UK & World News
Hillsborough: Ex-Sun Editor Wants Apology
Former editor of The Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie, is seeking an apology from South Yorkshire Police after he was "vilified" over his paper's coverage of the Hillsborough football tragedy.
Four days after the 1989 disaster, its front page had the headline "The Truth" and included claims that some Liverpool fans had urinated on police officers resuscitating the dying, and that some supporters had stolen from the dead.
The allegations, which he called a "trap", had come from a news agency, which claimed the story was sourced from four senior South Yorkshire Police officers, Mr MacKenzie said.
The claims were corroborated by a South Yorkshire chief ambulance officer, he added.
The journalist also said Irvine Patnick, a prominent and respected local Conservative MP at the time, supported the police's apparent version of events.
Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died in a crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989, where their team were to meet Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.
The Sun's report caused widespread revulsion in the city and led to an almost-total boycott of the paper on Merseyside that exists to this day.
Mr MacKenzie claimed the "lies" allegedly told to the news agency by South Yorkshire Police officers "led to my personal vilification for decades".
He said police had increased their patrols around his house and also told how he would be in "mortal danger" if he visited Liverpool. "I am not exaggerating," he insisted.
He admitted he "was wrong to believe the police's account of the tragedy" but "the people who have got away scot-free are South Yorkshire Police".
According to extracts published on the Spectator's website, Mr MacKenzie wrote: "Now I know - you know, we all know - that the fans were right.
"But it took 23 years, two inquiries, one inquest and research into 400,000 documents, many of which were kept secret under the 30-year no-publication rule, to discover there was a vast cover-up by South Yorkshire Police about the disaster."
In his article, he pointed out The Sun was not the only publication to carry such allegations. "I was far from alone," he said.
He has instructed his lawyer to write to South Yorkshire Police seeking an apology from the force.
A statement from the force said: "South Yorkshire Police awaits Mr MacKenzie's letter with interest.
"It is well known that many media outlets ran similar stories at the time based on the same sources but chose to treat them differently. Mr MacKenzie was responsible for the particular headline he chose to run with."
Earlier this month, a new inquiry by a panel found police and emergency services made "strenuous attempts" to cover up their own failings and deflect the blame on to innocent fans.
The panel also found no evidence of supporters stealing from the dead and dying, or that there were exceptional levels of drunkenness or violence among supporters.
After the findings, The Sun carried a front page apology for its role in the Hillsborough tragedy.
"The Real Truth" is how it described the revelations about a police cover-up and failings by the ambulance service.
Mr MacKenzie also offered his profuse apologies for the 1989 headline, which he wrote.