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Heineken Cup: Harlequins 12 Munster 18: Quins European hopes ended by Irish

Harlequins 12 Munster 18: Resurgent O'Connell jumps back into the Lions queue

PUBLISHED:

15:17 GMT, 7 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:09 GMT, 7 April 2013

It may have been basic, but Munster strangled the English champions and were led by Paul O’Connell, who jumped and tackled his way back into Lions contention.

The 2009 Lions captain led a second-half charge which left Chris Robshaw and his Premiership men looking stunned in front of a full house of 15,000.

Munster’s pack won the crucial collisions — paving the way for another rejuvenated Irish master, Ronan O’Gara, to kick six penalties — four in the space of 14 minutes after the interval.

Resurgent: Paul O'Connell (centre) produced a dominant performance that must have put him back in Lions contention

Resurgent: Paul O'Connell (centre) produced a dominant performance that must have put him back in Lions contention

Quins’ previous Heineken Cup quarter-final four years ago, ended in the ‘Bloodgate’ scandal and a 6-5 win for Leinster.

The ramifications will not be as seismic this time, but Quins’ season is now in danger of collapse after three successive Premiership defeats.

They had turned around 9-6 ahead to harbour hopes of reaching a first semi-final at the fourth attempt, but that belief was shattered by Munster’s start to the second half.

O’Gara, shaking off the dis-appointment of being dropped by Ireland during the Six Nations, calmly kicked four penalties to follow his two shots before the interval.

Thin red line: The Munster No 8 steals the ball from Quins No 8 Nick Easter at the lineout

Thin red line: The Munster No 8 steals the ball from Quins No 8 Nick Easter at the lineout

O’Connell led the pack to give watching Lions coach Warren Gatland a firm reminder of his class and strength. On this showing O’Connell, who missed Ireland’s Six Nations campaign due to a back complaint, is a candidate to lead the Lions again following his impressive stint on the 2009 tour to South Africa.

For the moment, the 33-year-old refuses to discuss the prospect. ‘I’ve got a little bit to go in terms of match fitness but this was another injury-free day and I’m delighted to be back,’ he said.
Munster coach Rob Penney believes O’Connell will be ‘humming’ by the time of the Lions’ crucial games in Australia.

Quins director of rugby Conor O’Shea was also full of praise for O’Connell and a Munster pack in which back-rowers Tommy O’Donnell and Peter O’Mahony were outstanding.

Thank Evans: Quins' New Zealand fly-half Nick Evans secures another three points during the home side's rampant start

Thank Evans: Quins' New Zealand fly-half Nick Evans secures another three points during the home side's rampant start

O’Shea said: ‘Paul was absolutely magnificent. They rallied around him and followed him.’

O’Shea now has the task of re-energising his own team. ‘We didn’t play the way we can play because we weren’t allowed,’ was his blunt assessment.

‘Munster bossed the start of the second half and from then on it was a very big mountain to climb.
‘Our job is to qualify for the Premiership play-offs. We will be written off, no doubt, but we will just have to learn.’

Such thoughts seemed unlikely when Quins took charge at the opening scrums.

Pull the other one: Nick Easter drags back Paul O'Connell by his shirt before bringing him down

Pull the other one: Nick Easter drags back Paul O'Connell by his shirt before bringing himdown

The pressure brought a 6-0 lead through two penalties from Nick Evans and it was Munster who looked likely to crack.

But there were no clear try-scoring chances and the match became increasingly nervy as O’Connell and his gang started to win the crucial decisions from French referee Jerome Garces.

A third penalty from Evans helped Quins limp to a 9-6 lead at half-time and Munster turned to play into a stiff wind.

That handicap looked to make them more focused and a brilliant period of pressure rugby was rewarded by O’Gara’s nerveless kicking. He took Munster to a lead of 18-9 after 56 minutes.

Red riding hood: Munster's famous support were out in force at the Stoop

Red riding hood: Munster's famous support were out in force at the Stoop

A fourth penalty from Evans raised Quins’ hopes in the 65th, only for Munster to produce some clinical ‘keep-ball’ rugby and close out the match — much to the delight of their big following.

O’Connell claimed his team had not talked about such tactics, although his smile said something else. ‘The maul worked well and our kicking game was outstanding — you can’t win these tight games without that,’ he said in praise of O’Gara.

