Families wait for CPS’s decision on Hillsborough charges

From, clockwise, David Hawley, Jonathon Owens, Stephen ONeill and Nicholas Joynes
From, clockwise, David Hawley, Jonathon Owens, Stephen ONeill and Nicholas Joynes

The families of Hillsborough victims - including those from St Helens - will today learn the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision on charges relating to the disaster.

Families of the 96 men, women and children killed at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final will gather in Warrington to be informed of the decisions by Sue Hemming, CPS head of special crime and counter-terrorism division.

Four people from St Helens were killed at Hillsborough; David Hawley, 39, from Thatto Heath and his nephew Stephen O’Neill who was 17, Nicholas Joynes, 27, whose parents lived in Sutton, and Jonathon Owens, who was 18.

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

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: “It is going to be a day of mixed emotions for the families and we have had so many of them.

“Whatever happens, I still think it will be a long road, but the families are determined to never give up.

“All we want is accountability, nothing more and nothing less.”

Last year, new inquests found the 96 were unlawfully killed in the disaster, which happened at the match between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest.

The jury also identified errors in the police planning and response, the actions of commanding officers, the safety certification of the ground, the management of the stadium by Sheffield Wednesday FC and the response by the ambulance service.

It also found there were dangerous features in the stadium design and structural engineers Eastwood and Partners could have done more.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said it would be a “monumental day in the fight for justice”.

He said: “It is a day that many thought would never come and a day that, on more than one occasion, seemed impossible.

“The uncompromising determination and fight from the families and campaigners over the last 28 years has been an example to the rest of the country that sometimes, the impossible is achievable.”

He said there was still “a way to go” before justice was achieved.

He said: “We have to allow that process to happen and trust that those responsible will be held accountable for their actions.”