New inquest on Hillsborough

Dominic Grieve
Attorney General Dominic Grieve. Photo: PA

The Attorney General has paved the way for a fresh inquest to be held into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans in the Hillsborough disaster 23 years ago.

Dominic Grieve QC said he will apply to the High Court to have the verdicts of the original hearing quashed so a new one can be held.

The move comes after a damning report into the disaster laid bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy on to its victims.

Mr Grieve said his consideration of the evidence was far from over, but he was taking the exceptional step of indicating he must apply for new inquests to be held on the basis of the evidence he has already read.

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

Mr Grieve said: "My consideration of the evidence is far from complete but, given the anxiety further delay may cause the families affected by the Hillsborough disaster, I have decided to take an exceptional course and state at this stage that, on the basis of what I have already seen, I have determined that I must make an application to the court.

"In doing so, I should make it clear that further work will need to be done before any application can be made.

"In particular, there was not one inquest but 96.

"My current view is that I will apply to have every one of those 96 inquests quashed."

He went on: "I believe that these deaths, arising as they do from a common chain of events, should all be considered afresh.

"However, before reaching any final view on the scope of the application, I want to give the families affected the opportunity to make any representations in respect of the family member or members they lost.

"I will therefore be in contact with each family seeking views."

South Yorkshire Police will take just two weeks to give the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) the names and addresses of up to 1,000 officers who were on duty on the day of the Hillsborough disaster.

Chief Constable David Crompton told the Home Affairs Select Committee there were 100 serving officers who were on duty, several hundred retired officers, and a few hundred from other forces.

The IPCC announced a week ago that it was launching the biggest investigation yet into police action after an independent panel reported there was a cover-up in the aftermath of the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the 1989 disaster.

Mr Crompton, who agreed under questioning that some police had been "sick" to deflect blame on to fans, said his force was not making decisions about officers' culpability and was leaving it to the IPCC.