O’Shea refused to blame referee Garces for Quins’ demise. ‘Sometimes you have to say that the better team won,’ he conceded.
Smash and grab: England and Quins Mike Brown is wrestled to the ground by Munster's James Coughlan

Smash and grab: England and Quins Mike Brown is wrestled to the ground by Munster's James Coughlan

Sorry, sir: Quins captain Chris Robshaw is lectured by French referee Jerome Garces

Sorry, sir: Quins captain Chris Robshaw is lectured by French referee Jerome Garces

Darts: Scott Waites and Tony O"Shea reach world final

Ruthless Waites thrashes George to reach world final as O'Shea battles to beat Harms

By
Nick Metcalfe

PUBLISHED:

16:31 GMT, 12 January 2013

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UPDATED:

01:28 GMT, 13 January 2013

Richie George saw his World Championship dream torn apart by Scott Waites on Saturday.

Waites completely dominated their semi-final clash at the Lakeside in Frimley Green, winning 6-1 to reach his first final

Richie is the son of the popular Bobby, a former world finalist and now BBC pundit.

In Sunday's final Waites will meet Tony O'Shea, who battled to a 6-4 win over Wesley Harms.

Pure delight: Scott Waites celebrates his victory over George

Pure delight: Scott Waites celebrates his victory over George

WOMEN'S FINAL

Russia's Anastasia Dobromyslova won her third women's world title, beating England's Lisa Ashton 2-1 in the final.

Third seed Waites won the first 12
legs of the match to open up a 4-0 lead, with George missing a host of
doubles. When Waites won the fifth set as well, a humiliating whitewash
looked on the cards for George.

The youngster held his nerve to pull
one set back however, before Waites duly completed his win in front of
another full house in Surrey.

Not this time: Richie George throws during his semi-final match

Not this time: Richie George throws during his semi-final match

'You have to bully your opponent and that's exactly what I did,' said Waites afterwards.

'I was happy with the way the game went. I hit doubles early on – that put pressure on Richie.'

George said: 'I couldn't be happier. I had my chances and didn't take them, but Scott played brilliantly. It wasn't meant to be for me.'

Silver service: Tony O'Shea is into the final

Silver service: Tony O'Shea is into the final

Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy take a trip around Sydney

Strewth! Wozzilroy frolic 300m above the streets of Sydney on vertigo-inducing Tower Skywalk

Wozniacki suffered with some knee niggles which led to her losing the No 1 ranking, and a loss to Pervak will not have been the way that she would have preferred to finish off the year.

But she seemed to be in good spirits as she joined McIlroy on the Sydney Tower Skywalk. The pair took a stroll around the top of the building, which is over 300m tall.

It must have been a nerve-wracking experience for the Dane, as she tweeted: 'Really proud of myself, on top of the world in Sydney with @McIlroyRory! #afraidofhights'

The pair also made stop at the world-famous Sydney Opera House during their city trip.

The pair have denied that they are set to wed after Wozniacki was spotted wearing a diamond ring

Not engaged: The pair have denied that they are set to wed after Wozniacki was spotted wearing a diamond ring

They have denied engagement rumours after Wozniacki was spotted with a diamond studded ring on her left hand.

McIlroy recently revealed that he doesn’t know whether or not he will aim to play in the 2016 Olympics.

Golf has just been accepted back into the Olympic family, but the Northern Irishman is anticipating a backlash from whichever nation he chooses not to play for in Rio.

‘Play for one side or the other or not play at all because I may upset too many people,’ said McIlroy, in a BBC Northern Ireland documentary.

‘Those are the three options that I am considering very carefully.’

Exeter 30 Scarlets 20: Chiefs keep Amlin Cup hopes alive thanks to late Scaysbrook try

Exeter 30 Scarlets 20: Chiefs keep European hopes alive thanks to late Scaysbrook try

PUBLISHED:

18:14 GMT, 15 December 2012

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UPDATED:

21:09 GMT, 15 December 2012

A late try by skipper James Scaysbrook secured Exeter's win and deepened the gloom for Scarlets.

Chiefs flanker Scaysbrook slipped through two minutes from time to leave Simon Easterby's side rock-bottom in Pool Five and facing a whitewash. It completed an historic double for Exeter following their first win in the Heineken Cup last week.

James Scaysbrook (L) of Exeter Chiefs powers his way through the Scarlets defence

Power house: Exeter's James Scaysbrook powers his way through the Scarlets defence

Ian Whitten crossed for the first
try before Gareth Steenson added the conversion and a penalty after
Wales wing Liam Williams was yellow carded early on.

