Hillsborough – Why the fight for Justice must keep going on

22 years have passed since 96 men, women and children lost their lives during the FA cup Semi- final at Hillsborough. 22 long years that the families of those who tragically died that day are still waiting for Justice. 22 long years that the Sun newspaper have went without issuing a proper apology, an apology that hasn’t been made with their sales figures in the Merseyside area in mind. And also, 22 long years have passed and still the majority of people (including Liverpool fans) still don’t know what happened on that day. This must be corrected once and for-all, the truth must be spread and everybody should know what happened that day, and why the families of the 96 should have their Justice so they can finally put their loved ones to rest, albeit it will be 22 years too late.

It was a bright sunny day in Sheffield in the north of England that day. The sun was shining; there was not a cloud in the Sky. It was a perfect day for a game of football. Most Reds travelled over the Pennines in good spirits. Many fans were told to be at the Leppings lane end approximately 15 minutes before kick -off. It had said so on the tickets. Heavy traffic on the motorway had caused a back-up and a lot of coaches arrived at the same time, this ensured many fans would be arriving at the ground at the same time. The bottleneck outside the turnstiles of the Leppings lane end began to fill, hundreds of fans started to become crushed and panic ensued. The sensible thing would have been to delay kick-off.

Then Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield ordered for the  exit gate C to be opened, all of a sudden the hundreds of people outside the ground were swept in the ground, their tickets still redundant. The Middle Pen was already fairly full and operating with full capacity. It should have been blocked off, it wasn’t and people were swept down the tunnel and lives were lost. Fans who minutes previously had been fighting for their own lives, suddenly became part-time paramedics, ripping off advertisement hoardings to carry the injured,  giving CPR and doing their best whilst the policemen stood there idle assuming it was a riot. It was a harrowing experience for anyone that was there.

The families of the people were back in their homes, when all of a sudden news broke of an incident at the ground. The lack of mobile phones made the ability to contact family and friends impossible. People such as Trevor Hicks lost his two daughters in the Leppings Lane end, while he was in the stand. Spouses and parents panicked, as they travelled to Sheffield in the hope of recovering some hope of finding their loved ones. A mortuary was set up in the gymnasium of the ground, where the bodies were laid out for identification, the hospitals around Sheffield were bombarded with people who had still no idea where their loved ones where.

Anfield became a shrine. Fans paid their respects to those who died by laying flowers, scarfs and the like on the pitch and on The Kop. The manager, Kenny Dalglish and all of the players went around and visited the families of the victims, visited those in hospital and more importantly went to all the funerals of the dead. They couldn’t have done more, and the work they did is still recognised to this day.

On the Wednesday after the disaster, The Sun newspaper published horrific and untruthful rumours about what happened in the ground that day. These included that Liverpool fans had robbed from the dead, urinated on the dead and urinated a police officer giving the kiss of life to a victim; this was simply not true. They also laid the blame for the disaster at the Liverpool fans’ doors (something which was earlier indicated at by Duckenfield, even though he ordered the gate to be opened). This lead to a boycott of the newspaper by Liverpool fans, they have apologised many times with a view to recovering lost sales on Merseyside but it has been to no avail.

The Taylor Report which was released in August 1989 put pay to the outrageous claims made by The Sun. Lord Justice Taylor came to the conclusion that the disaster was caused by ‘gross negligence’ and ‘a systematic failure of police control’. This put the blame squarely at David Duckenfield’s feet, and still to this day he has still not been held accountable for his actions. Shortly afterwards he retired on a full pension.

Anne Williams should also be thought of in this instance. She has fought relentlessly to try and find out the full facts as to why her son Kevin died. She has had two hearings and presented new evidence to try and get justice for her son. Anne and five other families went to the High Court to have a fresh inquest into her son’s death. The coroner originally ruled that everybody was either dead or brain dead at 3:15pm and this was the cut-off point. Anne has argued that her son could have been saved, and that he was still alive and calling for his mother up to an hour later.

It took up until the 20th anniversary for somebody to take full responsibility for the disaster, but justice has still not been done. The fight for Justice is still on-going and unfortunately, it looks like it will be on-going for some time. But for many people out there, the truth is still not known as outrageous slurs are thrown at the families who lost loved ones. Hopefully one day everyone will know the truth and more importantly the families will have their Justice, it’s been a long time coming.

Justice for the 96

You’ll Never Walk Alone


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