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Hillsborough disaster: QUB prof Phil Scraton who played key role in uncovering truth turns down OBE from Queen

Phil Scraton, a professor at Queen's University Belfast who played a key role in uncovering the truth about the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, has turned down an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list.

Professor Scraton was appointed to the Hillsborough Independent Panel and the professor largely penned its subsequent report.

The panel's study led directly to the quashing of the 96 inquest verdicts of accidental death, and the ordering of the new inquests and a full criminal investigation into the disaster.

Ninety-six people were killed at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989. In April an inquest jury found the fans were unlawfully killed.

Professor Scraton in a statement said: "I researched Hillsborough from 1989, publishing reports, articles and the first edition of Hillsborough: The Truth in 1990.

"Until 2009, and despite compelling evidence, successive governments declined to pursue a thorough, independent review of the context, consequences and aftermath of the disaster.

"This changed as a direct result of the families' and survivors' brave, persistent campaign.

"It led to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, its ground-breaking findings, new inquests and their crucially significant verdicts.

"I headed the Panel's research team and was a consultant to the families' lawyers throughout the new inquests.

"I could not receive an honour on the recommendation of those who remained unresponsive to the determined efforts of bereaved families and survivors to secure truth and justice."

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A criminologist, Prof Scraton was given funding by Liverpool Council for an independent scrutiny of the investigations and inquiries following the disaster.

He provided extensive submissions to the 1997-1998 judicial scrutiny undertaken by Lord Justice Stuart-Smith and remained highly critical of the inquiry, describing it as a "debacle".

His book Hillsborough: The Truth is now widely accepted as a definitive account of the disaster and its aftermath.

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