Chiefs struck again through Simon Alcott. But Ken Owens then went over for the Welsh side to set up a second-half recovery.

Centre Scott Williams raced over for
their second try and Aled Thomas's conversion levelled matters, only for
Steenson to kick a third Exeter penalty before Scaysbrook's late try
denied Scarlets even a losing bonus point.

The Exeter Chiefs player celebrate as James Scaysbrook goes over to score a try on the verge of full itme

Touch down: Exeter Chiefs players celebrate as James Scaysbrook goes over to score a try in the final moments

Tottenham midfielder Sandro sings and plays guitar – video

VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: The Tottenham midfielder as you've never seen him before… Sandro sings for Sportsmail

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UPDATED:

12:57 GMT, 29 November 2012

Sandro is 23. He's played 16 times for Brazil and is quickly becoming the fulcrum around which Andre Villas-Boas is building his resurgent Tottenham side. And away from the training ground, he fancies himself as a budding guitar hero.

In an exclusive commission, to promote a big interview in Saturday's Daily Mail, Sportsmail chief photographer Andy Hooper has captured Sandro demonstrating his rockstar credentials at his Chigwell home.

His love of British pop music shines through as he belts out numbers from Coldplay and the Black Eyed Peas at the recording studio he has had built in his Essex house.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN SATURDAY'S DAILY MAIL…

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Carl Froch ready for Yusaf Mack

Froch ready for Mack, the born fighter from the tough streets of Philadelphia

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 15 November 2012

The stark memory of a brother and ten friends mown down by gunfire and the thought of nine children to feed back home will help Yusaf Mack shut out the roars of Carl Froch's fervent supporters in Nottingham on Saturday night.

Boxing is packed with tough stories from the wrong side of the tracks but the American challenger for Froch's world super-middleweight title comes from a particularly harrowing background.

So although the environment In the Capital FM Arena is sure to be hostile for Mack, it will pale in his mind before everything he has had to go through to arrive at this defining point in his life.

Head to head: Carl Froch (left) takes on Yusaf Mack on Saturday

Head to head: Carl Froch (left) takes on Yusaf Mack on Saturday

It is something of a miracle that Mack has made it to 32, never mind his first journey outside the US, and Froch is alert to the danger posed by a man fighting to banish the nightmare of his own childhood as well as to secure a better future for his large family.

'I have trained very seriously for this fight,' says Froch. 'This man has everything to gain and nothing to lose.'

That is a wise assessment. Philadelphia is a breeding ground for boxers while on the west side of the city survival itself is no mean feat, as Mack explains: 'There have been so many great fighters from Philly down the years because to make it in this town you gotta have heart, man. We are life's underdogs. Growing up in a 'hood like mine you gotta lot to prove. It's kill or be killed.'

Some people he loved are the tragic proof of that. 'My only brother was robbed in the street and shot dead,' he says before recounting how so many of his best mates were slaughtered in an infamous massacre.

'It was a drugs gang war,' he says. 'My friends were together at a crack house when a mob burst through the door and shot everyone inside.'

On the money: Froch makes the first defence of his IBF world title

On the money: Froch makes the first defence of his IBF world title

Life was so cheap that youngsters in the neighbourhood thought nothing of having kids of their own. Mack has five daughters and four sons, the first of whom was born when he was just 14.

Now 32 and having arrived in Froch's home town looking like a hoodie, he lowers the cowl as he says: 'This fight is the chance to give my family a future. If I can finally win a world championship it will lead to recognition, big title defences and a better future for all of us.'

Mack recognises, also, that there will be added value if he achieves this abroad: 'I'm not well known anywhere else. This is the first time I've been outside America, the first time I've held a passport in my hand. I'm excited.'

Also, remarkably, he comes across as a courteous and sensitive human being. Mack is visibly emotional as he recalls the violent deaths of his brother and friends as well as the more recent loss of his father to liver failure as a result of heavy drinking. That makes his insulting of Foch as 'a fake Joe Calzaghe' a little surprising but he explains that he was simply trying to get under the skin of a champion he respects.

