National News

Supplied by

‘They’ve let the 96 down’ – relatives of Hillsborough victims criticise CPS

6:32 pm, 21st August 2018

That was the reaction of families of some of the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough almost 30 years ago to the news that charges against Sir Norman Bettison will not be pursued.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) explained its decision to a judge in Preston on Tuesday as the victims’ families watched on from the public gallery.

They made no noise, and showed little emotion as the CPS barrister spoke.

The news had been broken to them last week. Today was merely confirmation.

Outside court, there were hugs between the families and much shoulder shrugging as they discussed the decision.

One of them, Louise Brookes, whose brother Andrew died at Hillsborough, summed up her feelings.

“I’m extremely disappointed but I’m not shocked. I predicted it,” she said.

“I’ve never had any faith or confidence or trust in the CPS or the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) or Operation Resolve (the criminal investigation into the Hillsborough disaster) and I’ve stated this publicly since 2015.

“I feel very let down personally by them, and I think they’ve let the 96 down, and they’ve let down the family members who are no longer alive to see this through.”

The CPS held a meeting with some of the family members after the hearing. Ms Brookes was not one of them, as she was feeling too frustrated.

But Donna Miller, whose brother Paul Carlile died in the tragedy, did meet with representatives from the CPS and the IPCC.

“I told them this just isn’t acceptable,” she said.

“We’ve waited 30 years for this, and now they’ve let us down. People have died waiting for justice.

“My mother was one of them.”

Steve Kelly, the brother of victim Michael, 38, said: “I’m absolutely devastated. I feel as if I’ve been beaten up this morning.”

There is the opportunity to call for a review into the decision, and it is one the families are going to take.

The families have 30 days to begin that process officially.