INVESTIGATORS looking into the aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster expect to “identify and interview people as suspects” in the coming weeks, the police watchdog has revealed.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is looking into the conduct of police in the aftermath of the tragedy, says 242 officers’ accounts of what happened on the day are thought to have been amended.
In the watchdog’s monthly update on its inquiry into the events at Sheffield Wednesday’s home ground, which led to the death of 96 Liverpool fans, deputy chair Rachel Cerfontyne said officials had nearly finished interviewing officers involved.
She said: “We are beginning to focus on those key people who are of significant interest to us and we expect to interview those before the start of the [new Hillsborough inquests in Warrington at the end of March]. That will be a significant step as we expect to be identifying and interviewing people as suspects.”
The IPCC says Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe is also now subject to a second, separate investigation in relation to public statements made over whether he gave an account to an earlier enquiry.
After the disaster, Lord Justice Taylor was appointed to conduct an inquiry into the tragedy. He sat for a total of 31 days and published two reports.
A complaint against Sir Bernard, who was on duty at Sheffield Boys’ Club where families waited to learn the fate of their loved ones, is already being investigated by a criminal inquiry.
At Liverpool’s FA Cup semi- final against Nottingham Forest, thousands of fans were crushed on the ground’s Leppings Lane terrace.
Two inquiries are under way into the disaster. Operation Resolve, led by former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart, is investigating whether fans were unlawfully killed, and the IPCC is looking into the conduct of police in the aftermath of the disaster.