A judge has ruled to acquit two retired police officers and a former solicitor of charges claiming they had perverted the course of justice.
Ex-chief superintendent Donald Denton, ex-detective chief inspector Alan Foster, and ex-solicitor Peter Metcalf had been accused of altering police accounts following the Hillsborough disaster.
It was a ruling that prompted fury amongst the families of the 96, with Margaret Aspinall expressing her disappointment.
“We’re always the losers no matter what the outcome today,” the chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group was quoted as saying by the BBC.
“They have had five years to sort it out to bring the best statements forward. They only brought a certain few statements.
“What angers me, all the money it has cost this country. The taxpayers’ money. For this to happen at the end, what a shambles, what a disgrace.”
The decision was widely panned beyond family members, with Liverpool football club stating its “huge disappointment” at the judicial proceedings.
“While it would not be our place, legally or otherwise, to comment on those proceedings as they pertain to individuals, it is incumbent on us to forcefully point out that the 96 victims, their families, survivors and all those who suffered as a result of the Hillsborough tragedy have continuously been failed in their pursuit for justice,” the club said on liverpoolfc.com. “We have a situation in which 96 people were unlawfully killed and yet no individual or group has been deemed legally culpable for their deaths.”
The mayors of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotherham, commented in support of the families affected.
“Why was it not left to the jury to decide?” the former questioned. “I can only conclude that the scales of justice in this country are weighed heavily against ordinary people.”
Reposting this again after today's disgraceful verdict.
96 innocent men, women and children were unlawfully killed at Hillsborough.
32 years on, nobody has been held to account, brought to justice – or even made answerable in a courtroom. https://t.co/EJY0gQOtU9
— Steve Rotheram (@MetroMayorSteve) May 26, 2021
It’s a decision that is more than understandably confusing and upsetting, to put it mildly, to those affected.
After decades of campaigning, families are yet to have been issued legal justice, with the courts yet to convict anyone for the unlawful killing of the 96.