13 Sep 2012

British government apologises for 1989 Hillsborough disaster

6:41 pm on 13 September 2012

The editor of the British tabloid The Sun at the time of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster has apologised for a running a story 23 years ago that blamed fans for the tragedy.

British Prime Minister David Cameron earlier said he was "profoundly sorry" for failures and cover-ups in the wake of the 1989 tragedy, in which 96 spectators died after a crowd crush in the stadium.

The Prime Minister said attempts by the police to defect the blame for Britain's worst sporting disaster onto Liverpool fans to cover up their own flawed response, and the dangers of an outdated stadium amounted to a "double injustice".

The Conservative Party leader was speaking in response to the release of an independent panel's investigation into the deaths that said police had sought to blame the Liverpool fans.

The independent panel, set up in 2010 by the last Labour government to examine all the public paperwork relating to the tragedy, concluded that the tragedy could have been avoided, more lives could have been saved, and the police response was flawed.

Barrister Michael Mansfield, who helped the victims' families, said he believed the police's behaviour was part of the biggest cover-up in British legal history and the report could lead to prosecutions within months.