Hillsborough: Fan injured in stadium disaster dies 32 years later

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image source, PA Media
image captionAndrew Devine suffered life-changing injuries in the Hillsborough disaster

A Liverpool fan who suffered life-changing injuries in the Hillsborough disaster has died.

Andrew Devine, 55, died on Tuesday, his family said in a statement released by Liverpool FC.

It added: "Our collective devastation is overwhelming but so too is the realisation that we were blessed to have had Andrew with us for 32 years."

Ninety-six other people died due to the crush at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in 1989.

Mr Devine was described by his family as a "much-loved son, brother and uncle" who had been supported by his family and a team of dedicated carers.

"We welcome the conclusion of the coroner, Mr Andre Rebello, made today at Liverpool Coroner's Court, that Andrew was unlawfully killed, making him the 97th fatality of the tragic events that occurred on April 15, 1989," they added.

In 2016, an inquest jury ruled 96 Liverpool fans had been unlawfully killed in the Hillsborough disaster.

Until Mr Devine's death, the last of the victims had been Tony Bland, who was left severely brain damaged by the crush at the stadium but lived until 1993.

Liverpool said the club was "deeply saddened" by his death.

"A lifelong Liverpool supporter, Andrew continued to attend matches at Anfield when possible despite suffering life-changing injuries at Hillsborough," their statement added.

"In doing so he defied expectations that he would not survive for six months after the tragedy.

"The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Andrew's family and his carers."

People from across the city have been paying tribute to Mr Devine, including former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher.

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Liverpool vice-captain James Milner paid a moving tribute to Mr Devine in 2019 when the club won the Champions League.

As the open-top bus came to the end of its victory parade through the city, the midfielder requested that it stop outside Mr Devine's home, the Liverpool Echo reported at the time.

Mr Devine was outside and able to watch as Milner leaned over the side of the bus to show him the trophy.

In a 2014 interview, his family told the Echo that Mr Devine was a popular 22-year-old training for a career in accountancy when he was crushed in the crowd in 1989 and starved of oxygen, with doctors initially saying he was unlikely to survive the day.

His sister Wendy said he was "the centre of the family and the glue that holds us together".

image source, Hillsborough Inquests
image captionHillsborough remains the worst disaster in British sporting history

The 2016 inquest was a turning point in the official response to the disaster, which had previously been marked by a police cover-up aimed at unjustly blaming Liverpool fans.

Two police forces agreed earlier this year to pay damages to 600 people over the cover-up, but nobody has ever been convicted over police actions following the stadium crush.

The Hillsborough disaster remains the UK's worst sporting tragedy and led to a transformation of safety standards for football crowds, including the move to all-seater stadiums.

It occurred when a large crowd built up outside the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday's stadium and police ordered the opening of an exit gate to relieve the pressure.

That led 2,000 Liverpool fans to enter via a tunnel on to already-packed terraces, creating a severe crush in the central pens.

Match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield falsely told key people and the media that a gate had been forced by Liverpool fans - which families and survivors of the tragedy fought for years to disprove.

Mr Duckenfield was cleared of gross negligence manslaughter at a retrial in 2019, after the jury in his first trial was unable to reach a verdict.

A trial of two retired police officers and a former solicitor, accused of perverting the course of justice by altering police statements after the disaster, collapsed when a judge ruled there was no case to answer.

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