Hillsborough spin claims 'being investigated by police watchdog'


The police watchdog has reportedly launched an investigation after a former South Yorkshire Police (SYP) press officer said she was instructed to spin news during the Hillsborough inquests.

Hayley Court, who was headhunted to work as a £50,000-a-year specialist press officer for the Hillsborough inquests, says she was asked to emphasise elements of evidence that were positive for the police.

She reportedly said this included poor behaviour by Liverpool fans at the 1989 stadium disaster.

A jury found the victims of the tragedy were unlawfully killed and exonerated the fans of any wrongdoing. South Yorkshire Police and several former officers now face the prospect of criminal action over the deaths.

According to Ms Court she was told to "get the media together and tell them what to write" while "perpetuating" allegations about fans' behaviour on the day.

South Yorkshire Police has said her claims about unethical practice were not substantiated when she left the force through its grievance procedure.

A spokesman for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) told BBC News: "Following an assessment of the available evidence, the IPCC has decided to conduct an independent investigation into this matter."

In an earlier statement SYP said it wanted to discuss Ms Court's claims with her.

A spokesman said: "Some of the issues raised have been considered before through the force's grievance procedure.

"Specifically in relation to the concerns raised about suggested unethical practices, but these were not substantiated at the time."