Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

So Pleased for Those Families Who Fought for So Long; Exliverpool Boss Pays Tribute to the 96 Fans

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

So Pleased for Those Families Who Fought for So Long; Exliverpool Boss Pays Tribute to the 96 Fans

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMIE DIFFLEY Content editor jamie.diffley@trinitymirror.com

NEWCASTLE manager Rafa Benitez today welcomed the verdict that 96 Liverpool fans were unlawfully killed in the Hillsborough disaster.

Lawyers acting for the families said the conclusions, at the end of the longest jury case in British legal history, had completely vindicated their tireless 27-year battle for the truth.

The deaths were ruled accidental at the end of the original 1991 inquest.

But those verdicts were quashed following the 2012 Hillsborough Independent Panel report, which concluded that a major cover-up had taken place in an effort by police to avoid blame for what happened.

The new jury concluded that blunders by the police and ambulance service on the day had "caused or contributed" to the disaster and that the victims had been unlawfully killed.

The jury forewoman wiped away tears and had a catch in her voice as she confirmed the answers to 14 questions about the disaster to coroner Sir John Goldring.

Leading Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the disaster, said afterwards: "Let's be honest about this - people were against us. We had the media against us, as well as the establishment. Everything was against us. The only people that weren't against us was our own city. That's why I am so grateful to my city and so proud of my city. They always believed in us."

Benitez, who was Liverpool boss from 2004-2010, said: "After so many years fighting for justice I am really pleased to see the verdict today, which confirms what we have been saying for a long time. I am especially pleased for the families of the 96 who have sought justice for so long and with such dignity, as well as for the people of Liverpool and for football fans in general. …

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