HILLSBOROUGH: Encouraging response as more than 500 come forward after witness appeal (From Wirral Globe)
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HILLSBOROUGH: Encouraging response as more than 500 come forward after witness appeal
MORE than 500 responses have been received after an appeal for witnesses to assist the investigation into the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.
Investigators for the Independent Police Complaints Commission have already begun contacting some of the witnesses and aim to build up the most comprehensive account ever into the tragic events of April 15, 1989.
But the IPCC is keen for more people to make contact and says it knows eyewitnesses could now be living anywhere in the world.
The police watchdog is calling for witnesses to come forward who were at Hillsborough and gave their accounts to West Midlands Police, who carried out the initial inquiry.
The IPCC's criminal investigation is examining police actions following the stadium disaster, in which 96 supporters died.
Twelve people from Wirral lost their lives in the tragedy.
It is known that thousands of members of the public gave witness accounts to West Midlands Police either in writing, by telephone or in face-to-face interviews.
IPCC deputy chairman Deborah Glass said: "We have had a very encouraging initial response to the appeal.
“I would like to thank everyone who has responded so far and all those who helped spread the news, in particular supporter groups and Liverpool Football Club.
"We want to speak to as many people as possible and I would urge people to contact us.
“We want to build the most comprehensive account there has ever been about the events of Hillsborough and we can only do that with the help of those who were there on the day and those who gave accounts previously to West Midlands Police.
"This is not simply a search on Merseyside for witnesses – this is a national and international search for witnesses.
“We are investigating events from more than 24 years ago and in that time people have moved, sometimes overseas. We want to reach out to them.
“We want to ensure everyone has a voice in our investigation.”
Ms Glass stressed: "I know it won't be easy to revisit such incredibly traumatic events.
"We will support you through the process in whatever way we can.
“Eyewitness accounts will be vital in building the evidence base which would be crucial to any future prosecutions or misconduct proceedings.”
You can find the IPCC's Hillsborough witness appeal here
Anyone who cannot access the form and requires assistance can telephone 0300 200 0003.
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