Hillsborough inquest: Police lawyers to probe fans' 'drunkenness'

Hillsborough disaster Ninety-six fans died as a result of the crush at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final

The disputed suggestion drunkenness among fans played a part in the Hillsborough disaster will be explored again in new inquests, lawyers for senior police officers have said.

The disclosure drew angry cries from victims' families at a hearing ahead of next month's fresh inquests.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died as a result of a crush in 1989 .

The Hillsborough Independent Panel found no evidence alcohol "played any part in the genesis of the disaster".

Fresh inquests into the deaths at the FA semi-final match are set to begin on 31 March in Warrington, Cheshire.

'Present neutral opinion'

At the fifth pre-inquest hearing in central London, John Beggs QC acting for match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield and other senior officers announced they intend to explore if drunkenness among fans contributed to the deaths.

In submissions to the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, a QC representing 22 of the bereaved families, said his team have commissioned an expert report on alcohol to present a neutral opinion.

Lord Goldring will consider whether this can be given as evidence.

Newspaper reports that "drunk and ticketless" fans were to blame for the Hillsborough stadium disaster on 15 April 1989 were dismissed by the 1989 Taylor Inquiry which concluded the main cause was the police failure of crowd control.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP), published in September 2012, also cleared Liverpool supporters of any wrongdoing.

It said: "The Panel found no evidence among the vast number of disclosed documents and many hours of video material to verify the serious allegations of exceptional levels of drunkenness."

It added that an emphasis on alcohol consumption had "fuelled persistent and unsustainable assertions about drunken fan behaviour".

Earlier, the hearing was told jurors will also make a visit to the stadium but will not be allowed to read on-site tributes to the victims.

'Objective approach'

Christina Lambert QC, counsel to the inquests, said: "The reason that we make this final observation is because the jury must remain objective and must be seen to be objective in their approach to the issues.

"Having visited the memorial myself, there is no doubt that the tributes that are made there are deeply moving."

She added there was "broad agreement" on the parts of the stadium and locations nearby, which should be viewed by the jurors.

"Our view is that it is reasonable for the jury to view the current police box even though its location is not precisely as it was in 1989," Ms Lambert said.

She told coroner Lord Justice Goldring the fresh inquest should aim to conclude around Christmas time.

The High Court quashed the original inquest verdicts in December 2012 following publication of the Hillsborough panel report.

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  1.  
    Whisky in the park 13:11: Tom Airey BBC News

    My favourite photo of the day so far is Grandmother Giant having a long drink from her hipflask in Newsham Park.

    Gran taking a drink

    It looks to me that it's going down a little too easily!

     
  2.  
    Travel alerts 13:04:

    Merseytravel tweets: For major, unplanned travel disruption during @GiantSpectacle check Travel Alerts bit.ly/MTupdates or call Traveline 0151 236 7676

     
  3.  
    All smiles 12:59: BBC Radio Merseyside

    Look at those smiles! It's got to be one the best days ever for these Liverpool kids.

    Kids smiling
     
  4.  
    Jean-Luc's Air Guitar 12:54:

    He may not have an actual guitar but that's not stopped Giants creator Jean-Luc Courcoult joining in with the band as they travel through Liverpool.

    Jean-Luc Courcoult doing air guitar

    Thank you to Mike Blackmon for sending the photo into us. If you have any pictures you'd like to share with us, email them to merseyside.locallive@bbc.co.uk or tweet @bbcmerseyside.

     
  5.  
    Heavy traffic on M56 12:50:

    BBC Travel News says there's heavier than usual traffic and slow traffic on the M56 eastbound between junction 14, (Hapsford) and junction 12, (Runcorn).

     
  6.  
    Shower time 12:46: Tom Mullen BBC News Online

    One of my favourite moments following the Giants so far was when the Little Girl took a shower after waking up this morning. It was really clever.

    Shower
     
  7.  
    Train delays 12:41:

    There are delays of up to eight minutes on Merseyrail between Hunts Cross and Southport due to the large number of passengers travelling to see the Giants.

    The disruption is expected to last until 15:30.

     
  8.  
    Wow factor 12:36:

    Paul Mullin was watching the giants wake at Newsham Park with partner Helen Toolan, and children Alexcia, six, and George, four.

    Giants people

    Paul said: "Our reaction has just been 'wow'."

