Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Panel to study Hillsborough tragedy files revealed

People being lifted over the stands at Hillsborough
The families hope the papers will reveal the full truth of what happened

Seven members of a panel which will scrutinise files relating to the Hillsborough tragedy have been named.

It will be chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool and include academic criminologist Professor Phil Scraton and BBC journalist Peter Sissons.

The panel will spend two years reading thousands of documents detailing the events which led to the 1989 disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

They have been held by South Yorkshire Police for the past 20 years.

They contain evidence from the ambulance service, the police, the fire service, coroner and Sheffield City Council.

The documents in their entirety have not been read by anyone outside the police force before.

The Hillsborough Family Support Group, which have campaigning for the release of the documents since the disaster took place, said it had confidence in the panel.

Hillsborough files panel
Christine Gifford, public information expert
Katy Jones, TV producer and researcher
Paul Leighton, former Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
Dr Bill Kirkup, former Associate Medical Director at the Department of Health
Sarah Tyacke, archivist
Professor Phil Scraton, academic criminologist
Peter Sissons, broadcaster

After the panel has seen the documents, the files will be sent to the families before being put in the public domain.

Margaret Aspinall, chair of the group, said: "We are encouraged by who has been chosen.

"It shows we have been listened to and we feel that progress is being made.

"It's going to be a very hard and a very painful process, but it's vitally important that the truth comes out.

"Without the truth we will never have justice and without justice we will never have peace and we need peace after all these years."

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: "The new panellists are all experts in their field and will bring a range of vital skills to the work of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

"I am delighted they have accepted the responsibility of assisting Bishop James in releasing papers surrounding the terrible tragedy."

Supporters were crushed to death at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium in Sheffield on 15 April 1989 during Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final tie with Nottingham Forest.

The government promised in July last year to release documents relating to the events of the day.

The first meeting between the panellists will take place on 4 February.

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