Hillsborough inquest verdicts quashed by High Court

File photo of Liverpool fans trying to escape severe overcrowding at Hillsborough. Credit: David Giles/PA Wire

The original Hillsborough inquest verdicts of accidental death have been quashed today by the High Court.

The victims' families said the ruling showed that "justice is on its way" for the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the crush at Sheffield Wednesday's ground 23 years ago.

ITV News' Nina Nannar reports:

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and two other judges in London ordered fresh inquests following an application by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

Liverpool football club welcomed today's ruling, with managing director Ian Ayre calling it "another positive step forward".

Lord Judge said each of those who died in the 1989 tragedy was a "helpless victim of this terrible event" and ruled it was in the interests of justice to hold a fresh inquest.

He said the "interests of justice must be served...however distressing the truth will be brought to light".

Referring to the victims' families, he said there had been a "profound, almost palpable belief that justice has not been done and that it cannot be done without and until the full truth is revealed".

After Lord Judge announced his decision, the court erupted in a loud round of applause and people started hugging and crying.

More than 40 families had made the journey to London for the hearing, while others watched by videolink from Liverpool.

Families of the victims visited a Hillsborough memorial at Anfield before travelling to London today. Credit: ITV News

Michelle Carlile, 44, clutching a photograph of her brother Paul, 19, who died at Hillsborough, said of the decision: "It is bitter-sweet. We have known the truth for 23 years."

James Saunders, managing director of Saunders Law Ltd, the solicitor who represents the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said:

A new police investigation into the disaster was also announced today.

Home Secretary Theresa May said former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart will lead the new inquiry, which will focus specifically on the 96 deaths of Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989.

Mr Stoddart will be able to recruit investigators and staff to his team, but he will not be allowed to employ officers or former officers with any prior connection to the Hillsborough disaster.

The announcements were welcomed by Kenny Dalglish, who was Liverpool's manager during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough.