chapter  4
‘Negligence without liability’: the scale of injustice after Hillsborough
Pages 22

The 1989 Football Association (FA) Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was held at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield. I was at home, about to listen to the game on the radio when my young son, Paul, shouted that there were crowd problems at the match. BBC Television had interrupted coverage of world championship snooker to go live to Hillsborough, where what was to become one of the most serious UK disasters of recent times was happening before the world’s media. It was clear from the coverage that people were dying. In the days that followed, Liverpool’s stadium, Anfield, became a shrine to those who died and a ‘mile of scarves’ was created across Stanley Park to Everton’s ground, bringing thousands together in silent tribute. The grief of bereavement, especially for those whose loved ones and friends had died, was soon exacerbated as those in authority used every means available to place responsibility for the disaster on Liverpool fans. Given my previous research on controversial deaths and my knowl-

edge of public inquiries and coroners’ inquests, it was suggested that I should research the aftermath of Hillsborough. I was familiar with football and its policing, having been a regular at Anfield since I was a child. Liverpool City Council commissioned the research and Sheila Coleman, Ann Jemphrey, Paula Skidmore and I established The Hillsborough Project. In 1990 it published Hillsborough and After: The Liverpool Experience, covering the Home Office inquiry under Lord Justice Taylor, the media coverage of the disaster and the appalling treatment endured by bereaved families and survivors in the immediate aftermath. In 1995 we published No Last Rights: The Promotion of Myth and the Denial of Justice in the Aftermath of the Hillsborough Disaster, focusing on the longest inquests in English legal history, other legal proceedings and the persistent negative media coverage. Following the screening of Jimmy McGovern’s award-winning drama documentary in 1986, Lord Justice Stuart-Smith’s judicial scrutiny of new evidence in 1988 and access to all police statements, I published Hillsborough: The Truth in 1999. The text was later revised to include the 2000 private prosecutions of two senior police officers.