Hillsborough – ‘We have got to get them to see’ says mother

Reporter:

Laura Jones

THE mother of a Chester teenager who died in the Hillsborough disaster is helping to spearhead a campaign to reveal all documents about the tragedy.

Anne Williams, 59, of Newtown, Chester, is one of 120,000 people who have signed an online petition calling for government documents to be released – which means the decision could be debated in Parliament.

Anne’s 15-year-old son Kevin was among 96 Liverpool supporters who died in the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground on April 15, 1989.

He had been pulled out of the crush in pen three and he died not long afterwards.

At the inquest in March 1991, the coroner ruled everyone killed at Hillsborough had died of traumatic asphyxia and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

Since the ruling victims’ families, like Anne, have searched for answers to questions about safety, access and policing at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield.

However, Hillsborough victims’ families were recently given new hope when information commissioner Christopher Graham ruled last month that confidential documents which would reveal discussions held by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher following the tragedy must be published.

The judgment follows a Freedom of Information request by the BBC more than two years ago, which was refused by the Cabinet Office.

Mr Graham has now ordered the government to publish information relating to the disaster provided to Mrs Thatcher and the minutes of meetings she attended on the matter, but the Cabinet Office still could appeal against the ruling.

Anne, who is part of the charity campaign group Hope for Hillsborough, said the documents were ‘vital’ for victims’ families who have been campaigning for more than 20 years.

She told the Leader: “It depends what is in the documents – no one knows.

“It might be nothing but there might be something we don’t know. Either way I think it will put our minds at ease. We have got to get them to see.”

The Hillsborough independent panel set up by the Labour Government in 2009 to review documents relating to the disaster and assess what should be made public, is expected to reveal its conclusions early next year.

She said: “The Hillsborough Panel has been set up to get the truth but they are only there to get the report – they have no power to get an inquest or an inquiry for us.

“The only thing we hope is that the report is good so we can use that to pursue a private case.

“The wait has been awful but the government have got the Hillsborough Panel in to do it properly this time and I really hope they do.

“I’m on pins wondering and waiting for the outcome, it’s always on my mind. But we will see justice served and until then we will never give up and we will never go away.

“Hope for Hillsborough is so big now, not just with the victims’ friends and families, but with Liverpool supporters and Hillsborough survivors, so they have to stand up and listen.”

In 1997 Jack Straw appointed Lord Justice Stuart-Smith to review whether the Hillsborough inquest should be reopened. But he ruled there was insufficient new evidence.

Away from the e-petition campaign, Anne is now working with a barrister as she prepares to apply for Kevin’s inquest to be reopened by the Attorney General.

Anne added: “We’ve been frustrated by the courts for so long, and we’ve been stitched up in the past, but I’m fighting on.

“We have got evidence under section 13 so there is no time limit on it now.

“They have refused me before but I’m going again.”
 

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