He’s apparently been knighted, but there’s no way we’ll be adding the title to Bernard Ingham’s name during this or any other report.
Today, Margaret Thatcher’s former chief press secretary refused to apologise for his foul, false accusations which laid the blames for the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the feet of ‘tanked up yobs’.
The Echo challenged him at the door today after the Hillsborough inquest returned a verdict which completely exonerated supporters of any blame, and said the 96 were ‘unlawfully killed’ due to mistakes by the authorities. Ingham simply said he had ‘nothing to say’, despite the proof that his comments in the aftermath were entirely false.
While campaigners, family and the city celebrated the long-awaited verdict, attention turned to those who were actually guilty of manslaughter and the despicable coverup which followed – such as Ingham.
But it appears he’ll take the lies to his grave.
Ingham sent this letter to Liverpool fan Graham Skinner in 1996:
Thank you for your letter of December 11. I believe that there would have been no Hillsborough disaster if tanked-up yobs had not turned up in very large numbers to try to force their way into the ground.
I visited Hillsborough the day after the disaster and I know what I learned then. I have never denied that the police may have made mistakes, but I firmly believe that the Lord Chief Justice whitewashed the real culprits and I said so from the moment I read his report.
I have not seen the McGovern film. But I am long enough in the tooth to know that TV films should never be accepted as evidence. But let us suppose there is something in the film – for example, the “evidence” that the pens were already full when the gates were opened. What, then were all those people doing trying to get into the ground? I have never, of course, said where they came from because I do not know.
I have no intention of apologising for my views which are sincerely held on the basis of what I heard first hand at Hillsborough. I have, however, one suggestion to make: for its own good, Liverpool – with the Heysel disaster in the background – should shut up about Hillsborough.
“Nothing can now bring back those who died – innocent people who, by virtue of being in the ground early, had their lives crushed out of them by a mob surging in late.
To go on about it serves only to confirm in many people’s minds that Liverpool has a very bad conscience about soccer disasters. I think it a disgrace to the public service that South Yorkshire policemen have won the right to compensation. But it will do Liverpool no good whatsoever in the eyes of the nation if, egged on by ambulance-chasing lawyers, those who saw their relatives killed at Hillsborough now sue for compensation for the “trauma”. Is the pain of losing a relative to be soothed away by a fat cheque?
Take my advice, Mr Skinner: least said, soonest mended for Liverpool.
In truth, an apology from Ingham would mean nothing now anyway. The important thing is he’s been proved immensely wrong and will go down as the perpetrator of injustice and little else.