PM 'profoundly sorry' for Hillsborough

An independent report into the Hillsborough disaster has opened up the possibility of a new inquest into the events of April 15 1989.

The report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which was made public on Wednesday by Prime Minister David Cameron, sheds serious doubt upon the 1991 inquest.

Among the new report's findings are that 164 witness statements were amended, 116 explicitly removing negative comments about the policing operation. The report says that police and emergency services made "strenuous attempts" to deflect the blame for the disaster on to the fans.

The report also shows that some of the victims had reversable asphyxia and could have been saved but for failures in the reaction to the unfolding disaster.

The Prime Minister said that Attorney General Dominic Grieve would review the report as quickly as possible in order to decide whether to apply to the High Court to order a new inquest. MPs will debate the matter in October, but the High Court has the final decision.

"DESPICABLE UNTRUTHS"

The independent panel's review found:

* New evidence as to the failure of the authorities, including a delay from the emergency services when people were being crushed

* Some authorities made "strenuous attempts" to create a "completely unjust" account of events by switching the blame to the fans

* The safety of the crowds at Hillsborough had been "compromised at every level"

* "Up to 41 people had the potential to survive" after 3.15pm - the original inquest's cut-off time for survival. Of the 96 victims, 28 had no "obstruction of blood circulation" and there was "separate evidence that, in 31, the heart and lungs had continued to function after the crush"

* "Despicable untruths" about the behaviour of fans were part of police efforts "to develop and publicise a version of events that focused on allegations of drunkenness, ticketlessness and violence"

* Officers carried out police national computer checks on victims in an attempt "to impugn the reputations of the deceased"

* Blood-alcohol tests were carried out on each victim, even the under-aged – an "exceptional" decision for which "the panel finds no rationale"

* Failures in the response by the ambulance service and other emergency services

* Rescue attempts were held back by failures of authority

    The panel, chaired by Bishop of Liverpool the Right Reverend James Jones, has spent the last 18 months scrutinising more than 450,000 pages of documents from more than 80 organisations. UK Cabinet papers are not usually published until 30 years after their creation, but last year MPs agreed to their full, uncensored disclosure.

    The Prime Minister has said he is "profoundly sorry" for what he called the double injustice of the Hillsborough disaster. He added that the report showed the Liverpool fans "were not the cause of the disaster.

    "There is a trail of new documents, which show the extent to which the safety of the crowd at Hillsborough was 'compromised at every level'."

    STATEMENT David Cameron's statement in full


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