Hillsborough inquests – what happens now?

The Hillsborough inquests have finished hearing evidence after 267 days, the longest-running inquests in British legal history. It came to an end on Tuesday 5 January 2016 where they heard the final details about the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the disaster at the FA Cup semi-final on April 15, 1989.

Christina Lambert QC, counsel to the inquests, told the jury at the end of the hearing: “That concludes certainly the evidence for today and we believe the evidence in total.”

The court, in Birchwood Park, Warrington, is now expected to adjourn until January 25, when coroner Sir John Goldring will begin summing up the case. His summing up is expected to take three weeks.

Speaking to the jury in December, Sir John said: After it’s over, you will retire to consider a series of written questions which will be carefully set out for you.”

The court will not sit for the week beginning February 15 due to a half term break, meaning that it is likely the jury will go out to consider their decision around February 22. But the coroner said the dates were not “set in stone”.

Speaking last month, he said: “A little reassurance: you will be provided with as much help as is possible to enable you to answer the questions. So don’t worry about it.

“I can’t obviously forecast how long it will take you to reach your decisions. I can’t therefore say by when the inquests will be over.”

The hearings were originally expected to last for six to nine months.

When the inquests began in March 2014, the jury, made up of seven women and three men, started by hearing personal portraits about each of the 96. Since then the court has heard evidence on topics including stadium safety, preparation and planning for the match, the events of the day and the emergency response.

The court also heard details of the evidence gathering following the disaster.

In May last year the jury began hearing about the final movements of each victim and since November the court has heard from medical experts and forensic pathologists about the circumstances of their deaths.

On the final day of evidence the court heard details on the medical circumstances of the deaths of six victims – full report.

They included James Aspinall, the 18-year-old son of Hillsborough Family Support Group chairman Margaret, and Tony Bland, who died after spending four years in a coma following the disaster.

The court also heard about brothers Nicholas and Carl Hewitt, aged 16 and 17, dad of two David Rimmer, 38, and 19-year-old David Mather.

Portraits of the 96 Liverpool fans lost at Hillsborough

Read more here: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-inquests-evidence-finished-what-10689919

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