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New Hillsborough inquests will get under way in 'early 2014'

A location for the inquests is still to be determined with victims’ families divided on the matter.

Donna Miller who lost her brother Paul Carlile arrives at a preliminary hearing in London today.
Donna Miller who lost her brother Paul Carlile arrives at a preliminary hearing in London today.
Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

INQUESTS INTO THE deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield 24 years ago will get under way in early 2014, a coroner has confirmed today.

Lord Justice Goldring told families at the High Court in London that they would not have to wait until the completion of an ongoing criminal investigation into the disaster which could take as long as two years to complete.

The location of the inquests will be confirmed next week amid an apparent dispute between families of the victims, some of whom would prefer the inquests be held in London, others who would prefer they are held in the North West where most of them are based.

New inquests were ordered last December after the quashing of the original verdict of ‘accidental death’ in the crushing to death of 96 football supporters at the FA Cup semi-final in April 1989.

The verdict was discredited by evidence which emerged in an independent panel report published last September.

The report found that dozens of those who died had the potential to survive had they received proper medical treatment and exposed a police attempt to cover-up their culpability for the disaster and smear Liverpool fans, portraying them as having been at fault.

At the family division of the High Court in London, the coroner told families today that the recent death of Anne Williams, whose son Kevin died at Hillsborough, was a “powerful reminder” of the urgency of getting the inquests under way.

Earlier, the Independent Police Complaints Commission released an update on its investigation into the disaster which it described as “the biggest criminal and misconduct investigation ever conducted into the police in England and Wales”.

The IPCC said that it had obtained in excess of 20,000 documents including some from the archive of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher but confirmed that some unnamed organisations have been resisting document disclosure.

Five retired officers from West Midlands Police, which carried out a now discredited investigation into the actions of South Yorkshire Police, have been interviewed by the IPCC as part of nearly 2,000 serving and former officers who are linked to the disaster and its aftermath.

Read: Hillsborough justice campaigner Anne Williams dies

The Hillsborough documents: What we’ve learned so far

Column: The full story of the Hillsborough disaster is still to come

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Hugh O'Connell

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