaster, said: “Justice has been served by the verdicts and now it is about accountability.”

The focus of the families has now turned to whether criminal prosecutions will follow in light of the evidence that emerged.

Relatives of those who died as a result of the fatal crush at Liverpool’s match against Nottingham Forest accused SYP of “a culture of denial”.

Front page criticised

Stephen Wright, whose brother Graham, 17, died in the tragedy, said: “The evidence over the past two years has been overwhelming, yet South Yorkshire Police and their senior officers have tried to look truth in the eye and deny responsibility and shift blame on to others.”

Labour MP Andy Burnham, who has supported the campaign, said: “This has been the greatest miscarriage of justice of our times.

“But, finally, it is over.”

The names of all those who died will be read out at a commemoration service outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool on Wednesday.

There will be 96 lanterns and 96 red roses laid on the steps of the hall.

Home Secretary Theresa May is due to give the government’s response to the jury’s conclusions in the House of Commons later.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hillsborough campaigner Trevor Hicks spoke after the conclusions were delivered

Meanwhile, the Sun has been criticised for not carrying the story on its front page on Wednesday.

The paper sparked a mass boycott when, four days after the disaster, it ran a front-page story headlined “The Truth”, which alleged some fans had picked victims’ pockets and urinated on police.

It ran a full-page apology in 2012 over its reporting of the disaster after years of criticism.

Speaking after the jury’s conclusions were announced, former editor Kelvin McKenzie said he was “profoundly sorry for the hurt” caused.

A spokesman for the paper said it was covering the conclusion of the inquests on pages eight and nine, and in its leader column.

Survivor Philip Goveas, who was 31 at the time, said the paper’s coverage was “an absolute joke and a disgrace”.

Following the longest inquests in British history, lasting more than two years, the jury found police errors had caused a dangerous situation at the turnstiles and failures by commanding officers had led to a crush on the terraces.

The match commander, Ch Supt David Duckenfield, was found “responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence” due to a breach of his duty of care to the fans.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Photographs of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster were displayed during a press conference

Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation into the disaster, is being led by Assistant Commissioner Jon Stoddart.

Prosecutors have said they would “formally consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body based upon all the available evidence”.

The IPCC is also considering offences including perverting the course of justice, perjury, and misconduct in public office.

It has taken hundreds of statements from police officers.

The watchdog is looking at alleged criminality and alleged police misconduct including:

  • Alleged amendments to police accounts
  • Accusations that misleading information was passed to the media, MPs, Parliament and the investigations and inquiries set up immediately after the disaster
  • The checking of blood alcohol levels and undertaking of police national computer checks on the dead and injured
  • The role of West Midlands Police and those who led its investigation after the 1989 disaster
  • Allegations that families and campaigners were subject to surveillance after the disaster

Nine jurors reached unanimous decisions on all but one of the 14 questions at the inquests in Warrington, Cheshire.

The coroner Sir John Goldring said he would accept a majority decision about whether the fans were unlawfully killed – seven jurors agreed they were.

When the the unlawful killing conclusion was revealed, families were seen hugging each other in the public gallery and some punched the air.

Image copyright Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty
Image caption A commemoration event is being held outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool on Wednesday

Jurors at the new inquests found the direct medical cause of death was compression asphyxia in all but three of the victims.

The earliest time of death was estimated from 14:57 and the last up to 17:00.

Tony Bland, the 96th victim, died in 1993 after being left brain damaged, due to or as a consequence of compression asphyxia.

The jury also concluded:

  • Police errors caused a dangerous situation at the turnstiles
  • Failures by commanding officers caused a crush on the terraces
  • There were mistakes in the police control box over the order to open the Leppings Lane end exit gates
  • Defects at the stadium, including calculations over crowd capacity, contributed to the disaster
  • There was an error in the safety certification of the Hillsborough stadium
  • South Yorkshire Police (SYP) and South Yorkshire Ambulance Service (SYAS) delayed declaring a major incident
  • The emergency response was therefore delayed
  • Sheffield Wednesday failed to approve the plans for dedicated turnstiles for each pen
  • There was inadequate signage at the club and misleading information on match tickets
  • Club officials should have requested a delay in kick off as they were aware of a huge number of fans outside shortly before the game was due to start

14 questions the jury answered

Current SYP Chief Constable David Crompton said the force “got the policing… catastrophically wrong”.

He said his force “unequivocally” accepted the conclusions of unlawful killing and the wider findings.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust Chief Executive, Rod Barnes said it “fully accepted” the jury’s conclusions that mistakes were made, adding it was “truly sorry”.


Who were the 96 victims?

Media captionHillsborough: Remembering the 96 victims

Read profiles of all those who died in the disaster


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Manchester City 0-0 Real Madrid

 Posted by at 5:26 AM
Apr 272016
 
City have kept three home clean sheets in a row in the Champions League after managing just one in their previous 17 ties at Etihad Stadium

Joe Hart kept Manchester City’s hopes of reaching their first Champions League final alive with two brilliant late saves that ensured their semi-final first leg with Real Madrid finished goalless.

