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Hillsborough documents to be released


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Hundreds of official documents about the Hillsborough disaster are to be made public for the first time, the Home Office has confirmed.

 

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has met with South Yorkshire's chief constable Meredydd Hughes to discuss waiving the 30-year-rule into official documents.

 

Ninety six Liverpool supporters died in a crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989 where their team was to meet Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi final.

 

The 20th anniversary of the tragedy, Britain's deadliest sporting disaster, was marked with memorial services in all three cities last Wednesday.

 

Thousands of Liverpool supporters chanted "Justice for the 96 " when Andy Burnham, the minister for sport, read a speech at the service held at Anfield.

 

Mr Burnham later repeated his call for the 30-year rule to be waived.

 

The victims' families have been fighting for further inquiries into the deaths.

 

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.

 

The families also dispute the findings of the single inquest into all 96 deaths, which ruled the victims were all dead, or brain dead, by 3.15pm and subsequently recorded a verdict of accidental death.

 

They say it is an injustice that no individual or organisation has every been held fully to account for the disaster.

 

The documents covered by the 30-year-rule could include police files and the records of other emergency services, Government departments and the local authorities.

 

The families say they are particularly keen to see the minutes of a meeting between then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and senior South Yorkshire police officers which they say took place on the Sunday morning after the disaster.

 

Trevor Hicks, of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said: "We believe that a decision was made at that meeting that the police would not be blamed for what happened.

 

"We would like to see the minutes of the meeting, to know what the Prime Minister was told and what decisions were taken about the handling of any inquiries."

 

Mr Hicks added: "The claim that all the 96 were dead at 3.15pm has never been accepted."

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