Hillsborough report reveals cover-up

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A new report into the cause of the Hillsborough disaster has concluded that Liverpool fans were not to blame for the tragedy, and revealed police and emergency services made "strenuous attempts" to deflect blame onto innocent fans.

The Independent Hillsborough Panel published today's report, and also concluded "a failure of police control" along with "multiple failures" within other organisations compromised crowd safety at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989.

More than 400,000 pages of previously unpublished official documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster were released. The panel's two year review of the disaster found that "clear operational failures" led to the tragedy, and the subsequent attempts by South Yorkshire Police and ambulance service to cover up the aftermath by altering statements.

The report also stated that evidence showed "conclusively" that Liverpool fans "neither caused nor contributed to the deaths."

The chairman of the panel, the Rt Rev James Jones, published the 395-page report explaining the contents of the documents, which backed up the Taylor Report's original conclusion of police failure, but also revealed the extent of the cover-up within other emergency services.

New evidence also revealed the inadequacy of the stadium's crush barriers, the turnstiles and that ground capacity had been over-calculated.

More than 23 years after 96 supporters died on the Sheffield terraces, the families of the victims gave the panel a standing ovation in Liverpool Cathedral after the findings were delivered.

The families of the 96 Liverpool supporters killed in the tragedy were the first to view the new papers at 8am this morning, and the Hillsborough Independent Panel will organise the general release of the unpublished documents later today.

In a speech to the House of Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "profoundly sorry" for the double injustice suffered by the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

Mr Cameron said: "With the weight of the new evidence in this Report, it is right for me today as Prime Minister to make a proper apology to the families of the 96 for all they have suffered over the past 23 years.

"Indeed, the new evidence that we are presented with today makes clear that these families have suffered a double injustice.

"The injustice of the appalling events - the failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth. And the injustice of the denigration of the deceased - that they were somehow at fault for their own deaths."

The Prime Minister also confirmed Attorney General Dominic Grieve will review the report before deciding whether to apply to the High Court to quash the original inquest's findings and to order a new one.

The new papers contain information from around 80 organisations, including the government, police, emergency services, Sheffield City Council and the South Yorkshire coroner.

The Hillsborough disaster is one of the worst sporting tragedies in Britain, as Liverpool supporters died in a crush on the terraces at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989.

Sheffield Wednesday have also released a statement "offering our sincere condolences and an apology to all families who have suffered as a consequence of the tragic events of 15 April, 1989."

The full report and the official documents released today will be made available to the public at a later date.

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