South Yorkshire police agree payouts to 600 people for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’ 11 months ago

South Yorkshire police agree payouts to 600 people for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’

The police had tried to blame the behaviour of fans and victims for the disaster.

South Yorkshire Police has agreed a settlement with more than 600 people to compensate them for the false police campaign that tried to blame Liverpool supporters for the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

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The force had tried to avoid responsibility for the disaster, in which 96 men, women and children lost their lives during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium.

The Guardian reports that South Yorkshire Police will pay compensation to bereaved families whose relatives were among the 96 men, women and children unlawfully killed at Hillsborough, and to survivors of the disaster, for additional trauma and psychiatric damage caused by the police campaign.

The compensation is for the psychiatric injuries the families and survivors have suffered, and will pay for treatment or counselling.

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In September 2015 a new inquest was launched into how the 96 people died, with civil claims made alleging misfeasance in a public office.

The jury at the inquest rejected the South Yorkshire Police case whcih claimed that people who were at the stadium to support Liverpool had caused the disaster by being drunk and disorderly.

The jury found that no behaviour of Liverpool fans contributed to the disaster and the deadly situation at the ground. They found that the 96 supporters were killed due to gross negligence by the police officer in command of the match, Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield.

The compensation had been agreed at the end of April this year, but was not able to be publicly announced due to the prosecution that was ongoing at the time of two former police officers and the force's then-lawyer on charges of perverting the course of justice.

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Despite the trial collapsing, with claims made throughout the trial that there was no cover-up, it turns out that at the same time the force was agreeing settlements with families and survivors to the claims of public misfeasance, which included accusations of a cover-up.

In a statement, the lawyers who have acted for the family members and survivors in the claims for psychiatric damage described the police campaign after the disaster as "one of the largest and most shameful cover-ups by a police force in history."

The statement reads: "Through this civil claim for misfeasance in a public office, 601 victims sought justice and accountability for the deliberate, orchestrated and thoroughly dishonest police cover-up that suppressed the truth about the responsibility of the police, and blamed the football supporters for the horrific events that unfolded at the Hillsborough Stadium on 15 April 1989.

"Ninety-six Liverpool supporters were unlawfully killed as a result of the police failings that day, and countless others suffered physical and psychological harm.

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"The distress and heartache caused by the loss of life, and the injuries caused to those who survived, were made significantly worse by the lies told and the cover-up that followed. As a result of the cover-up, that was maintained for nearly 30 years, the victims, both the bereaved and the survivors, and their families and loved ones, suffered additional psychiatric injury. No amount of money can compensate them for the ordeal they have suffered, but this settlement acknowledges both the cover-up and its impact upon each of the victims."