Inquest jury blames police for the 1989 Hillsborough disaster
30 years after the Hillsborough disaster in England, an inquest jury declared that it was the policemen who were guilty of the "unlawful deaths and not the fans". The court is yet to decide if the retired officers will be criminally prosecuted. The Hillsborough disaster had caused the deaths of 96 football fans who were crushed by the stadium's steel fences in 1989.
Hillsborough tragedy: The worst sporting tragedy in history
The tragedy unfolded during an FA Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forrest at Hillsborough Stadium. The stadium was packed with thousands of fans (far beyond stadium's capacity). The remaining fans were 'sent' to the holding pens. The police opened one exit gate leading to the rush of fans. People were pressed against each other and the fence, resulting in 96 deaths from asphyxiation.
Police shifts the blame on fans
After the tragedy, the police completely refused to accept that they had been negligent. The police shifted the blame on the fans, saying that they had been drunk and that the tragedy had occurred because ticketless fans had barged in. The police even accused the fans of looting the dead and obstructing police. Moreover, they rebuked the club for failing to monitor the holding-pens.
The Taylor Enquiry holds the police responsible
An inquiry was initiated under Lord Justice Taylor. The Taylor inquiry published 2 reports: an interim report which pointed out the events of the day as it happened and immediate conclusions and another report making recommendations for stadiums. The report stated that the principal cause behind the accident was the collapse of police control. The report further called the police "defensive and evasive witnesses".
Changes in the stadiums after the tragedy
The Taylor Report had a profound bearing on the safety standards for stadiums in the UK. The lateral fencing and parameters were removed and most of the top stadiums were converted to all-seated. The report also asked all stadiums (after a given timescale) designated under the Safety of Sports Ground Act 1975 to start admitting fans to seated accommodation only.
Hillsborough gets a befitting tribute
A song named "Fields of Anfield Road" was released to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy in 2009. Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United players showed respect by wearing black armbands during their Champions League matches on 14 and 15 April.
Inquest hearings of the tragedy
The 1st inquest hearing gave the verdict of 'accidental death' on 26 March 1991 which was opposed by bereaving families who wanted 'unlawful killing' charge upon the negligent cops. A governmental e-petition saw almost 139,000 signatories in October 2011 request for a 2nd inquest. In December 2012, the first verdict was quashed and fresh inquests were ordered by the Attorney-General in the High Court.