Liverpool

Hillsborough campaigner Phil Scraton refuses OBE

Phil Scraton Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prof Scraton received the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in September

Hillsborough campaigner Prof Phil Scraton has turned down an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list.

The author, who led the Hillsborough Independent Panel's research team, said he could not receive an honour in protest "at those who remained unresponsive" to help families and survivors affected by the disaster.

Ninety-six people died following a crush at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989.

In April, an inquest jury concluded the fans were unlawfully killed.

Image caption The inquests into the deaths of 96 fans were the longest in UK legal history

Prof Scraton's book, Hillsborough: The Truth, is widely accepted as the definitive account of the disaster.

In a statement, he said: "I researched Hillsborough from 1989, publishing reports, articles and the first edition of Hillsborough: The Truth in 1990.

"Until 2009, and despite compelling evidence, successive governments declined to pursue a thorough, independent review of the context, consequences and aftermath of the disaster.

"This changed as a direct result of the families' and survivors' brave, persistent campaign.

"It led to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, its ground-breaking findings, new inquests and their crucially significant verdicts."

Image copyright Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images
Image caption Hillsborough campaigners Trevor Hicks and Margaret Aspinall and former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish received Freedom of the City of Liverpool medals in September

Prof Scraton has previously received the Freedom of the City of Liverpool, the Political Studies Association's Campaigner of the Year Award and an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from the University of Liverpool "with gratitude and humility".

But he added: "I headed the Panel's research team and was a consultant to the families' lawyers throughout the new inquests.

"I could not receive an honour on the recommendation of those who remained unresponsive to the determined efforts of bereaved families and survivors to secure truth and justice."

Hillsborough campaigners Margaret Aspinall and Trevor Hicks, who both lost children in the disaster at the home ground of Sheffield Wednesday, were made CBEs in 2014.

Prof Scraton acknowledged his decision "might come as a disappointment to some Hillsborough families, survivors and whoever nominated me".

However, he added: "Finally, I could not accept an honour tied in name to the 'British Empire'.

"In my scholarship and teaching I remain a strong critic of the historical, cultural and political contexts of imperialism and their international legacy."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The behaviour of Liverpool fans was exonerated at the conclusion of the inquests in April

Fresh inquests in April concluded that the 96 football fans who died as a result of a crush at Hillsborough were unlawfully killed,

The jury found that match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield was "responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence" due to a breach of his duty of care.

Police errors also added to a dangerous situation at the FA Cup semi-final.

After a 27-year campaign by victims' families, the behaviour of Liverpool fans was exonerated.

The jury found they did not contribute to the danger unfolding at the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday's ground.

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