26th April 2016

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST, the charity who have supported the bereaved families and their lawyers responded to the conclusion of the inquest:

"Today, not a day too soon, the 96 victims of the Hillsborough tragedy have finally received justice.

For nearly three decades, the bereaved families and survivors of Hillsborough have been failed repeatedly at multiple levels by investigative and judicial processes. These were concerned more with an instinct to evade blame and responsibility than the need to deliver truth and accountability. The grief and suffering of generations of family members and survivors has thereby been exacerbated.

This inquest, the longest in modern history, was a response to those investigative and judicial failures, and its outcome amounts to redress for a long standing historical wrong. This was only possible because the bereaved families were able to play an effective part in the process and because they had access to public funding for specialist lawyers in order to recalibrate the inherent imbalance ordinary members of the public face when dealing with powerful state and corporate bodies.

As a result, what we have seen is a powerful expose of state and corporate failings on the part of those responsible for the safety of those in the stadium, in particular the 96 who died.

The inquest conclusions has been a vindication of families’ determined search for truth, a truth supressed for nearly three decades. 

INQUEST Director went on to say:

“The practice of deflecting blame and responsibility following contentious deaths persists, and the legacy of Hillsborough must be to put an end to this culture. Those in authority who have responsibility for doing so must guarantee that, wherever and whenever proper scrutiny is required to right a wrong,  families and victims are given the necessary resources - financial, legal and emotional - to seek truth, justice and accountability. It is the least they deserve.

If there is one lesson to be learnt today it's that no family should suffer the way the 96 Hillsborough families have in the future."


Notes to editors:

Family statement to follow.


For further information, please contact:

INQUEST provides specialist advice on deaths in custody or detention or involving state failures in England and Wales. This includes a death in prison, in police custody or following police contact, in immigration detention or psychiatric care. INQUEST's policy and parliamentary work is informed by its casework and we work to ensure that the collective experiences of bereaved people underpin that work. Its overall aim is to secure an investigative process that treats bereaved families with dignity and respect; ensures accountability and disseminates the lessons learned from the investigation process in order to prevent further deaths.

Please refer to INQUEST the organisation in all capital letters in order to distinguish it from the legal hearing.