Carol Gustafson (158)
THE politician who oversaw Norman Bettison’s appointment as Merseyside chief constable refused to explain the decision saying: ‘That period of my life was hell’.
Hillsborough families angrily hit out at former Merseyside Police Authority chairwoman Carol Gustafson’s insensitivity and lack of accountability.
The Labour politician was police authority chair when Mr Bettison was appointed to Merseyside in 1998 – amid waves of protests from Hillsborough families about his role in the aftermath of the disaster that claimed 96 lives.
At the time she said she was unaware of his Hillsborough connections – something he did not mention in his job application – but later defended his appointment.
Mr Bettison last week announced his decision to retire next March as West Yorkshire chief constable after effectively being forced out after revelations in the Hillsborough Independent Panel report.
He is the most senior member of South Yorkshire Police’s discredited Hillsborough operation still serving, and denies any wrongdoing.
When contacted about Mr Bettison all Cllr Gustafson would say was: “I don’t want to talk about Norman Bettison at all, it was a period of my life that was hell. I really don’t want to talk about him.”
Margaret Aspinall, chair of Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: “She has got a cheek if she’s saying her life was hell. Our lives were hell when he came to this city as chief constable and she condoned it.
“She should hang her head in shame.”
Mrs Aspinall praised Liverpool’s former Lord Mayor Cllr Frank Prendergast, ex-Wirral leader Cllr Steve Faulkes, and the late Sefton councillor Dave Martin who resigned at the time in protest at the decision.