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New Hillsborough inquests to open in Warrington today
Updated 12:36pm Monday 31st March 2014 in News
LONG-awaited fresh inquests into the deaths of the 96 people killed in the Hillsborough disaster will begin today in Warrington.
Most of the day is expected to be taken up with jury selection for the hearing, which is expected to last for several months in Birchwood.
Among those who died were 19-year-old Ian ‘Ronnie’ Whelan, of Duckworth Grove, Padgate, David Benson, aged 22, of Hall Nook, Penketh, 19-year-old Colin Ashcroft, of Strawberry Close, Locking Stumps and Eric Hughes, aged 42, of Barmouth Close, Callands.
There are due to be opening statements from the coroner and the families this week, with background "pen portraits'' of all the victims being presented to the court over the next month.
Later in the hearing the jurors will make a site visit to Sheffield's Hillsborough stadium but will be directed not to read the "deeply moving'' tributes on the memorial to the tragedy.
Britain's worst sporting disaster happened on April 15, 1989, during Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest as thousands of fans were crushed on the ground's Leppings Lane terrace.
Verdicts of accidental death from the original Hillsborough inquest in March 1991 were quashed in December 2012, after the Hillsborough Independent Panel delivered its final report on the disaster earlier that year.
It was decided that the inquests would be held in Warrington after a split emerged between two separate campaign groups earlier this year with one side pushing for the inquiry to be held in London and the other calling for it to take place in the north west.
Some 71 families from the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG) wanted the hearing to be held in the capital, while a smaller group from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC) asked for it to take place in the North West outside Liverpool or Manchester.