Carlisle United Andy Bell steps down over Hillsborough tweets

Andy Bell Image copyright Carlisle United
Image caption Andy Bell said severing ties with the club would preserve its positive reputation

A football club official who came under fire for tweets mocking victims of the Hillsborough disaster has stepped down.

The messages appeared on the account of Andy Bell, a vice-president of Carlisle United, on Tuesday but were soon deleted.

Mr Bell claimed his Twitter account had been hacked.

The club branded them "disrespectful" while the official supporters' club called on him to provide evidence he had been targeted.

They were published on the same day the Hillsborough inquests ruled the 96 people were unlawfully killed in the stadium tragedy in April 1989 as Liverpool took on Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Mr Bell denied responsibility for the tweets earlier in the week and said someone had tried to "tarnish" his name

The first message read: "Don't mention the Heysel Stadium disaster!" - a reference to the deaths of 39 people in Belgium in 1985 in the build-up to the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus.

Minutes later, a second said: "Were you involved in a stadium disaster that wasn't your fault? Call us now and get the compo you deserve!"

'Severing ties'

In a statement published on the club website, Mr Bell said "it appears severing ties will help preserve the positive reputation that Carlisle United have forged in the local and wider community."

Describing it as a "difficult decision", he added he would withdraw his business's sponsorship of the club at the end of the season while remaining a fan. He has now deactivated his account.

Carlisle United Official Supporters' Club had described it as a "sick incident" while the club said it in "no way supported or condoned" the messages.

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