Sir Norman Bettison claims he's a Hillsborough 'whipping boy' in new book

Sir Norman Bettison claims he's a Hillsborough 'whipping boy' in new book. Credit: ITV News

Former police chief Sir Norman Bettison has sparked outrage with claims he has been a "whipping boy" in the ongoing Hillsborough investigation.

The police officer, who was a chief inspector in South Yorkshire at the time of the disaster, has criticised the Hillsborough Independent Panel report in a new book which he says is a personal account of his role in the tragedy and the events that followed.

The book, Hillsborough Untold: Aftermath Of A Disaster, has sparked anger among families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the disaster on April 15 1989.

Earlier this year an inquest, which heard evidence from Sir Norman, found the 96 supporters were unlawfully killed and were not to blame. The verdict came after a 27 year fight for justice by campaigners.

Sir Norman is currently under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for his role in the aftermath.

But the police officer said he has become a "poster boy for conspiracy theorists".

In his book, he said the Hillsborough Independent Panel report was "authoritative" but not "definitive".

Sir Norman said: "I was the only person named in the report that remained alive and who was still serving as a police officer. The last man standing, so to speak.

"I immediately became the poster boy for conspiracy theorists... and the whipping boy for revenge."

In the book Sir Norman described his memories of the day of the FA Cup semi-final - which he attended as a spectator - and his role in a team tasked with gathering evidence in the aftermath of the disaster, as well as his later appointment as chief constable of the Merseyside force.

He also addressed claims that statements of more than 200 police officers were amended.

An inquest jury ruled 96 football supporters were unlawfully killed in April 2016, triggering calls for further action. Credit: PA

“I witnessed no clandestine plot involving a conspiracy at South Yorkshire Police Headquarters to tamper with evidence destined for a public inquiry,” he wrote.

"My own account was amended. I never, at the time, saw anything as part of this process that caused me any concern," he continued.

Sir Norman is said to be donating his proceeds from sales of the book to charity.

Chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the disaster, branded the book "irrelevant".

She said: "We have nothing to worry about. We have already proven our case for the families, the fans and the survivors.

"I think he's a sad man.

"His book is irrelevant. The truth is out there and that's all that matters."

The IPCC had requested a copy of the book before publication.

A spokeswoman for the watchdog said: "We have read and assessed the book. We do not think it has a significant adverse impact on the ongoing criminal investigation and we would need to be able to demonstrate this in order to bring any legal action to prevent publication."