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Hillsborough stadium victims were unlawfully killed, jury finds

Paul Ellis, AFP | Relatives of the victims of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster react to a court ruling on in Warrington, north-west England on April 26, 2016

The 96 Liverpool football fans who died in Britain's 1989 Hillsborough football stadium disaster were unlawfully killed, a jury found Tuesday after hearing more than two years of evidence.

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The young fans died as a result of police errors the court said at the end of the longest-running inquest in English legal history.

Relatives of the victims of the 1989 disaster, some wearing Liverpool scarves, were in tears outside a specially-built courtroom after new inquests into Britain's worst sporting disaster.

Fans chanted "Justice for the 96" and sang the Premier League club's anthem, "You'll Never Walk Alone", after hearing the verdicts.

"Landmark day as the Hillsborough inquest provides long overdue justice for the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the tragic disaster," British Prime Minister David Cameron wrote on Twitter after the verdict.

Families spent more than a quarter of a century campaigning after being angered by the verdicts of accidental death at the original inquests following the April 1989 FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the stadium in Sheffield.

The original inquest verdicts were overturned in 2012 following a far-reaching inquiry into the disaster and new hearings held in Warrington, close to Liverpool in northwest England.

The jury, which had been considering 14 questions set out by the coroner, concluded the deaths constituted unlawful killing by a 7-2 majority, prompting sobbing and cheers at the hearing.

The jury also found that police planning errors "caused or contributed" to the situation that led to the crush, while confirming that the behavior of fans did not cause or contribute to the tragedy.

The verdicts are not the end of the fight for the victims' families. The Crown Prosecution Service said it will "formally consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body".

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

 

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