20:45, June 27 55 0 theguardian.com

2017-06-27 20:45:03
Hillsborough relatives to learn if anyone will face charges over disaster

Relatives of the 96 people killed in the Hillsborough football stadium disaster will learn on Wednesday whether anyone will face charges for the deaths.

They will gather in Warrington to hear the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service about charging individuals and organisations referred to it by two investigations.

Operation Resolve, which investigated the causes of the disaster, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission passed files of evidence relating to 23 suspects, including both individuals and organisations, to the CPS earlier this year.

Families of those who died attending the 1989 FA Cup semi-final said they were preparing for a day of mixed emotions.

Margaret Aspinall’s 18-year-old son James died in the tragedy at the Sheffield Wednesday ground.

The chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group said it had been a “long, long struggle for everybody”, adding: “Hopefully this is the journey to the end, completely, of Hillsborough. We’ve got to wait with anticipation to see what happens.”

Aspinall said her thoughts on Wednesday would be with family members who had died in the 28 years since the disaster.

“Whatever happens, I still think it will be a long road, but the families are determined to never give up,” she said. “All we want is accountability, nothing more and nothing less.”

Steve Kelly, whose brother Michael, 38, was killed in the disaster, said it would be the “start of another battle” regardless of the CPS decision.

“There will be very, very mixed feelings,” he said. “This is just another step along the way. The actual vindication of the 96 and the survivors of Hillsborough hasn’t been fully achieved yet.”

Barry Devonside, whose son Christopher, 18, died at the stadium, said: “I just want this finished and to come to a conclusion.

“The last 28 years has been very upsetting, traumatic and very, very painful. This needs to be done properly and it needs to make people accountable for their actions on that particular day.”

In April 2016 a jury at the new inquests into the disaster found that the 96 people who died were unlawfully killed and a catalogue of failings by police and the ambulance services contributed to their deaths.

The verdict, which came shortly after the 27th anniversary of the lethal crush at the game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, vindicated the bereaved families, who have campaigned tirelessly against the police’s efforts to blame supporters for the tragedy.

Many of the relatives had attended almost every day of the inquests, which began on 1 April 2014 and became the longest jury case in British legal history.