A damning report into the Hillsborough disaster has laid bare a shocking cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy on to its victims.
The families of the 96 Liverpool fans killed 23 years ago said the report had vindicated them but pledged to carry on their fight by pursuing criminal prosecutions against those who they said should 'hang their heads in shame'.
The Liverpool supporters died in a crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on
Introducing the report to the Hillsborough families at the
"There were clear operational failures in response to the disaster and in its aftermath there were strenuous attempts to deflect the blame onto the fans. The panel's detailed report shows how vulnerable victims, survivors and their families are when transparency and accountability are compromised."
The panel's report found:
::There were clear operational failures in response to the disaster and up to 41 fans could potentially have survived.
::The then chief constable of South Yorkshire Peter Wright and his officers, with the help of local Tory MP
::There was 'no evidence fans had conspired to arrive late at the stadium' and 'no evidence that they stole from the dead and dying'.
::Police 'doctored' 116 official statements 'to remove or alter comments unfavourable to SYP'.
::South Yorkshire Ambulance Service documents were 'subject to the same process'.
::An attempt was made to 'impugn the reputations of the deceased by carrying out Police National Computer checks on those with a non-zero alcohol level'.
::Blood alcohol levels were tested in some survivors as well as in all those who died. In some there was 'no apparent medical reason for the test' and no record was kept.
::Former Prime Minister
Hicks said the
He said the report showed that 'possibly as many as 41 people might have survived' if the disaster had been better handled.
He also rejected the 'profuse apologies' offered by MacKenzie, editor of The Sun when it ran a front page story blaming fans for Hillsborough.
Hicks said MacKenzie's words were 'too little, too late', calling him 'lowlife, clever lowlife, but lowlife'.
Hicks also called for West Yorkshire Chief Constable
Bettison is a former
Hicks said: "If he is anything of a man he will stand down and scurry up a drainpipe somewhere."
She added: "They have made our city proud today, but most importantly they have made the 96 rest in peace for the first time in all those years."
Hicks said the families gave the panel a standing ovation when it finished reporting its findings to them and that three people even fainted as the information came out.
He said 'if Cameron means what he says' then 'justice has to follow truth' and they have a responsibility to ensure that the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General 'look very carefully' at the material in the report.
The chief constable of
His statement read: "In the immediate aftermath senior officers sought to change the record of events. Disgraceful lies were told which blamed the Liverpool fans for the disaster.
"I am profoundly sorry for the way the force failed on
Mohan also apologised for The Sun's coverage of the disaster, saying: "Twenty-three years ago The Sun newspaper made a terrible mistake. We published an inaccurate and offensive story about the events at Hillsborough. We said it was the truth - it wasn't."
The report found the ground 'failed to meet minimum standards under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975'.