    "It's been incredible. It's been a really good atmosphere and the movement of the giants has been fascinating to watch. The kids love Xolo the dog."

    Helen added: "The Little Girl having the shower was really clever and the dog running around was really realistic."

     
  9.  
    Extra ferries 12:29:

    Merseytravel tweets: Heading to see the #Giants from the Wirral? @MerseyFerries are running extra services ow.ly/zxC7r

     
  10.  
    Taking a ride on a Giant 12:24: Steve Coleman BBC Radio Merseyside

    Imagine getting a swing on Little Girl Giant's arm. Memories that last forever!

    Girl Giant
     
  11.  
    Puppet tribute 12:19:

    Children from Dukes and Duchesses Nursery have made puppets in honour of the Giants Spectacular.

    Puppets

    Please send us your photos or comments on email, Facebook or Twitter.

     
  12.  
    A window on the Giants 12:15: BBC Radio Merseyside

    tweets: Handy to live on the Giants' route in Kensington - you can just look out of the window! #giants #liverpool

    The Little Girl Giant
     
  13.  
    Up to no good 12:11: James Mountford BBC Radio Merseyside

    Xolo the dog has been up to no good again.

    Xolo relieving himself

    He's been relieving himself right in the middle of the road. Clearly, he couldn't find a lamppost.

     
  14.  
    Collecting for the Pals 12:07: Tom Airey BBC News

    I've just met Tony, Butch and Felicity, all collecting for the Liverpool Pals Memorial Fund. They're aiming to raise £100,000.

    Tony, Butch and Felicity, collecting for the Liverpool Pals Memorial Fund
     
  15.  
    Taking it easy 12:02: Owen Walker BBC Local Live

    Grandma is taking it a little easier in her chair this morning as she travels through Kensington.

    Grandma travelling through Kensington

    Yesterday, she had a few problems with her head whilst travelling up Hanover Street. Let's hope that doesn't happen again today.

     
  16.  
    Is it a Scooter? 11:57: Tom Airey BBC News

    This contraption is being unloaded from a truck in Kensington.

    Scooter being unloaded in Kensington

    Looks like it could be a giant scooter. I wonder who is going to have a ride on that.

     
  17.  
    Waiting for the giants 11:53: BBC Radio Merseyside

    tweets: Amber with Mum Cat from Kensington can't wait!! #giants

    Amber and Cat
     
  18.  
    Another hot day 11:51:

    Liverpool Council tweets: It's another hot day today if you're coming to see the Giants please wear plenty of sun cream & drink lots of water, stay safe in the sun

     
  19.  
    Great thing to be a part of 11:47: James Mountford BBC Radio Merseyside

    I have to confess, I was a bit of a cynic before all of this but now I've seen the Giants up close, it's just amazing how lifelike they are!

    Smiling crowds

    It's a great thing to be a part of and I love seeing the smiles on everybody's faces in the crowd. That's something money can't buy.

     
  20.  
    Hot in the city 11:42: Tom Airey BBC News

    People in Kensington are lining the streets and waiting patiently for the Giants.

    Giant Refreshments sign

    It's hot already, so the "Giant Refreshments" stand is doing a good trade.

    I recommend you bring a hat and some sun cream if you're heading out to join the crowds.

     
  21.  
    Cheeky Xolo 11:36: Andy Gill BBC North West Tonight

    While the Little Girl was getting ready after her shower, cheeky Xolo the dog dashed in and tried to steal one of her socks.

    Xolo the dog
     
  22.  
    Little Girl gets going 11:32: Andy Gill BBC North West Tonight

    She's up and about after taking a shower.

    Girl Giant wakes up
     
  23.  
    Packed streets 11:28: James Mountford BBC Radio Merseyside

    The Giants are well underway and the streets around Newsham Park are full to brim with people trying to catch a glimpse as they walk back towards the city centre.

    Busy streets
     
  24.  
    The pull of the Giants 11:23: Helen Carter BBC Local Live

    Have their footsteps been felt in London? Are the Giants on the radar in the South? Or is it an event that matters only to Liverpool?

    Xolo the giant dog

    I've taken a look at the effect of the Giants outside Liverpool and the "powerful" pull they have on tourists.

     
  25.  
    Running around the Park 11:19: Owen Walker BBC Local Live

    We've been hearing how Xolo the dog has been running around Newsham Park this morning.