Tough ask: Mack has struggled when coming up against the best boxers

Tough ask: Mack has struggled when coming up against the best boxers

Froch responded by threatening to make him pay for the slur but in reality was more concerned about his own physical condition. He sustained a cut to that prominent Roman nose of his from an elbow in sparring only two weeks ago and the three stitches have just been removed.

'Ah well,' he says, 'it wouldn't be me if there wasn't some injury or another before a fight, If it does get opened up it shouldn't be a problem because the blood won't run into the eye.'

Froch is concentrating on ensuring there are no slip ups in this tick-over bout, not least because a shock defeat would unravel plans for huge return fights next year against rival world alphabelt champions Lucian Bute, Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward.

Mack, who was stopped by Tavoris Cloud when he challenged for the IBF light-heavyweight title last year, knows that this is likely to be his last bid for fame and fortune.

No Jewish Spurs fans are offended by using the term "Yid", so try targeting the real racists

Paul Newman
Paul Newman: No Jewish Spurs fans are offended by using the term 'Yid', so try targeting the real racists

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UPDATED:

08:46 GMT, 9 November 2012

David Baddiel
DAVID BADDIEL: CHANTING 'YID ARMY' SUSTAINS ANTI-SEMITISM

Read David Baddiel's exclusive verdict HERE

It is the most sickening noise I have
ever heard at a football ground, one I was regularly subjected to in my
formative years watching Spurs in the Eighties.

I am talking about the sound of
hissing coming from opposing supporters as they 'celebrated' the gassing
of millions of Jews at Nazi concentration camps.

Backing: Tottenham fans cheer on their side against Maribor on Thursday

In full voice: Spurs fans sing at the Lane

Now, 30 years on, I shudder when I remember just how appalling and offensive that noise was, and how it was aimed at our large Jewish support, and how thankful I am that my children, now Spurs season-ticket holders themselves, have never to my knowledge had to hear it being directed at us.

It has disappeared, in large part, because Spurs fans brilliantly and joyously embraced what began as the insulting use of the term 'Yids' thrown at us and turned it into something positive.

Tottenham fans, who are among the most multicultural and racially tolerant of all football supporters, are now proud to call themselves the 'Yid Army'.

I took my usual seat in the Paxton Road end last night for the last time before I go to work in India and I was happy and proud to hear those words sung with particular gusto by a near full house of proud and defiant Spurs fans.

A 'Yid Army' Spurs flag

I have rarely been so proud of my club for standing up to the ridiculous Society of Black Lawyers and telling them in effect to mind their own business.

How dare they call me and my fellow Spurs fans racist. They, and David Baddiel, simply do not get it.

News that the police are refusing to be provoked by this trouble-making meddling group into taking action against Spurs fans is to be welcomed too.

They know that there is no offence meant by the term. They know that, to my knowledge, no Jewish supporters of Spurs are offended by its glorification.

If Peter Herbert and his society want to do some good then I suggest they target the racists, not those who fight racism by 'owning the term'.

There are plenty of real causes for them to get involved in. Not made-up ones.

Ken Bates says Leeds sale delay is not his fault

Don't blame me! Bates denies he's holding up Leeds sale as fans grow impatient

By
Sportsmail Reporter

PUBLISHED:

14:48 GMT, 6 October 2012

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UPDATED:

14:50 GMT, 6 October 2012

Leeds chairman Ken Bates has told fans not to place the blame for the drawn-out takeover of the Championship club at his door.

Bates opened negotiations with Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH) in June but, despite a series of statements and counter-statements from both parties, a deal remains unsigned.

According to Bates, the delay is nothing to do with him, with the former Chelsea owner claiming he is ready to sign over a club he took control of seven years ago.

End in sight: Ken Bates has denied he is responsible for the hold up in Leeds' sale

End in sight: Ken Bates has denied he is responsible for the hold up in Leeds' sale

'I'd like to be able to say something but there is a confidentiality agreement which seems to be a bit one sided,' he said.

'It makes it difficult to say anything. The real problem is their lawyers because this is a straightforward deal, by anyone's standards. I don't know what the delay is, they appear to try and make complications when there is no need to do so.

'I understand the share purchase is 171 pages long and I question if they are acting in their client's best interests. GFH want to complete a deal and we are happy to do a deal with them, but when last-minute things are slipped in, it makes things very difficult.

'By GFH's standards this is not a big deal, so I say to Leeds fans, don't blame me.'

