Liverpool pauses to remember Hillsborough fallen on 30th anniversary

Liverpool came to a standstill as the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster were remembered 30 years on from the disaster.

A minute’s silence was held across the city on Monday at 3.06pm, the time the 1989 FA Cup semi-final was stopped.

Office workers gathered in Exchange Flags behind the Town Hall, where the flag was flown at half mast, as the bells tolled 96 times.

Traffic going through the tunnels under the Mersey was stopped for one minute as the silence was held and the Mersey Ferries marked the anniversary by sounding their horns.

The silence was also observed at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, on the Merseyrail train network and at the National Education Union (NEU) annual conference at Liverpool ACC, where delegates fell silent in the middle of a debate on an anti-racism motion.

Families of the victims, survivors and members of the public paid tribute at sites around the city.

On the steps of St George’s Hall 96 lanterns were lit and banners were on display with the words “never forgotten” and pictures of the 96 men, women and children who lost their lives in the crush on the Leppings Lane terrace.

Speaking at the steps of the hall on Monday morning, Louise Brookes, whose brother, Andrew, died in the disaster, said: “Andrew has been dead now four years longer than he was alive.

“He was only 26 when he died and he had his whole future and whole life ahead of him. I really struggle with that.”

Liverpool
Fans commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster before the weekend Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and Lord Mayor Christine Banks laid wreaths on behalf of the people of Liverpool.

Mr Anderson said the anniversary was an “emotional day” and a “milestone”.

He said: “Today we want to provide the city with an opportunity to be here, lay tributes and pay their respects and their thoughts to the families.

“I hope it gives them comfort that the city is thinking of them today.”

Metro mayor of the Liverpool city region Steve Rotheram, who was at the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15 1989, said: “We have never forgotten and we will never forget the 96.

“It will be a very raw day for those people affected, not just by the loss of a loved one but who were there, the survivors for instance, and those people who witnessed the events on the day.

30 years ago today, I was in Sheffield and looking forward to seeing the FA Cup semi-final. Hours later, I would travel home in disbelief at the horror of what I had witnessed.

— Steve Rotheram (@MetroMayorSteve) April 15, 2019

“It’s something that in my mind’s eye I can still conjure up images of because I was there on the day.”

A memorial service was held at Liverpool Cathedral on Monday afternoon while at Anfield flowers were laid at the Hillsborough memorial and the Kop was open for those who wanted to sit for a period of reflection.

Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp and captain Jordan Henderson laid a floral tribute and the first team, academy and women’s squads paid their respects by visiting the memorial.

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, whose cousin, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, 10, was the youngest victim of the tragedy, was among those to pay tribute on social media.

30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster
Ninety-six lanterns are lit on the steps of St George’s Hall (Eleanor Barlow/PA)

He posted a picture of the Hillsborough memorial on Twitter and wrote “Never forgotten”.

Plans for a public commemoration event on the steps of St George’s Hall were cancelled after a jury failed to reach a verdict in the trial of match commander David Duckenfield, who is charged with the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 of the victims.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is seeking a retrial, but it will be opposed by lawyers for the former chief superintendent at a hearing in June.

Hillsborough
Bent and twisted fencing at Hillsborough in the aftermath of the tragedy (PA)

Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell is due to be sentenced on May 13 after he was found guilty of failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act in respect of ensuring there were enough turnstiles to prevent unduly large crowds building up outside the ground before the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Three other defendants, retired police officers Donald Denton, 80, and Alan Foster, 71, and retired solicitor Peter Metcalf, 68, who acted for South Yorkshire Police following the 1989 disaster, have been charged with doing acts intended to pervert the course of justice.

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