Thursday, February 28, 2013

'Hillsborough families are lying': Top police officer's astonishing attack on relatives of 96 who died in tragedy

A police chief has been forced to apologise after sending an 'inappropriate' and 'insensitive' accusing families of those killed in the Hillsborough disaster of lying.

David Crompton, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, issued a full apology over the email which was sent just before a report was published in September criticising police handling of the incident which saw 96 Liverpool fans die at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium in 1989.

The email discussed the launch of a website featuring South Yorkshire Police's version of its handling of the disaster.

Mr Crompton mentions republishing past apologies from force Chief Constables and keeping the site 'purely factual'.

It was sent to Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt and the force head of corporate communications Mark Thompson.

It read: One thing is certain - the Hillsborough Campaign for justice will be doing their version... in fact their version of certain events has become 'the truth' even though it isn't!!

'I just have a feeling that the media 'machine' favours the families and not us, so we need to be a bit more innovative in our response to have a fighting chance otherwise we will just be roadkill.'

Mr Crompton apologised for his remarks and said that the email was sent prior to the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report into the disaster.

He said: 'The email from last September was written prior to the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report.

'It was never intended to cause any offence and I apologise if it has done so. Nor was it intended to challenge the integrity and views of those who lost loved ones in the Hillsborough Disaster.

'Following the publication of the Panel’s report I said in the most forthright terms that I supported the findings and that is still my position.'

Shaun Wright, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: 'I was disappointed at the use of such language, even in an internal email, and raised my concerns with the Chief Constable.

'As Police and Crime Commissioner it is my duty to hold the Chief Constable and the Force to account in the interests of the public.

'I accept the Chief Constable’s regret for his language in this one particular email and his apology.'

Mr Wright added that he has made the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Home Secretary aware of the email.

Details of the email emerged following a Freedom of Information request.

The report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel concluded that no Liverpool fans were responsible for the tragedy. It blamed a 'failure of police control' for the fans' deaths.

The disaster saw 96 Liverpool fans die during the opening few minutes of an FA Cup Semi Final tie between the Merseyside club and Nottingham Forest.

Original report here

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