Hillsborough inquests date set for next year

THE inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 will be heard early in 2014.

A venue has yet to be decided for the inquests.

Today the coroner presiding over the new Hillsborough inquests promised families of the 96 victims his hearings would try to expose “any culpable or discreditable conduct”.

Lord Justice Goldring, making his opening statement at a pre-inquest hearing, reassured families the proceedings would be transparent.

About 40 families travelled from Liverpool to London’s Principal Registry of the Family Division.

He told them: “The purpose of these inquests is to examine fully and fairly how each of these victims of this terrible disaster lost his or her life.

“The inquests will seek to ensure so far as possible that the full facts are brought to light; that any culpable or discreditable conduct is exposed and brought to public notice.

“However, it should not be forgotten that an inquest is a fact-finding investigation.

“It is not a method of apportioning guilt. An inquest is not a trial but an inquiry to establish facts.”

Last December verdicts of accidental death from the original inquest from March 1991 were quashed.

The action was taken after the Hillsborough Independent Panel studied thousands of documents and reported there had been a huge cover up of what happened at Hillsborough and its aftermath.

When the verdicts were quashed, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge applauded the families for their tireless fight for the truth.

Today, Lord Justice Goldring echoed his comments, emphasising the continuing personal tragedy for all families.

Britain’s worst sporting disaster unfolded at Sheffield’s Hillsborough stadium on April 15 1989 during Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest as thousands of fans were crushed in the ground’s Leppings Lane terrace.