Group also calls for ‘rigorous and speedy’ criminal investigations into the 1989 disaster
The Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC) called for “rigorous and speedy” criminal investigations after the jury found the 96 victims of the disaster were unlawfully killed .
The HJC also slammed police and ambulance officials for fighting “tooth and nail” to prevent the jury from making findings that were critical of their handling of the 1989 disaster.
They accused South Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service of doubling the length of the inquests by turning the hearings into a “battle”.
In a statement, Elkan Abrahamson and Marcia Stewart, from Broudie Jackson Canter, the law firm representing the HJC, said: “The jury’s conclusions completely vindicate the families’ long fight for justice.”
The HJC’s lawyers added: “It is now 27 years since the Hillsborough families found themselves thrown together by the appalling tragedy that led to the loss of their loved ones.
“At the outset, that and support for Liverpool FC was probably all they had in common.
“The intervening years have brought much greater commonality: the shock and dismay at the way they were treated in the aftermath; anger at the cover-up which started immediately following the disaster; frustration and disbelief at the deficiencies of both the legal and political processes which failed to deliver justice; and, above all, a constant and enduring tenacity and dedication to exposing the truth which has, despite all attempts to derail the process, stood firm over the decades.”
The statement went on to say it was “shameful that, rather than focussing on the search for truth and despite having made public apologies, the approach to the inquests taken by South Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service was to fight tooth and nail to avoid adverse findings by the jury”.
It continued: “This turned the inquests into an adversarial battle that probably doubled the length of time it might otherwise have done.
“Notwithstanding the difficulties along the way, the conclusion of the renewed inquests does bring both significant progress on the journey to expose the truth and, we hope, some degree of comfort and sense of closure to the bereaved.
“There is, however, still a long road to travel – the recent investigations have already taken three years and we therefore now urge the authorities to conduct rigorous and speedy investigations which will lead to criminal and disciplinary proceedings and to the attribution of final and full accountability.
“We are humbled and inspired by the commitment of the families with whom we have had the privilege to work.
“Each have their own stories, but the common thread that runs throughout is their unremitting, unwavering dedication to achieving justice for the 96.”