The Liverpool Echo marked the Hillsborough inquest verdicts with a special late edition as its editor pledged his newspaper’s continuing support for the families of the victims.
Echo editor Alastair Machray said the paper had been “privileged” to report on the 27-year fight for justice by the families of 96 Liverpool FC supporters who died in a crush at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium in April 1989.
A reporter from the Echo had been present at court in Warrington for every day of the inquest, which has taken two years to complete and concluded yesterday morning when the jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing for all 96 who died.
The late edition was brought out yesterday lunchtime with the front page featuring a line from Liverpool anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’
In an editorial, Alastair said: “The verdict of the Hillsborough Inquests’ jury represents justice – albeit justice which should have been delivered 25 or more years ago.
“The Liverpool Echo remains angry that the families of the 96 have had to wait so long and endure so much misery in order to get to this point.
“The families will now decide what happens next and we will continue to offer them our support and a voice in whatever choices they make.”
The Echo’s ‘Justice for the 96′ campaign was instrumental in keeping the families’ 27-year fight for justice on the political agenda and in eventually securing the fresh inquests.
The jury found by a majority vedict that match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield, of South Yorkshire Police, was “responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence” due to a breach of his duty of care.
Liverpool supporters, whose behaviour had initially been blamed as partially responsible for the deaths, were exonerated by the jury. Criminal proceedings could now be brought as a result of the findings.
Alastair added: “We have been privileged over 27 years to witness the strength and perseverance of the families and it was our duty to respond in this way.
“There have been many villains in this story and many heroes. Above all heroes, sit the families themselves.
“The inquest verdicts, we hope, will help bring to an end a 27-year story of institutionalised cover-up and shameful disregard, both for truth and for the ‘’ordinary person’.
“What the institutions failed to recognise is that they were not dealing with ordinary people and that Liverpool is not an ordinary city.”
The Echo followed up yesterday’s special with the below front page today:
Elsewhere, Sheffield daily The Star also ran the below front page and a 16-page supplement about the disaster:
The Yorkshire Post ran its own tribute to those who died:
The Nottingham Post focused on the memories of supporters of Nottingham Forest, Liverpool’s opponents on the fateful day:
The Lancashire Evening Post splashed on an interview with Preston man and Hillsborough survivor Mark Aspden, who was in a coma for two days and told the newspaper he cold have been the tragedy’s “97th” victim: