UK & World News

  • 28 March 2014, 1:57

Hillsborough Disaster: Ex-Officers Questioned

Thirteen retired and serving police officers are being questioned over offences related to the Hillsborough football disaster, the national police watchdog has said.

Eleven of the suspects have been interviewed so far and they are all retired. Of the two others to be questioned in the near future, one is a serving officer.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said the 13 suspects were being questioned under criminal caution over a range of offences, including manslaughter, misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice.

It is the first time the IPCC has announced information on suspects.

Trevor Hicks, who lost two daughters in the disaster, said the wheels of justice were "slowly turning".

Ninety-six Liverpool football fans were killed after being crushed against barriers at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield.

The tragedy happened during the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in April 1989.

Families of the victims will be allowed to present "pen portraits" of their loved ones at the start of new inquests beginning on Monday.

Described as "exquisitely sensitive and important" by a lawyer for the inquests, they will involve family members reading out statements about each of the fans who died.

According to barrister Christina Lambert QC, the contributions will give members of the jury information "concerning personality and character of each of those who lost their lives so that the jury can have a glimpse of who they were...their hopes and plans for the future."

Screens around the vast inquest room will feature a still of each victim as their family statement is presented. The coroner Lord Justice Goldring, who has already read the statements, has described them as "very moving and very important".

A hearing to finalise details of the inquests heard they are likely to last more than nine months and end sometime in 2015.

It was revealed that an hour of previously unseen BBC footage has been discovered. Barristers have asked for the material to be made available.

Many organisations will be represented at the inquest, including South Yorkshire Police, the Police Federation, police match commanders in charge during the disaster, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and Sheffield City Council.

More than 80 lawyers are involved in the inquests, which were ordered in December last year after the High Court had quashed the original verdicts of accidental death.

One thousand people received a summons to serve on the jury and 150 of those will be called to the inquests on Monday. Eleven jurors will finally be selected and sworn in.

An office block in Warrington, Cheshire, has been converted to house the coroner's court.

An application by some lawyers to put back the inquests because of a delay in pathology reports was rejected by the coroner. However, there will be a break in the early stages of the inquests to give barristers time to consider the reports.

It was revealed that members of the jury will be taken to see the terraces at Hillsborough stadium where the victims were killed.