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Keighley parents back Hillsborough inquest judge
3:27pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in Keighley
A Keighley man who suffered the loss of two teenage daughters in the Hillsborough football stadium disaster has welcomed the appointment of a senior High Court judge to conduct new inquests into the tragedy.
The Judicial Office has announced Lord Justice Goldring, who was until recently the senior presiding judge of England and Wales, will conduct the fresh hearings into the deaths of 96 fans in the 1989 tragedy. They include Trevor Hicks’s daughters Sarah and Victoria, as well as Tony Bland, of Keighley.
The original accidental death verdicts were quashed last December by the High Court in London after an application by the Attorney General, and a new inquest ordered into the deaths.
Lord Justice Goldring has been appointed as an Assistant Deputy Coroner to hear the inquest. He will decide where it takes place and plans to open the inquest “as soon as possible”.
It is anticipated the 96 inquests will be held together, including that of Tony Bland, who died four years after the disaster after being in a persistent vegetative state.
Mr Hicks, who is chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said Lord Justice Goldring seemed a good choice.
He added: “He has a pretty good track record and seems to fit the bill.
“We are pleased it will be a High Court judge. It will be an extremely large and difficult inquest to run. Something of the scale and complexity of this needs a coroner with the strength to control it, and the vision and ability to think on a big scale.”
Mr Hicks said the family support group was concerned about the facilities at whichever venue is chosen for the inquest.
“At the High Court, half the families could not get in because it wasn’t big enough,” he added.
“The inquest will take at least six months. We think it will be at the end of the year, or early next year.
“We have been vocal in that we didn’t want the inquest to be held in Sheffield. It’s nothing against Sheffield, per se, but it didn’t serve us well on the last occasion.”
A number of locations are likely to be discussed by the support group, including Liverpool, Manchester and London, but may be met with difficulties for a variety of reasons.
“At the end of the day, the final influence lies with the coroner,” Mr Hicks said. “We would expect to be consulted. It’s important to the bereaved families.”