With star striker Cristiano Ronaldo missing because of a thigh injury, a cautious Real side offered little goal threat until the closing stages.

But in the last 20 minutes, Jese headed against the bar for the Spanish side before Hart brilliantly denied Casemiro and Pepe from corners.

Hart showed great reactions to keep out Casemiro’s header with his foot but his block to deny Pepe, who was unmarked and five yards from goal, is the standout reason City will travel to Spain next week with a precious clean sheet.

The closest City came to a goal of their own was when Keylor Navas tipped over Kevin de Bruyne’s dipping free-kick in stoppage time.

Relive a tense first leg at Etihad Stadium

Football Daily podcast: ‘A professional European display by Manchester City’

That was Navas’ only save of a game that was billed as a shootout between two attacking sides but was, in fact, a game largely devoid of goalmouth action.

City will take the positives from denying Real an away goal but England’s last remaining representatives in Europe’s elite competition still face a huge task if they are to reach the final, in Milan on 28 May.

Their failure to score at home means former Real boss Manuel Pellegrini does not have a lead to take back to the Bernabeu, where Zinedine Zidane’s side have not conceded a goal in the Champions League all season.

Since 2009-10, Real Madrid have won just 43% of their Champions League games without Ronaldo – who was sat on the away bench – and 71% with him playing

No Ronaldo, no Real threat

The news Ronaldo’s thigh muscle was deemed too tight for him to play was clearly a massive boost for City before their first Champions League semi-final.

Without their 47-goal top scorer, a Real side that had scored 133 goals in their previous 46 games this season seemed reluctant to commit men forward and struggled to create chances.

Gareth Bale, playing his first game in England since his £85m move to Real from Spurs in 2013, was unable to provide the spark in Ronaldo’s absence.

Madrid forward Bale attempted five shots at goal – more than the entire City team

Bale did get the better of Gael Clichy early on down the right but failed to find a team-mate with his crosses and his finishing was also below his usual standards.

The Wales winger cut in to send one curling shot bouncing wide in the second half but disappointed with a free-kick from the edge of the box which he fired against the City wall.

Both of Real’s late chances came from set-pieces and they struggled to open up City.

City also shot-shy

The home side were not helped by David Silva being forced off by injury before half-time and were short of their customary zip in the final third.

Sergio Aguero was starved of service and only managed one shot at goal, which came when he fired over from the edge of the box at the start of the second half.

Aguero only had two touches inside the Madrid penalty area, attempting his only shot from just outside the box

The former Atletico Madrid striker has now played Real 13 times in his career and has still never beaten them, but will get another chance on Wednesday, 4 May.

In truth, City’s whole attack will have to do better in the second leg.

De Bruyne, who started in the number 10 role but ended up on the left after Silva’s injury, was also short of inspiration, Jesus Navas made few inroads down the right and Kelechi Iheanacho’s pace had little impact.

Man of the match – Joe Hart

The City keeper had little to do in the early stages and his first save did not come until he kept out a Sergio Ramos header after the break, but the England international again came to his side’s rescue with his two stops from Real set-pieces in the closing stages

Post-match reaction

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini:

“We played a very intense game and defended well. We tried to create until David Silva got injured then we lost the ball too much. If you cannot win then a 0-0 draw is good.

“We knew they were going to play a slow game and that is why we pressed as a team. When we had the ball, we could not make the difference. We could not score.”

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany:

“It is too close to call at the moment – 0-0 is a very dangerous scoreline.

“From the moment we manage to score in Madrid, it will be very different.

“It is hard to keep a clean sheet against such an attacking team. We can be proud of what we have achieved in this first leg.”

What next?

The first leg of the other semi-final, between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, takes place in Spain on Wednesday.

Before their trip to Madrid, City travel to Southampton on Sunday in a 16:30 BST kick-off. With three league games remaining, Pellegrini’s side are still in need of Premier League points to secure a top-four finish that will make sure of Champions League football next season too.

Real, third in La Liga and a point behind leaders Barcelona, are already certain of their Champions League place but are still in the title race. They also have an away game this weekend – against Real Sociedad at 15:00 BST on Saturday.

Stats of the day

  • The first goal attempt of the game – by City defender Nicolas Otamendi – came after 27 minutes, the latest in any Champions League game this season.
  • Real Madrid were involved in only their ninth goalless draw in their 223rd Champions League game.
  • They have won just 43% of their Champions League games without Ronaldo since 2009-10 (3/7), and 71% with him.
  • This was just the fourth Champions League game this season without a first-half shot on target.
  • City have managed only three shots on target in total their past three Champions League home games (one in each).
  • Aguero has now gone 432 minutes without having a shot on target in the Champions League.
  • De Bruyne completed just 62.8% of his passes, the lowest figure for any outfield player.

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