    Xolo the dog at Newsham Park

    Check out this cracking video of him arriving at the park last night, much to the delight of the kids in the crowd.

     
  26.  
    Shower time 11:15:

    It's shower time for Little Girl Giant before she walks around Liverpool. Paul Hollinghurst took this lovely picture.

    Girl Giant takes a shower

    Do you have a picture you'd like to share? Email merseyside.locallive@bbc.co.uk, tweet us or send them via Facebook.

     
  27.  
    Smoking her pipe 11:11: Tom Airey BBC News

    The Giants are on the move! Grandmother is still smoking the pipe.

    Grandmother smokes a pipe
     
  28.  
    Watch Grandma waking up 11:07: BBC Radio Merseyside

    Check out this video of Xolo and Grandma waking up in Newsham Park on our Facebook page.

    Grandma having a morning whiskey

    If you like it please share it!

     
  29.  
    Snapping the Giants 11:04:

    Andrea Day sent us this wonderful picture of the Little Girl Giant and her dog, Xolo, taking a well earned nap next to the Chinese arch on Friday.

    Little Girl Giant taking a nap

    If you're watching the Giants today, we'd love to see your pictures - send them to us on email, Facebook or Twitter.

     
  30.  
    Grandma's route 11:00:

    This is where the Grandma giant will be throughout the day as she continues to explore Liverpool.

    Grandma graphic

    Please be aware that these times are subject to change as it is a live event and there could be delays.

    Details on the Little Girl will follow.

     
  31.  
    Xolo wagging his tail 10:55: James Mountford BBC Radio Merseyside

    Xolo is on all fours wagging his tail. He looks a very happy dog. Thousands of people all around gathering to see the performance.

    Xolo the dog

    There's a three-wheeled car which is a makeshift record player. We're seeing a huge vinyl record being lifted on the roof of a car which acts as a turntable.

     
  32.  
    Unhealthy breakfast 10:51: Tom Airey BBC News

    Grandmother giant starts the day with a huge glug of whiskey from a 3ft hip flask.

    She continues the unhealthy start to the day with a long smoke on a pipe. Hope the Little Girl giant wasn't watching!

     
  33.  
    Plan your journey 10:46:

    Merseytravel tweets: Please plan for your journey in advance and be patient if going to see #Giants event as city centre and transport services are very busy.

     
  34.  
    top headlines
     
  35.  
    Xolo's up 10:40: Andy Gill BBC North West Tonight

    tweets: Xolo's up #giants @BBCNWT

    Xolo waking up
     
  36.  
    Thousands expected 10:37:

    Thousands of people are expected to line Liverpool's streets for the second day of the Giants' visit to Liverpool.

    The Grandmother Giant and the crowds

    An estimated 300,000 people watched the three giants walk through the city on Friday.

     
  37.  
    Giants from above 10:34:

    National Police Air Service Rhuddlan tweets: Enjoying to weather #giants

    Crowds in Newsham Park
     
  38.  
    They're awake! 10:31: Tom Mullen BBC News Online

    They're awake! Xolo is wagging his tail, the Little Girl has stood up on her bed and Grandma is slowly stirring.

    There are squeals of delight from the children and ripples of applause from the park.

     
  39.  
    Not long now 10:29: Tom Airey BBC News

    The band kicks in and the Lilliputians are starting to emerge.

    Sleeping Grandma with the band

    Not long to wait now.

     
  40.  
    Bright pink jacket 10:27: Tom Mullen BBC News Online

    I'm here at Newsham Park and the crowd is really heaving. The sun is shining, music is playing and everybody's waiting for the big wake-up.

    The man behind the Giants, Jean-Luc Courcolt, is strolling around smiling in a bright pink jacket.

     
  41.  
    Grandmother wakes up 10:24: Andy Gill BBC North West Tonight

    She'll be on the move soon.

    Giant Grandmother

    Are you watching the Giants? Get in touch.

     
  42.  
    Thousands gather 10:21: Tom Airey BBC News

    I'm among the thousands who have gathered for the start to the Giants' second day in Liverpool.

    Thousands gather in Newsham Park

    We're in Newsham Park listening to moving letters from World War One.

     
  43.  
    Remembering the Pals 10:17: Andy Gill BBC North West Tonight

    The Newsham Park crowd are listening quietly to recordings made by the relatives of some of the Liverpool Pals.