Hillsborough papers revealed: Police attempted to blame Liverpool fans for disaster

Justice: 23 years on from football's darkest day, Hillsborough disaster victims' families finally discover truth Report finds that 164 police statements were alteredPM: I am profoundly sorry for this injustice

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UPDATED:

12:52 GMT, 12 September 2012

Hillsborough disaster report

Click here to read the full document

Police and emergency services made 'strenuous attempts' to deflect the blame for the Hillsborough disaster onto innocent Liverpool fans, newly published documents about the tragedy have revealed.

The disclosures were made by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which has been overseeing the release of thousands of official documents relating to Britain's deadliest sporting disaster.

Prime Minister David Cameron offered a 'profound' apology to the families of the 96 people who died, telling the House of Commons that the report made clear that 'the Liverpool fans were not the cause of the disaster'.

Injustice: Prmie Minister David Cameron left the Commons in no doubt the fans were not to blame

Injustice: Prmie Minister David Cameron left the Commons in no doubt the fans were not to blame

Injustice: Prmie Minister David Cameron left the Commons in no doubt the fans were not to blame

Mr Cameron said that Attorney General
Dominic Grieve will review the report as quickly as possible in order to
decide whether to apply to the High Court to quash the original, flawed
inquest and order a new one. It will be for the court to make the final
decision.

The report showed that the
Hillsborough families had suffered a 'double injustice', both in the
'failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible
wait to get to the truth', and in the efforts to denigrate the deceased
and suggest that they were 'somehow at fault for their own deaths', said
Mr Cameron.

Solidarity: Staff at Everton's club shop decorated a Toffees kit with a message fort heir friends across Stanley park

Solidarity: Staff at Everton's club shop decorated a kit with a message for their friends across Stanley Park

Statement: The Hillsborough Independent Panel make public their findings

Statement: The Hillsborough Independent Panel make public their findings

He told MPs: 'With the weight of the
new evidence in this Report, it is right for me today as Prime Minister
to make a proper apology to the families of the 96 for all they have
suffered over the past 23 years.

'On behalf of the Government – and
indeed our country – I am profoundly sorry for this double injustice
that has been left uncorrected for so long.'

Ninety six Liverpool supporters died
in a crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15,
1989 where their team were to meet Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup
semi-final.

Memorial: The scene at Anfield on the morning the Hillsborough documents were revealed

Memorial: The scene at Anfield on the morning the Hillsborough documents were revealed

Momentous day: The Prime Minister's statement is watched in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral

Momentous day: The Prime Minister's statement is watched in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral

Introducing the report to the
Hillsborough families at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, Bishop
James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool and chairman of the panel, said:
'For nearly a quarter of a century the families of the 96 and the
survivors of Hillsborough have nursed an open wound waiting for answers
to unresolved questions. It has been a frustrating and painful
experience adding to their grief.

'In spite of all the investigations
they have sensed that their search for truth and justice has been
thwarted and that no-one has been held accountable.

'The documents disclosed to and
analysed by the panel show that the tragedy should never have happened.
There were clear operational failures in response to the disaster and in
its aftermath their were strenuous attempts to deflect the blame onto
the fans.

Long road to justice: The families of those who died and the fans have had to wait 23 years for this moment

Long road to justice: The families of those who died and the fans have had to wait 23 years for this moment

Long road to justice: The families of those who died and the fans have had to wait 23 years for this moment

'The panel's detailed report shows how vulnerable victims,
survivors and their families are when transparency and accountability
are compromised.

'My colleagues and I were from the start of our work impressed by the dignified determination of the families.'

He added: 'The panel produces this
report without any presumption of where it will lead. But it does so in
the profound hope that greater transparency will bring to the families
and to the wider public a greater understanding of the tragedy and its
aftermath.

'For it is only with this transparency
that the families and survivors, who have behaved with such dignity,
can with some sense of truth and justice cherish the memory of their 96
loved ones.'

Tragedy: The events in South Yorkshire changed the face of football in England forever

Tragedy: The events in South Yorkshire changed the face of football in England forever

Prime Minister's Hillsborough statement in full

Today the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Reverend James Jones, is publishing the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

The disaster at the Hillsborough football stadium on 15th April 1989 was one of the greatest peacetime tragedies of the last century.

96 people died as a result of a crush in the Leppings Lane Terrace at the FA Cup Semi-Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

There was a public Inquiry at the time by Lord Justice Taylor which found – and I quote – that the main cause of the disaster was 'a failure of police control'.

