Hillsborough families not told of new review - calls for it to be ‘immediately suspended’

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The families only found out about the Home Office review into the failures of the original pathology report through reporst in the media.

Andy Burnham has called for the latest review into the Hillsborough disaster to be ‘immediately suspended’ after it emerged relatives were not told about it.

The Home Office announced on Wednesday that it has established an independent review of the forensic pathology reports used for the original inquests into the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

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The review began on July 1 with its findings set to be reported next summer.

However, relatives of the victims say they were not told about the review into the failings at the original inquests and only heard about it through media reports.

As a government minister, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham helped to set up the panel whose report led to the original inquests being quashed.

The Labour mayor says he received messages last night from the families of Hillsborough victims who could not believe what they were seeing reported.

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Together with the mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram and some MPs, Mr Burnham is now calling for the latest review to be ‘immediately suspended’.

He said: “This deals with some of the most personal information and we know it goes to the heart of the cover up where blood-alcohol readings were taken – taken from children even – immediately after the disaster. This couldn’t be more sensitive.”

Mr Burnham said there may be a justification for the review, but the families of the victims must first give their consent for it to take place before proceeding.

He added: “This review should be immediately suspended until they have the consent of the families to proceed. That is absolutely our non-negotiable position in support of the families.”

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Mr Rotheram added: “Thoughtless and insensitive to hear that the Home Office has announced a review into the failures in pathology at the original Hillsborough inquests without informing or talking to the families first.”

Liverpool City Region mayor, Steve RotheramLiverpool City Region mayor, Steve Rotheram
Liverpool City Region mayor, Steve Rotheram

The review reflects recommendations made in a 2017 report which identified failings in the pathological reporting of the deaths at the Hillsborough ground.

Beginning on July 1, following the conclusion of the final criminal trials relating to the disaster, the review is chaired by forensic science expert Glenn Taylor who is expected to report his findings to the Home Secretary next summer.

The review will consider what went wrong with the original pathological report from the disaster to ensure that similar mistakes will not be made in the future.

The Home Office has been approached for comment

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