Premier League - Drop conspiracies, Hillsborough families told

Wed, 19 Oct 15:01:00 2011

Families of the dead of the Hillsborough disaster should learn lessons from the conduct of relatives of victims of the 1985 Bradford City stadium fire, according to a retired judge.

2009 Liverpool Hillsborough tribute - 0

Sir Oliver Popplewell chaired the public inquiry into the fire at Valley Parade and believes families of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 should study the aftermath of the tragedy in Bradford that saw 56 people perish four years earlier.

Following the debate in the House of Commons on whether all the cabinet papers on Hillsborough should be made public, Popplewell wrote in a letter to The Times that it was time for the Hillsborough families to forget their 'conspiracy theories'.

He said: "The citizens of Bradford behaved with quiet dignity and great courage. They did not harbour conspiracy theories.

"They did not seek endless further inquiries. They buried their dead, comforted the bereaved and succoured the injured. They organised a sensible compensation scheme and moved on.

"Is there, perhaps, a lesson there for the Hillsborough campaigners?"

Home secretary, Theresa May, has said all possible documents on the FA Cup semi-final tragedy 22 years ago that left 96 Liverpool fans dead will be released to the public.

The Labour MP Steve Rotheram has slammed the letter.

"How insensitive does somebody have to be to write that load of drivel?" Rotheram asked. "To mention other tragedies simply because they are football-related, as if there is some common denominator because they happened in football stadiums, beggars belief.

"Was there a conspiracy after the Bradford fire? Did the government try to blame the Bradford City fans for setting fire to the stadium on purpose? It shows how people right at the top of the establishment still harbour prejudice and ignorance."

Margaret Aspinall lost her son James in the disaster, and is equally unhappy about the letter. She said: "He ought to be ashamed of himself."

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