Ex-Sunderland and Durham police officer to head Hillsborough inquiry

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A FORMER Sunderland detective is to head a new inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster.

Jon Stoddart has been named by Home Secretary Teresa May, as the man who will lead the new probe into the deaths of the 96 Liverpool fans at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

Mr Stoddart, who retired from the post of Chief Constable of Durham police in October, said: “My first priority is to meet with as many of the families as possible and to establish a working relationship with them throughout the investigation.

The 53-year-old added: “I have held a number of meetings already, and have been struck by the families’ humility and steadfast determination to see justice delivered for their loved ones.”

The decision to set up the new inquiry and to rehear the inquests was made after a damning report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel in September.

It showed how attempts were made to shift the blame for the tragedy onto those whose died.

Mrs May has said the new review, which will be the responsibilty of Mr Stoddart and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will look into the investigation, the inquests and could lead to prosecutions and for misconduct for serving police officers.

She said: “The IPCC will principally investigate the aftermath of Hillsborough.

“Jon Stoddart will principally investigate the deaths at Hillsborough.

“For something this serious and complex, where a previous police investigation into the police has failed already, we do not believe that the police should be solely responsible for investigating the actions of the police.”