Hillsborough Families Hear Evidence

The Hillsborough Independent Panel is overseeing the release of previously unpublished papers from around 80 organisations including the government, police, emergency services, Sheffield City Council and the South Yorkshire coroner.

 A report explaining the contents of the documents will be published by the panel, chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones. The families of the 96 football fans who died in Britain's deadliest sporting disaster are the first to see more than 400,000 pages. 

The Liverpool supporters died in a crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989, where their team were meeting Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final. The club today offered an apology to the families and said it hoped the documents would bring them ``closure''. 

Relatives and survivors began arriving at Liverpool Cathedral from 8am where they met members of the panel and viewed the documents. Speaking earlier, Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said they hope the documents will answer some of the questions they have about the causes and aftermath of the tragedy. ``This is what the families and the fans have been fighting for 23 years. Without the truth you cannot grieve and where there is deceit, you get no justice,'' Mrs Aspinall, 65, said. Prime Minister David Cameron will address MPs in the House of Commons following PMQs and the documents will be uploaded to a website for viewing by the general public. 

A report into the disaster by Lord Justice Taylor, published in 1990, found that the main reason for the disaster was a failure of ``police control'' but the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to bring a prosecution. The victims' families say it is an injustice that no individual or organisation has been held fully accountable for the disaster. They believe a major incident plan was never initiated by South Yorkshire Police and fans in the Leppings Lane end were denied emergency medical attention.They are being advised by two of Britain's best known lawyers, Michael Mansfield and Lord Falconer. T

he panel was created by then home secretary Jacqui Smith following the 20th anniversary of the disaster in April 2009. Central to the panel's work is to prepare and publish a comprehensive report based on in-depth research into the documents to ``add to public understanding of the tragedy, its circumstances and its aftermath''.