    The World War One volunteer battalions were formed by Lord Derby and took 5,000 local men to the front.

    One recording is of a letter written to the mother of a local soldier after he had died. The relative reading it is very emotional, as is the listening crowd.

     
  44.  
    Changes to buses 10:11:

    There will be significant changes to buses because of the Giants' visit to Liverpool.

    You can see a full list of changes here.

     
  45.  
    What a pair of slippers 10:06: Paul Beesley BBC Radio Merseyside

    What a pair of slippers Grandma has!

    Grandma's slippers
     
  46.  
    Road closures 10:00:

    A number of roads across Liverpool will be closed today while the Giants walk across the city.

    List of road closures

    You can find a full list here.

     
  47.  
    Hardly slept 09:56: Sue Owen Editor, BBC Radio Merseyside

    I hardly slept last night! Too hot, and also I'm so excited about another day with the Giants.

    Little Girl Giant asleep in Newsham Park

    But the heat clearly hasn't stopped the Little Girl, her Nan and Xolo the dog getting a good rest in Newsham Park. I'm really jealous.

     
  48.  
    Giant crowds at the park 09:51: Andy Gill BBC North West Tonight

    tweets: Big crowd Newsham Park #Liverpool for #giants day 2. @BBCNWT

    Crowds at Newsham Park
     
  49.  
    Mumbling in his sleep 09:46: James Mountford BBC Radio Merseyside

    I'm at Newsham Park this morning where the giants are sleeping following their long walk around Liverpool yesterday.

    Xolo the dog sleeping

    If you get close enough to Xolo, you can hear him mumbling in his sleep!

    The only problem is I can't understand what he's saying because it's all in French.

     
  50.  
    Giant routes 09:41:

    Giant Spectacular tweets: Check the routes on the map along with the timings for today. Both giants leave Newsham Park at 10 am giantspectacular.com/saturday

     
  51.  
    Poor effort on litter 09:36: James Mountford BBC Radio Merseyside

    When we first arrived at Newsham Park, the site was extremely messy from last night.

    Litter in Newsham Park

    There were empty beer cans, plastic bottles and all sorts of rubbish strewn across the grass.

    It has started to be cleaned up now but I have to say it is a poor effort on the litter front.

     
  52.  
    Lovely gift 09:30:

    Giant Spectacular tweets: Woke up to a lovely gift of a very kind family #ThankYou pic.twitter.com/TX4ZmTYuTn

    New blanket for Grandma giant
     
  53.  
    'Set off in plenty of time' 09:23:

    Merseyrail is advising people to set off in plenty of time if they want to see the Giants. It follows problems yesterday getting everyone in and out of the city.

    They're also asking Wirral line passengers to use Liverpool Central Station and the Northern line passengers to use Moorfields.

    For more information visit the Merseyrail website.

     
  54.  
    Relive the magic 09:16: Judith Moritz North of England correspondent, BBC News

    Thousands of people lined the streets of Liverpool yesterday to welcome the Giants to the city.

    Giant puppet on the streets in Liverpool

    If you you missed any of the action yesterday or simply want to relive the magic you can watch my report on the BBC News website.

     
  55.  
    Waiting to see the giants 09:11: Paul Beesley BBC Radio Merseyside

    There are nearly 300 people gathered in Newsham Park already this morning waiting for the giants to wake up.

    Family picnic

    I met a family of 15 who've brought a huge picnic with them, including some cava for the adults.

     
  56.  
    Hot and sunny 09:05: Charlie Slater Weather Presenter, BBC North West Today

    Another hot and sunny day with lots of blue sky for many of us from the word go.

    Weather graphic for 13:00 on 26.07.2014

    Some cloud is likely to bubble up later in the afternoon but it won't spoil the day, instead we'll have sunny spells rather than widespread blue sky and sunshine.

    Temperatures will reach highs of 27C (81F).

     
  57.  
    Good morning 09:00: Owen Walker BBC Local Live

    It's day two of the giants visit to Liverpool. The Little Girl Giant, her Grandmother and Xolo the dog had spent the night in Newsham Park.

    All the giants sleeping in Newsham Park

    We'll be following them throughout the day as they continue to explore Liverpool.

    If you have any pictures or comments you'd like to send us, email them to merseyside.locallive@bbc.co.uk or tweet us at @bbcmerseyside.

     

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