A MOTHER whose son was crushed to death at Hillsborough spoke of her “cautious optimism” as families prepare to hear the conclusions of an independent inquiry into the tragedy.
Anne Williams’ son Kevin was just 15 when he and 95 other Liverpool FC fans died watching the ill-fated FA Cup semi-final in 1989.
For more than 23 years, Ms Williams has fought for a new inquest after the original hearing controversially ruled all victims were dead or brain-dead by 3.15pm – despite evidence to suggest Kevin was alive until 4pm.
Next Wednesday the Hillsborough Independent Panel will disclose thousands of documents relating to the disaster which could move Ms Williams and the relatives of other victims a step closer to justice.
She told the Post: “We have all waited so long for the truth. We have suffered so many cover-ups and stitch-ups.
“Everyone is a bit anxious at the moment. Everyone has personal aspects which they want addressing.
“It is a case of mixed feelings. Our stomachs turn when we think about what’s going to happen but we are all cautiously optimistic that we will have answers at last.
“Going by what I am picking up, I think they have done the best they can and we will get a full and extensive report.”
The disclosure at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral will be significant for Ms Williams, who is originally from Formby but now lives near Chester, as she prepares a new submission to the Attorney General for a fresh inquest after three rejections.
Dominic Grieve QC revealed in a Commons debate in February that he expected the Hillsborough panel to unearth further evidence which could tip the balance towards a new hearing.
Ms Williams said: “I have enough evidence now and I could have put it before the Attorney General a couple of years ago, but my barrister said to wait and see if the panel uncovers more.
“Mr Grieve said he will look at everything I submit with an open mind.
“He said if the evidence is there, he will send the case back to the divisional court and grant a new inquest.
“If Mr Grieve is a man of his word, Kevin should get his inquest.”
The panel, chaired by the Right Reverend James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool, has spent two years examining more than 400,000 documents disclosed by 80 different organisations.
It includes papers from various government departments, South Yorkshire Police, the emergency services and Sheffield coroner Dr Stefan Popper, who heard the original inquest.
Ms Williams said: “We have had to mourn while not knowing exactly what happened to our kids. Our lives have been on hold for years.
“We will never get over Hillsborough – it will always be there. But if we can get some peace, some peace of mind, that would make a big difference to all our lives.
“Once we get the truth we can wrap our heads around what happened that day. We just want justice.”
Families’ key questions to Hillsborough Independent Panel
THE Hillsborough Independent Panel – which was set up to secure the maximum possible disclosure of documents relating to the disaster – will publish its report.
Thirty-five key questions asked of the panel by the Hillsborough Family Support Group include:
Why was a venue without a safety certificate used for such a high-profile match and why have Sheffield Wednesday not been taken to task for this lack of duty of care?
Why were Liverpool fans given the smaller end of the ground when they had the larger number of supporters? Liverpool Football Club had asked for this to be changed – why was their request ignored?
Why was Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield in charge on the day? What were his qualifications/experience/competency?
Why was the kick-off not delayed?
Who stopped the ambulances from coming onto the pitch?
Statements prove pens 3 and 4 were overfull by 2.30pm-2.45pm and people were probably already dying. Why was the order given to open gates and not consider the consequences to the people inside?