A pre-inquest hearing will take place in London on 25 April 2013 into the deaths of 96 Liverpool football supporters, who died on 15 April 1989 in the Hillsborough disaster.
Lord Justice Goldring has been appointed the coroner for the new inquests after the original inquest verdicts were quashed by the High Court in December. The Coroner will officially open the new inquests into the deaths and will hear submissions on a number of matters, including the timing and location of the inquests themselves before making any decision.
Bindmans solicitor Najma Rasul is representing the family of Joan Hope, 73, from Holywell, Flintshire who lost her 18 year old son John McBrien in the disaster. She said:
“Having waited for over 24 years, it is important that the fresh inquests are thorough, open, and transparent, so that the families can finally find out how their loved ones died and get the justice that they deserve.”
Mrs Hope said:
“We hope that the truth will finally come out and the lies exposed so that the general public know what really happened. John’s death has destroyed our family. I couldn’t have wished for a better son, he was wonderful. I really loved him. Everyone adored him. Losing someone so precious is something you can never come to terms with. We have been through so much suffering and the suffering continues. If it means having to go through the inquest again to find out the truth, it is something we have to do. The thought of it is absolutely horrible, it’s deeply upsetting, but we have to do it. We have to be strong and carry on. Nothing will bring John back, but I want to see justice done in my lifetime and those responsible held to account. Hopefully the correct verdict will be put in place, which for me is that they were all unlawfully killed.”
Details of the court
The hearing will take place at: Court 80, Principal Registry of the Family Division, First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BP
Mrs Hope’s son John McBrien, 18, died along with 95 others after a crush at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium, in 1989. John had travelled to Sheffield with two coach loads of fans from the Deeside Liverpool Supporters Club.
The 96 Liverpool supporters died in a crush at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989 where their team was to meet Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.
The original inquest verdicts of accidental death angered many of the bereaved families, who were told at the 1990 hearing that all the victims had been injured by 3.15pm on the day of the match. Evidence covering the response by the emergency services after that time was not heard at the inquest led by Dr Stefan Popper.
Mrs Joan Hope, a former teacher personally represented her family at the 1990/ 1991 inquests, without legal representation which lasted several months. A verdict of accidental death was recorded for all of the 96 victims. The families have since campaigned to challenge the verdict for more than 2 decades.
A report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel last September revealed that South Yorkshire Police had conspired to blame the 96 victims in order to shift responsibility from themselves. The police had orchestrated a cover-up, falsified documents and blamed innocent supporters. The lives of 41 fans could have been saved. More importantly the report clears supporters of any wrongdoing or blame for the disaster.