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Hillsborough Stadium tragedy: Holywell mum Joan Hope looks for closure

Joan Hope mum of Hillsborough victim John McBrien

A HOLYWELL mum who lost her son in the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy 23 years ago is looking to draw a line under the tragedy now the truth about the disaster has come out.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel yesterday (Wednesday) disclosed shocking revelations on the extent of how much South Yorkshire Police tried to cover up the disaster, which claimed 96 lives in 1989.

The panel, which trawled through nearly half a million pages of documents over several months, revealed 41 of the 96 Liverpool FC fans’ lives could potentially have been saved had the emergency services reacted in time.

One of the 96 fans who died in the disaster was Joan Hope’s 18-year-old son John McBrien, who was killed as thousands of fans attempted to leave the stadium but did not realise they were heading for a locked gate.

Mrs Hope said: “It has been a long time of suffering, we will need to draw a line under this, 23 years is bad enough.

“The truth had never been broadcast in the past, it was all pushed under the radar, and it had been left with us for a very long, long time.

“It’s a cover-up, of course. There were a litany of mistakes.

“All the thousands of fans including John didn’t know where they were going had the gates shut, they were flowing like it was a river. It was absolutely awful.

“It’s terrible how long it has been going on, you have to be involved with it to fully know how awful it has been for any of the families who have lost someone in the disaster.

“I wasn’t able to work after it, I was a teacher before. That was my career gone but that was nothing compared to losing a son. I could not have wished for anyone nicer than him, it was so hard to bear.”

The revelations led Prime Minister David Cameron to apologise on behalf of the Government and previous Governments for their handling of the disaster.

He said: “The conclusions of this report will be harrowing for many of the families affected. Anyone who has lost a child knows the pain never leaves you.

“On behalf of the Government – and indeed our country – I am profoundly sorry for this double injustice that has been left uncorrected for so long.”

Delyn Labour MP David Hanson welcomed today’s apology from Mr Cameron and said: “Today’s publication is hugely important for everyone who was affected by the events at Hillsborough. The report vindicates the long campaign by families to get to the truth.

“The information released shows the full extent of the appalling cover-up initiated and the injustices perpetrated at the time.

“We now need the Attorney General to look at the documents and make an urgent decision on whether to request a fresh high court inquest.”

Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami MP added: “This is an incredible and damning report which exposes the cover-up that has lasted 23 years.

“I welcome the apology from the Prime Minister, which will come as some comfort to the families of those who died.”