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Attorney General applies for new inquests into 96 Hillsborough deaths

Dominic Grieve, the AG for England and Wales, has announced that he will apply to the High Court to have the original verdict in the deaths of 96 football fans 23 years ago quashed.

The scene at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield on 15 April 1989.
The scene at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield on 15 April 1989.
Image: David and John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images

AN APPLICATION TO quash the original verdicts in the deaths of 96 people in the Hillsborough disaster 23 years ago has been made to the High Court in London today.

The application by the Attorney General for England and Wales, Dominic Grieve, comes after a report in September found new medical evidence that indicated that dozens who died could possibly have survived with better medical care.

Ninety-six people were crushed to death at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield in April 1989 after police crowd control broke down. A recent scrutiny of documents relating to the disaster found that police conspired to cover-up their culpability in the aftermath and blame Liverpool fans.

The original inquest into the death of then 95 (later 96) people returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’ but the decision of the coroner to impose a cut-off time of 3.15pm on the fateful day after which no evidence about what happened to the victims could be heard proved controversial.

In a statement, the Attorney General said: “I believe that the case for the High Court to quash the original inquests is a good one. My application has now been lodged with the Court. It is my intention to appear to argue the case at the hearing that will take place in the High Court.”

The application will be based on new medical evidence with a scrutiny of the medical records of the victims by Dr Bill Kirkup, a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, determining that dozens of those who died had the potential to survive with more adequate treatment.

“The principal ground for the application is the new medical evidence. The alteration to police and emergency services evidence is a supporting factor as is stadium safety,” the Attorney General’s Office said.

It added that the views of the families of the 96 victims wee sought and all supported the quashing of the original verdict and the ordering of new inquests. The coroners for South and West Yorkshire also support the application.

A date is still to be set for the new hearing.

Read: 2,400 police could be probed over Hillsborough disaster

Read: Hillsborough: Police chief Bettison resigns, says he never blamed fans

The Hillsborough documents: What we’ve learned so far

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Hugh O'Connell

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