Campaigners demand justice

  • Last Updated: September 12 2012, 19:40 BST

Prime Minister David Cameron's apology and the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel have been welcomed by campaigners who have now called for the parties responsible for the disaster to be made accountable.

The report confirmed South Yorkshire Police had sought to blame fans by instructing officers to change or amend their statements relating to the events of April 15, 1989.

Hillsborough families had suffered a "double injustice", both in the "failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth", and in the efforts to denigrate the deceased and suggest that they were "somehow at fault for their own deaths", Cameron told the House of Commons.

Sheila Coleman, spokesman for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, believes there is still some way to go however.

"Words are easy but of course the Hillsborough Justice Campaign welcomes the apologies. But we have had the truth, now it is time for justice," she said.

"Clearly people indulged in criminal activities by changing and altering statements and telling lies.

"If you or I did that we would be prosecuted - people cannot be above the law.

"Certainly the law-makers and those who are supposed to uphold the law shouldn't be above the law.

"How can you have faith in a police force which ordered its younger officers to alter their statements?

"This was not just one or two, it was the majority and the coroner's court was used by South Yorkshire Police to try to revert the Taylor Report.

"The Attorney General has to quash the inquest verdicts and has to investigate as to what criminal procedures should be brought."

Coleman welcomed the publication of the report, which allowed the full extent of what happened at Hillsborough to be viewed by the wider public.

"Obviously the report is truly shocking but a lot of it was information we already knew because it was information we had had for a number of years," she added.

"But I defy anyone not to be shocked by the fact that lives could have been saved, that blood alcohol levels were taken and those found to be negative then had their names checked against the police national computer for criminal records to see if their reputation could be smeared.

"The fans have been totally vindicated. They played no part in the disaster."

The Footballer Supporters' Federation (FSF) said the report was vindication for fans and their families.

Malcolm Clarke, chair of the FSF, said: "The report exonerates supporters who were victims of a smear campaign by certain elements of the media and senior police officers leading to allegations of drunken, ticketless fans storming the gates at Hillsborough's Leppings Lane End. This was completely untrue.

"The Hillsborough Independent Panel's report is vindication for those who have spent decades fighting for justice for their fellow fans, friends, or family members. Today is their day and their reaction to the report deserves to be listened to with the greatest possible care."

Former sports minister Richard Caborn, who at the time of Hillsborough was MP for Sheffield Central, said: "I hope that now the truth is out that will help people to grieve knowing exactly what happened.

"It is really sad it has taken so long to get this information into the public domain."