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Families pleased with new Hillsborough coroner
Keighley businessman Trevor Hicks, who lost 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 yesterday announced that 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 Mr Hicks’ daughters Sarah and Victoria, and 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 96 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.
Mr Hicks, who is chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, yesterday said that Lord Justice Goldring seemed a good choice.
He said: “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.
He said: “At the High Court, half the families could not get in because it wasn’t big enough. The inquest will take at least six months. We think it will be at the end of the year, or early next year. The facilities are one of the main things we are bothered about.”
A number of locations are likely to be discussed by the support group, but may be met with difficulties for a variety of reasons, including Liverpool, Manchester and London.
“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.”
Last night, Hillsborough victims’ relatives urged the coroner to swiftly fix a time and date.