Sunday, 15 April 2012

The sun shone that day too

Shadows on the pitch. There's something about the sunshine at a late-season game, moreso those at the latter stages of the Cup. Maybe it's a holiday feeling: on a coach with your mates, an ice cream when you get there even though the wind whips between streets, a day in the sun with long shadows and the right result.

Shadows on the pitch. Not fans dying.

Today is the twenty-third anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster. Ninety-six Liverpool fans died as a result of a crush at their FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest, played at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground on April 15th 1989.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died because the police and the club failed to prevent overcrowding. Remember, these were the days of terraces and fences. Where crowd control equalled containment. Where sections of terraces were called pens. When fans were treated like cattle.

The interim Taylor Report into the disaster had far-reaching consequences for the way football grounds are designed, managed and policed today. Lessons were clearly learned. Maybe there is more to learn, though.

Coroner Dr Stefan Popper limited the 1990 inquest to events occurring up to 3:15pm, on the basis that fans would have received their fatal injuries by this time. Lord Justice Taylor notes in his interim report that it was "improbable that quicker recourse to the emergency services would have saved more lives".

The inquest records that Kevin Williams, aged 15, died at Hillsborough of traumatic asphyxia. His mother, Anne, has long argued that independent evidence shows Kevin was still alive by 4pm. After ceaseless campaigning, including one of the few e-petitions to gather over 100,000 signatures, the Attorney General is to consider whether an application for a new inquest to be held.

This is not about unearthing conspiracies. This is not about compensation. This is about responsibility.

With responsibility comes accountability.

Let the Hillsborough Independent Panel release their findings in good time.

Let Kevin Williams have the inquest he deserves.

Let every lesson be learned.

Let there by justice for the 96.

By Simon Johnson with No comments


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