This week is going down in history as the week when the British Parliament finally decided to release all papers in connection with the Hillsborough stadium disaster on 15 April 1989 when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death. What initially looked like crowd troubles turned out to be a chain of bad decision making by the police on the day.
Ironically it was a Tory government that ordered an investigation and the following cover up of police mistakes in order to keep the image of the rowdy football fans intact. And now another Conservative government decided to make all the relevant files accessible for the public. Over the years relatives of the dead and those present on the day began voicing their anger and frustration at the decision to keep all files closed, which has now been overturned thanks to an e-petition that gathered almost 140000 signatures. Prime Minister David Cameron was also told to apologize to the families of the victims about the way they have been dealt with by the Thatcher government in the aftermath.
David Conn of the Guardian wrote:
“The families of the 96, mostly young, people who died on the terraces of Hillsborough have waited 22 years, not only for the authorities culpable to acknowledge their responsibility. It has also taken this long for the families’ cause to be understood by the public, who were largely taken in by false stories of drunken and ticketless fans, on to whom the South Yorkshire police sought to deflect blame from their own negligence. Now, finally, people are coming to accept Hillsborough as a major miscarriage of justice…”
In his final report Lord Justice Taylor stated that he was aggrieved by the fact that “95 people died under the eyes of those controlling the event” (Read more here) thus condemning the actions of the police on the day.
Almost 40000 documents will now be available to the public and will certainly lead to further inquiries into the tragedy and the time ever since. It took 22 years until justice has finally been restored.