UK & World News

  • 17 June 2014, 14:38

Hillsborough Wiki Entry Civil Servant Sacked

A civil servant who made changes to a Wikipedia page about the Hillsborough disaster from a government computer has been sacked.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maudetold Parliament that a junior administrator identified as being behind posts made in 2012 has been fired for gross misconduct.

A 24-year-old thought to have been born in London, but based in Liverpool, is understood to have changed the phrase "You'll never walk alone", the anthem of Liverpool FC, to read: "You'll never walk again."

An investigation into who made other changes, including some that are thought to have been made from computers used by Whitehall departments, is being dropped, Mr Maude said.

It is understood that those responsible for the changes made using a secure intranet cannot be traced because of "technical obstacles" and a lack of leads.

In one instance, the phrase "Blame Liverpool fans" was added anonymously to the Hillsborough section of the online encyclopaedia.

Ninety-six died and more than 700 were injured on April 15, 1989, when fans were crushed at an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest.

At the time the Cabinet Office became aware the changes had been made from government computers, a spokesman said: "The amendments made to Wikipedia are sickening.

"When the issue was brought to our attention by the Liverpool Echo we launched immediate enquiries.

"Once we have the facts, we will update Parliament with the findings and consider further appropriate action.

"At this time, we have no reason to suspect that the Hillsborough edits involve any particular department, nor more than one or two individuals in 2009 and 2012."

The civil servant who made the change in 2012 was identified by an investigation carried out by an online forum about Wikipedia called Wikipediocracyand the Daily Telegraph.

The Telegraph said he was pinpointed by cross-referencing his social media and work history.

The HillsboroughFamily Support Group said it had been in discussion about whether to name him and had decided not to.

Chair Margaret Aspinallsaid: "All the families agreed that his name should be withheld.

"He has been sacked, and we all took the decision not to name him because social media can be very unpleasant.

"The most important thing is that this has been dealt with and it has not beencovered up. He has been punished."

Mr Maude said it was "long-standing established practice that in such cases an individual's name will not be made public".

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