Liverpool

Sir Norman Bettison writes book about Hillsborough

Hillsborough disaster Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests
Image caption Ninety-six fans died following crushing at Hillsborough stadium on 15 April 1989

Former South Yorkshire Police chief inspector Sir Norman Bettison has written a book about the Hillsborough disaster, saying he has been "unfairly scapegoated".

Sir Norman witnessed the 1989 disaster as a spectator.

At the Hillsborough inquests, he denied being part of a "black propaganda unit" set up to blame Liverpool fans and "concoct" a false version of events.

His book, entitled Hillsborough Untold, will be released in November.

Biteback Publishing said the proceeds would be donated to charity.

Ninety-six football fans died following crushing at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield, during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Norman Bettison pictured arriving at the Hillsborough inquests in Warrington, Cheshire, last year

New inquests into the deaths concluded the victims were unlawfully killed.

A spokesman for Biteback Publishing said they hope the book will help "add to the narrative" of what happened during the disaster.

"Hillsborough was a tragedy of horrendous proportions. So many voices have come from Hillsborough," he said.

"We think [the book] can add to the narrative and shine a light on what happened and why things went so badly wrong."

In the wake of the disaster, Sir Norman was part of a police team that gathered evidence about what had happened, for use at a public inquiry.

In 1998, he was controversially appointed chief constable of Merseyside Police.

Barry Devonside, who lost his son Christopher in the disaster, said he was "saddened and disappointed" at the former officer's decision to write the book.

He said it "shows a clear lack of sensitivity towards the families", adding that it was "the type of behaviour we've come to be used to from Norman Bettison".

How the Hillsborough disaster unfolded

Five myths dispelled by the Hillsborough inquests jury

Sir Norman said it had "never occurred to him" to mention the work he did after the Hillsborough disaster in his application for the Merseyside top job, and he was not "embarrassed" by it and had "nothing to hide".

He held the post of chief constable in Merseyside from 1998 to 2004 before becoming chief constable of the West Yorkshire force.

Sir Norman resigned from that post in 2012, saying an investigation into his role after the tragedy was a "distraction" to the force.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) published its report in September 2012, revealing that 164 police statements by South Yorkshire Police officers were altered - 116 to remove or change negative comments about the policing of the 1989 FA Cup semi final.

The HIP report said the review and alteration of statements was part of an attempt by South Yorkshire Police to deflect criticism on to fans.

A day after the publication of the HIP report, Sir Norman said Liverpool fans had made the "police's job much harder than it needed to be" - a comment he told the inquests he "regretted" making.

Sir Norman remains under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission regarding his alleged involvement in a police cover-up.

The IPCC said it was aware of the book, but declined to comment further.

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