Thursday, September 13, 2012

David Conn: Hillsborough Disaster: The Truth

The report found that even as the family members, many of them parents stricken with the loss of their children, were plunged into the most dreadful of nightmares, Wright was meeting his police federation in a Sheffield restaurant to prepare "a defence" and "a rock-solid story". The secretary of the South Yorkshire police federation branch, constable Paul Middup, according to the minutes cited by the panel, told the restaurant meeting before Wright turned up: "The chief constable had said the truth could not come from him, but had given the secretary a totally free hand and supported him," as had many senior officers.

The meeting, at the Pickwick restaurant in Sheffield, was held on the morning of 19 April 1989, just four days after the disaster. It was the day that Kelvin MacKenzie's Sun newspaper splashed its headline "The Truth" over lies fed to it, via Whites Press agency, by, the panel found, four senior South Yorkshire police officers. Middup was encouraged to continue this police campaign of defaming Liverpool supporters for supposed drunkenness and misbehaviour and "to get the message – togetherness – across to the force".

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