THE heads of the police and ambulance forces involved in the Hillsborough disaster should resign, the brother of one of the victims has said.
Stephen Kelly lost his brother Mick, 38, in the crowd crushing tragedy at the FA cup semi-final on April 15, 1989.
Third-generation Irishman Mick was one of 96 fatalities – a further 766 were injured in the incident.
Yesterday, a two-year inquest concluded that members of South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Ambulance Service had “caused or contributed” to the disaster.
“They’re trying to cover their own backs still,” said Mr Kelly, who attended almost every day of the inquest.
“It just shows that the authorities attitudes haven’t changed.”
“I’m calling for the present chief constable of the South Yorkshire Police and the chief executive of the ambulance service to hand in their resignations over this,” he told The Irish Post.
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Prosecutors acting on behalf of the families of the victims said yesterday they would “formally consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body based upon all the available evidence”.
Mr Kelly, who has roots in Co. Offaly, said this is something he would support.
“Anyone who was found to be somewhat responsible through their actions or lack of actions – that was a criminal act, it was negligent,” he said.
“They should face the courts.”
“To know that this is the result makes us feel vindicated,” he added.
“It’s difficult to know that our 27 year fight have have been avoided if this had come out sooner.”
Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation into the disaster, is continuing, while the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the allegations of a cover-up afterwards.
What happened at the Hillsborough disaster?
- The FA Cup semi-final of the 1988/89 season between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was to take place in Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, on April 15, 1989
- Thousands of fans were making their way through the turnstiles attempting to gain entry to the grounds but police quickly identified safety concerns
- To alleviate pressure, they opened three larger gates that are normally used for departing football fans. Once these were opened, thousands of fans moved into a narrow tunnel creating pressure at the front
- The crowds were forced forward by the weight of the thousands behind them and pressed against railings and walls
- The space was so tightly packed that people died of compressive asphyxia while standing in the tunnel
- In total, 96 people were killed with a further 766 suffering injuries
- The disaster sparked national controversy. The Sun ran a headline saying “The Truth” just four days after the incident occurred – with a story seen by many to be victim blaming. Liverpool newsagents boycotted the issue while many subscribers cancelled their order for The Sun over the controversial front page
- The Hillsborough disaster was marked on its 10th anniversary with a candle-lit ceremony and minute’s silence at Liverpool FC’s home ground, Anfield
- The 20th anniversary in 2009 was marked with a similar ceremony with over 28,000 people in attendance. A candle for each of the 96 victims was lit
- The first hearing of an inquest happened shortly after the disaster in 1989 and returned a verdict of accidental death in 1991. This decision dismayed the families of the victims who began a lengthy campaign to have a second inquest held. That opened in March 2014 and came to a conclusion on April 26, 2016.