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New Hillsborough inquests ordered
Bereaved families of victims of the Hillsborough disaster have seen their long battle to uncover the truth of what happened take a historic step forward at the High Court.
The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and two other judges in London quashed the original accidental death verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush 23 years ago - and ordered a fresh inquest.
More than 40 families who had travelled to London for the hearing burst into applause when the judges granted an application brought by the Government's top law officer, Attorney General Dominic Grieve.
Lord Judge, announcing that there were "good grounds" for the application, described what happened in 1989 as "catastrophic". Referring to the families, many of whom were weeping in court, he said there had been a "profound, almost palpable belief that justice has not been done and that it cannot be done without and until the full truth is revealed".
He said: "We must record our admiration and respect for their determined search for the truth about the circumstances of the disaster and why and how it had occurred, which - despite disappointments and setbacks - has continued for nearly quarter of a century."
When giving the ruling, Lord Judge expressed regret that the process the families had gone through over the years since the disaster had been "so unbearingly dispiriting and prolonged".
The Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling said: "The victims' families and survivors of the Hillsborough tragedy have seen their cause take another important step forward today. I will now do everything I can to help to get new inquests established quickly."
Trevor Hicks, chair of Hillsborough Family Support Group, spoke of his delight at the decision to quash the inquest verdicts. Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice, he said: "Justice is on its way. Everything we've said has been proven to be correct."
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said after the decision: "This is a watershed moment on the road to justice for the families of the 96, and I share their overwhelming relief that, after 23 very painful years, the inquest verdicts have been quashed. It is the only right and proper decision that the High Court could make in the wake of the overwhelming and compelling evidence uncovered by the Hillsborough Independent Panel."
The verdict came as the Home Secretary announced there would also be a new police investigation into the disaster, led by former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart, which will focus specifically on the 96 deaths.