David Cameron: Hillsborough verdict confirms Liverpool fans were 'utterly blameless'
David Cameron today said the Hillsborough inquiry verdict proved once and for all that Liverpool fans "were utterly blameless" for the tragedy.
A jury ruled that the 96 supporters who died at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final were killed unlawfully, while the actions of the match commander that day amounted to "gross negligence".
The two-year long inquest - the longest ever to be held in front of a jury - also found police errors added to a dangerous situation at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium, causing a fatal crush at the Leppings Lane end of the ground.
In a statement, the Prime Minister said: "Today was a landmark moment in the quest for justice for the 96 Liverpool fans who died on that dreadful day in April, 1989. It is also a long overdue day.
"The bereaved families and the survivors of the Hillsborough disaster have had to wait 27 long years for the full facts of what happened and it is only due to their tireless bravery
in pursuing the truth that we arrived at this momentous verdict.
"All families and survivors now have official confirmation of what they always knew was the case, that the Liverpool fans were utterly blameless in the disaster that unfolded at Hillsborough.”
Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham branded the case “the greatest miscarriage of justice of our times”, and said criminal prosecutions should follow.
“After 27 long years, this is real justice for the 96, their families and all Liverpool supporters," he said.
“The survivors of this tragedy can finally be remembered for what they were on that day - the heroes of Hillsborough who tried to help their fellow fans.”
Mr Burnham added: "The sense of relief we feel is tempered by the knowledge that this day has taken far too long in coming.
“The struggle for justice has taken too great a toll on too many. But the Hillsborough families have at long last prevailed and finally their loved-ones can rest in peace."
The Leigh MP said prosecutions of those who may have covered up the truth should take place.
"Disgracefully, lawyers for retired police have attempted to continue the cover-up in this courtroom,” he said.
“Ultimately, a jury in a criminal trial may need to decide this issue and it is important that nothing is said that may prejudice the right to a fair trial or make it more difficult to pursue appropriate prosecutions.”
Fellow Labour MP Steve Rotheram, a Liverpool fan who was at the fateful match, said the tragedy had been “compounded by the lies and smears”.
"This is a momentous day but they should never have had to wait so long,” he said.
“The truth is out there for all to see. Justice has been served by the verdicts and now it is about accountability."