Burnham moved over Hillsborough verdict

Jenny Hicks, Andy Burnham MP and Margaret Aspinall leave the High Court in London
Jenny Hicks, Andy Burnham MP and Margaret Aspinall leave the High Court in London
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MP Andy Burnham was visibly moved yesterday as he joined Hillsborough campaigners to hear High Court judges quash the original accidental death verdicts on the disaster.

The Leigh MP, who has been instrumental in championing the victims’ families cause, hugged campaigner Jenny Hicks on the steps of the court after hearing the announcement.

He agreed that helping to overturn the inquest findings was one of his best achievements and the difference he made was one of the reasons why he came into politics.

He applauded the Hillsborough families for their enduring determination and strength of character.

He said: “Starting this process off three years ago, we couldn’t have hoped then that it would come to this. It is unbelievable what the families have been through.

“For them to get on a coach in Liverpool at 5am and come down to London and be told what they should have been told 23 years ago says so much about their determination.”

Criminal charges over the Hillsborough disaster are back on the table as a fresh police investigation is launched.

The deaths of the 96 Liverpool fans at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final will be the focus of the new inquiry, led by former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart, Home Secretary Theresa May said.

Families welcomed the move as the “first step towards accountability” but urged all authorities to work together to ensure justice.

The announcement came as High Court judges quashed the original accidental death verdicts on the disaster which occurred 23 years ago and ordered a fresh inquest.

Both decisions follow a damning report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel in September, which laid bare the attempts to shift blame for the tragedy onto its victims.

Commenting on the new police investigation, Jenni Hicks, who lost her teenage daughters Sarah and Victoria at Hillsborough, said “accountability has to come now”.

She said: “After the truth we had in September it has to be followed up with accountability. Today is the first step of that, which is brilliant.”