• Premier League

New Hillsborough inquest proposed

ESPN staff
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Sir Bobby Charlton hands flowers to Ian Rush in honour of the Hillsborough tragedy © Getty Images
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The Attorney General is to apply to the High Court for a fresh inquest into the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters at Hillsborough.

Dominic Grieve QC said: "My consideration of the evidence is far from complete but, given the anxiety further delay may cause the families affected by the Hillsborough disaster, I have decided to take an exceptional course and state at this stage that, on the basis of what I have already seen, I have determined that I must make an application to the court.

"In doing so, I should make it clear that further work will need to be done before any application can be made. In particular, there was not one inquest but 96. My current view is that I will apply to have every one of those 96 inquests quashed."

He added: "I believe that these deaths, arising as they do from a common chain of events, should all be considered afresh.

"However, before reaching any final view on the scope of the application, I want to give the families affected the opportunity to make any representations in respect of the family member or members they lost. I will therefore be in contact with each family seeking views.''

The development is the latest to follow the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report into the 1989 disaster, which happened as Liverpool played Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final at Sheffield Wednesday's ground.

The report revealed that 41 of those who died could potentially have been saved with a better and swifter response from the emergency services. The original inquests imposed a cut-off time of 3.15pm, with the coroner ruling that the victims were unable to be saved after that time.

The verdict of those inquests - that the victims' deaths had been accidental - has always been contested by their relatives

Michael Mansfield QC, representing the relatives, hailed the Attorney General for his "extremely sensible decision" to apply for new inquests and said the original inquests had been carried out "on a false basis".

"Many families have refused to accept death certificates until a proper, thorough and independent hearing takes place," Mansfield said.

Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram said: "This application, if successful, will mean that evidence will be able to be heard after the 3.15pm cut off imposed by the original coroner in the 1989 inquests."

He described the announcement that new inquests will be applied for as "one of the biggest steps forward in the fight for justice for the families in 23 years".

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