New inquest due over Hillsborough

Andover Advertiser: Tributes placed on the Shankly Gates next to the Hillsborough Memorial at Liverpool's Anfield Stadium Tributes placed on the Shankly Gates next to the Hillsborough Memorial at Liverpool's Anfield Stadium

Campaigning relatives of Hillsborough victims won a new inquest into their deaths after a battle for justice lasting almost quarter of a century - on the day a new police inquiry into the disaster was announced.

Their fight for the truth took a historic step forward when a panel of three High Court judges, headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, quashed the original accidental death verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush 23 years ago - and ordered a fresh inquest.

The unopposed, "exceptional" application to the court was made by the Government's top law officer, Attorney General Dominic Grieve. It follows the publication in September of a damning report laying bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy on to its victims.

The Liverpool supporters died at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15 1989, where their team were to meet Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.

The High Court judges ruled that it was "necessary, desirable and in the interests of justice" that a fresh inquest should be held.

Their decision came as a new police investigation into the disaster was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May. Former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart will lead the new inquiry.

The Home Secretary said: "I am determined to see a swift and thorough response to the findings of the Hillsborough Panel to deliver justice for the 96 football fans who died and the families who have fought so hard on their behalf."

Following the High Court's decision, Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling said: "The victims' families and survivors of the Hillsborough tragedy have seen their cause take another important step forward today. I will now do everything I can to help to get new inquests established quickly.

"I have received a request from the Doncaster and Bradford coroners for a judge to be appointed to conduct these inquests and I am today asking the Lord Chief Justice to make a recommendation to me on suitable candidates as soon as possible."

Trevor Hicks, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, spoke of his delight at the High Court's decision, saying: "Justice is on its way. Everything we've said has been proven to be correct."

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