Sunderland teacher offers Wearside tribute to victims of Hillsborough disaster
A Sunderland-born teacher has offered an emotional Wearside tribute to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster - as the battling families of the 96 fans killed in the tragedy celebrate securing loved ones.
Jurors decided that the supporters who lost their lives during the ill-fated FA cup semi final match in 1989 at Sheffield Wednesday's home ground were unlawfully killed after an inquest that spanned two years.
The nine-strong jury also cited failings in the police and ambulance response to the deadly crush 27 years ago.
The verdict brought a mixture of relief and jubilation to long-suffering families of the victims who have been forced to endure the anguish of the names of their loved ones being tarnished as they dealt with their grief.
Sunderland supporter Peter Bull, a teacher who has lived in Liverpool since 1985, says he felt compelled to offer his own touching tribute on a momentous day when justice finally came to a city which never gave up its fight for the truth about the tragedy to be finally revealed.
The 52, year-old, who is originally from Sunderland and now teaches at Alsop High School in Liverpool, laid a Black Cats shirt and a tie from Thornhill School which he attended in his native Wearside to the sea of shirts and floral tributes at the Hillsborough memorial site at Liverpool Football Club's Anfield stadium.
He also placed a Sunderland scarf on the steps of the city's St George's Hall, which will be the site for a commemoration event this evening.
Mr Bull said: "Last night I felt the need to respond on a very practical way.
"When I went down to the memorial site at Anfield there as a trickle of people starting to come down and lay tributes.
"The number of floral tributes was probably two-fold by the time I left.
"I have lived in the city for 31 years and lived through Hillsborough and have had contact with survivors.
"It is beyond comprehension what the families have gone through. it is hard to believe what has gone on.
"There have been lies and deceit but the families have never stopped fighting for justice.
"We were part of an initiative at the school called Hope and had Margaret Aspinall, from the Hillsborough Family Support Group, come in to speak to us.
"She is such a humble lady."
Mr Bull says there is a atmosphere of pride - tinged with sadness - that the truth that a city always knew and fought for has finally been recognised.
The jury found match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield was "responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence" due to a breach of his duty of care.
Police errors also added to a dangerous situation at the FA Cup semi-final.
After a 27-year campaign by victims' families, the behaviour of Liverpool fans was exonerated as the jury found they did not contribute to the danger unfolding at the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday's ground on 15 April 1989.
Mr Bull added; "There is a sense of sadness but also people feel proud of the city.
"The families have shown the resilience, spirit and tenacity that the city is known for."