New Hillsborough inquests nearer

Families of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster are a step closer to justice after the Attorney General paved the way for fresh inquests, campaigners have said.

Dominic Grieve QC said he was taking the "exceptional course" of indicating that he will apply to quash the original accidental death verdicts before finishing his review of the evidence to spare families the anxiety of further delay.

The move comes after a damning report into the disaster 23 years ago laid bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy on to its victims.

Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died in the crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989, where their team were to meet Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.

Liverpool MP Steve Rotheram said the Attorney General's decision "marks one of the biggest steps forward in the fight for justice for the families in 23 years".

Some families have even refused to pick up the death certificates and the move raises the possibility of different verdicts "which the families have always believed should have reflected the unlawful killing of their loved ones", he added.

Pat Joynes, whose son Nicholas Joynes, 27, was killed in the tragedy, said: "I'm highly delighted.

"We want the accidental death verdicts quashed so we can get manslaughter verdicts.

"I have spoken to different families over the weekend, that seems to be the opinion and it is what I would want as well - corporate manslaughter and manslaughter verdicts."

She went on: "Ninety-six people can't die and hundreds injured without someone being held responsible."