Hillsborough Stadium Disaster Inquests

Wednesday April 27 2016
South Yorkshire Police has released a further statement following the conclusion of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster Inquests.
 
"In 2012, the Chief Constable made a full apology for the failures of South Yorkshire Police (SYP) and the force has stood by that ever since. In the aftermath of the verdicts, the Chief Constable apologised again and unequivocally accepted the jury’s conclusions.
 
"We have been asked about our conduct at the Inquests. The Coroner himself gave a clear ruling that specifically addresses the relationship between apologies and evidence at the Inquests. He ruled that to admit the previous 2012 apology by the Chief Constable into proceedings would be ‘wrong’ and ‘highly prejudicial.’ He also ruled that the conduct of SYP during the Inquests was not inconsistent with this earlier apology. The force has taken careful note of the Coroner’s comments during the Inquests and has sought to be open and transparent at all stages.
 
"It is important to remember that Inquests are not about guilt, liability or blame, but about establishing the facts. The intention throughout these proceedings has been to assist the jury understand the facts. We have never sought, at any stage, to defend the failures of SYP or its officers. Nevertheless, these failures had to be put into the context of other contributory factors. In other words, where do the failings of SYP stand in the overall picture?
 
"We are sorry if our approach has been perceived as at odds with our earlier apology, this was certainly not our intention."
 

Tuesday April 26 2016
Chief Constable David Crompton responds to the verdicts in the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster Inquests. 

"I want to make it absolutely clear that we unequivocally accept the verdict of unlawful killing and the wider findings reached by the jury in the Hillsborough Inquests.

On 15th April 1989, South Yorkshire Police got the policing of the FA cup semi-final at Hillsborough catastrophically wrong. It was and still is the biggest disaster in British sporting history. That day 96 people died and the lives of many others were changed forever. The force failed the victims and failed their families.

Today, as I have said before, I want to apologise unreservedly to the families and all those affected.

These inquests have been the longest inquests in British legal history with nearly 300 days of evidence heard. Whilst these have been lengthy and difficult proceedings, they have once and for all provided a fresh opportunity to explore all of the available evidence about what happened. This has enabled the jury to reach the verdicts that they have today.

The Hillsborough Disaster changed the way in which major sporting events are policed and very many lessons have been learnt. Today, with improvements in training, communications and  technology, it is almost impossible to consider how the same set of circumstances could arise again today. We will now take time to carefully reflect on the implications of the verdicts.

We recognise that this is an important day for the families of those who died at the Hillsborough Disaster and for everyone affected by what happened. They have waited 27 years for this outcome. Our thoughts are with them."

 

 

The General Questionnaire

The ‘General Questionnaire for Jury Determination’ consists of 14 questions. Most of the questions ask whether there was an error or omission or circumstance that caused or contributed to the disaster. If the answer is no, it then asks whether the same thing may have caused or contributed. In most cases there is an option to explain the answer in a further box.

The verdicts to all 14 Questions are below. 

The 14 Questions: 

1.       Basic Facts of the Disaster: Do you agree with the following statement: "On 15 April 1989, ninety-six people died in the Disaster at the Hillsborough stadium as a result of crushing in the central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace, following the admission of a large number of supporters to the stadium through exit gates".

YES

2.       Police Planning for the Semi-Final Match: Was there any error or omission in police planning and preparation for the 15 April 1989 which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed on the day of the match?

YES

3.       Policing of the Match and the Situation at the Turnstiles: Was there any error or omission in policing on the day of the match which caused or contributed to a dangerous situation developing at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?

YES

4.       Policing of the Match and the Crush on the Terrace: Was there any error or omission by commanding officers which caused or contributed to the crush on the terrace?

YES

5.       The Opening of the Gates: When the order was given to open the exit gates at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium, was there any error or omission by the commanding officers in the control box which caused or contributed to the crush on the terrace?

YES

6.       Determination on Unlawful Killing Issue: Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed? 

YES

7.       Behaviour of the Supporters: Was there any behaviour on the part of the football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? If yes, was that behaviour unusual or unforseeable?

NO

8.       Defects in Hillsborough Stadium: Were there any features of the design, construction and layout of the Stadium you consider were dangerous or defective and which caused or contributed to the Disaster?

YES

9.       Licensing and Oversight of Hillsborough Stadium: Was there any error or omission in the safety certification and oversight of Hillsborough Stadium that caused or contributed to the disaster?

YES

10.   Conduct of Sheffield Wednesday FC before the Day of the Match: Was there any error or omission by Sheffield Wednesday FC (and its staff) in the management of the Stadium and/or preparation for the semi-final match on 15 April 1989 which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed on the day of the match?

YES

11.   Conduct of Sheffield Wednesday FC on the Day of the Match: Was there any error or omission by SWFC (and its staff) on 15 April 1989 which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed at the Leppings Lane turnstiles and in the west terrace?

NO

11a. Conduct of Sheffield Wednesday FC on the Day of the Match: Was there any error or omission by SWFC (and its staff) on 15 April 1989 which may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed at the Leppings Lane turnstiles and in the west terrace?

YES

12.   Conduct of Eastwood and Partners (SWFC engineers): Should Eastwood & Partners have done more to detect and advise on any unsafe or unsatisfactory features of the Stadium which caused or contributed to the Disaster?

YES

13.   Emergency Response and the role of South Yorkshire Police: After the crush in the west terrace had begun to develop, was there any error or omission by the police which caused or contributed to the loss of lives in the Disaster?

YES

14.   Emergency response and the role of South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (SYMAS): After the crush in the west terrace had begun to develop, was there any error or omission by the ambulance service (SYMAS) which caused or contributed to the loss of lives in the Disaster?

YES