Hillsborough campaigner hailed a 'hero' for refusing OBE

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Hillsborough campaigner professor Phil Scraton has been praised for turning down an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List in protest against the handling of the affair.

The academic, who has been awarded the freedom of the city of Liverpool, cited those who "remained unresponsive" to efforts for truth and justice after the tragedy which killed 96 fans.

Families had to wait 25 years to have their loved ones exonerated of wrongdoing in the 1989 disaster, and those involved in the struggle have spoken in support of the activist for his principled stand.

His son Paul led the tributes.

Prof Scraton joins a list of those who have refused a royal accolade, which also includes such illustrious names as David Bowie, Danny Boyle, Jon Snow, John Lennon, Stephen Hawking and Roald Dahl.

David Bowie turned down a CBE in 2000 (Yui Mok/PA)
David Bowie turned down a CBE in 2000 (Yui Mok/PA)

His book Hillsborough: The Truth, is regarded as a definitive account of the disaster

In a statement reported by the BBC, 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."

An inquest jury concluded in April that the 96 who died in the crush at Hillsborough Stadium on April 15 1989 were unlawfully killed.