By Eleanor Barlow, PA
Liverpool will fall silent to remember the 97 victims of the Hillsborough disaster on its 33rd anniversary.
The city will pause for a minute’s silence on Friday at 3.06pm, the time the FA Cup semi-final was officially stopped on April 15th, 1989.
This is the first anniversary when tributes will be paid to 97 victims after Andrew Devine, 55, died in July last year – more than 32 years after he was badly hurt in the crush at the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
It comes as calls for a Hillsborough Law continue to be made.
⚖️ HILLSBOROUGH LAW ⚖️
"The scales of justice are weighed against ordinary families..."
Steve and @AndyBurnhamGM have written to every MP asking them to:
1⃣ Support the principle of a Hillsborough Law
2⃣ Support its inclusion in the forthcoming Queen's Speech pic.twitter.com/BYjeTgju5z
— Mayor Steve Rotheram (@LCRMayor) April 14, 2022
Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham wrote to all 650 MPs on Thursday urging them to back the law, which would introduce a statutory duty of candour on public servants during all forms of public inquiry and criminal investigation.
The letter said: “Ninety-seven innocent men, women, and children were unlawfully killed during an FA Cup match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15 1989.
“And yet, after more than three decades of victim-blaming and lies, nobody has been held accountable for the unlawful killing of so many.
“However, Hillsborough is NOT an exception to the norm.”
The mayors said the relatives of servicemen exposed to British nuclear tests, those affected by the contaminated blood scandal, the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack were all examples where “the scales of justice are weighed against ordinary families and in favour of public authorities who hold all the power”.
The law, backed by former British prime ministers Gordon Brown and Theresa May, would also ensure proper participation of bereaved families at inquests, through publicly-funded legal representation, and the provision of a public advocate to act for families of the deceased after major incidents.
In 2016, an inquest jury found the Hillsborough victims were unlawfully killed.
But match commander David Duckenfield was cleared of gross negligence manslaughter in 2019 and a trial of two retired police officers and a former force solicitor, who were accused of perverting the course of justice, collapsed last year after a judge ruled there was no case to answer.
In Liverpool on Friday, flags will be flown at half-mast from civic buildings and the Town Hall bells will toll 97 times.
A brass plaque engraved with the names of the 97 victims will be on show to the public in the Town Hall, which will light up red in the evening as an act of remembrance.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Mary Rasmussen, who will lead a minute’s silence, said: “This is a sombre time for our city and I am proud and moved to lead the commemorations this year.
“We have always pledged never to forget those who lost their lives as a result of that tragic day 33 years ago – in doing so we honour their memory and stand in solidarity with their families.
“As the first citizen of Liverpool, I urge everyone to stop what they’re doing on Friday at 3.06pm and take time to remember those who we lost and give our thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the tragedy.”