But the Inquiry didn't have access to all the documents that have since become available, it didn't properly examine the response of the emergency services, it was followed by a deeply controversial inquest, and by a media version of events that sought to blame the fans.

As a result, the families have not heard the truth and have not found justice.

That is why the previous government – and in particular – the Rt Hon Member for Leigh was right to set up this Panel.

And it is why this government insisted that no stone should be left unturned and that all papers should be made available to the Bishop of Liverpool and his team.

Mr Speaker, in total over 450,000 pages of evidence have been reviewed.

It was right that the families should see the Report first.

As a result the government has only had a very limited amount of time to study the evidence so far.
But it is already very clear that many of the report's findings are deeply distressing.

There are three areas in particular.

The failure of the authorities to help protect people.

The attempt to blame the fans.

And the doubt cast on the original Coroner's Inquest.

Let me take each in turn.

FINDINGS: FAILURE OF THE AUTHORITIES

First, there is new evidence about how the authorities failed.

There is a trail of new documents which show the extent to which the safety of the crowd at Hillsborough was 'compromised at every level'.

The ground failed to meet minimum standards and the “deficiencies were well known”.

The turnstiles were inadequate.

The ground capacity had been significantly over-calculated.

The crush barriers failed to meet safety standards.

There had been a crush at exactly the same match the year before.

And today's report shows clearly that lessons had not been learnt.

The report backs up again the key finding of the Taylor Report on police failure.

But it goes further by revealing for the first time the shortcomings of the ambulance and emergency services response.

The major incident plan was not fully implemented.

Rescue attempts were held back by failures of leadership and co-ordination.

And, significantly, new documents today show there was a delay from the emergency services when people were being crushed and killed.

FINDINGS: ATTEMPT TO BLAME THE FANS

Second, the families have long believed that some of the authorities attempted to create a completely unjust account of events that sought to blame the fans for what happened.

Mr Speaker, the families were right.

The evidence in today's report includes briefings to the media, and attempts by the Police to change the record of events.

On the media. Several newspapers reported false allegations that fans were drunk and violent and stole from the dead.

The Sun's report sensationalised these allegations under a banner headline 'The Truth.'
This was clearly wrong and caused huge offence, distress and hurt.

News International has co-operated with the Panel and, for the first time, today's report reveals that the source for these despicable untruths was a Sheffield news agency reporting conversations with South Yorkshire Police and Irvine Patnick, the then MP for Sheffield Hallam.

The Report finds that this was part of police efforts – and I quote – 'to develop and publicise a version of events that focused on – allegations of drunkenness, ticketlessness and violence.'

In terms of changing the record of events, we already know that police reports were significantly altered but the full extent was not drawn to Lord Justice Taylor's attention.

Today's Report finds that 164 statements were significantly amended – and 116 explicitly removed negative comments about the policing operation – including its lack of leadership.

The report also makes important findings about particular actions taken by the police and coroner while investigating the deaths.

There is new evidence which shows that police officers carried out police national computer checks on those who had died in an attempt – and I quote from the report – 'to impugn the reputations of the deceased'.

The Coroner took blood alcohol levels from all of the deceased including children.

The Panel finds no rationale whatsoever for what it regards as an 'exceptional' decision.

The report states clearly that the attempt of the inquest to draw a link between blood alcohol and late arrival was 'fundamentally flawed'.

And that alcohol consumption was 'unremarkable and not exceptional for a social or leisure occasion'.

Mr Speaker, over all these years questions have been raised about the role of the government – including whether it did enough to uncover the truth.

It is certainly true that some of the language in the government papers published today was insensitive.

But having been through every document – and every government document including Cabinet Minutes will be published – the Panel found no evidence of any government trying to conceal the truth.

At the time of the Taylor Report the then Prime Minister was briefed by her private secretary that the defensive and – I quote – 'close to deceitful' behaviour of senior South Yorkshire officers was 'depressingly familiar.'

And it is clear that the then government thought it right that the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire should resign.

But as the Rt Hon Member for Leigh has rightly highlighted, governments then and since have simply not done enough to challenge publicly the unjust and untrue narrative that sought to blame the fans.

FINDINGS: ORIGINAL CORONER'S INQUEST

Third, and perhaps most significantly of all, the Bishop of Liverpool's report presents new evidence which casts significant doubt over the adequacy of the original Inquest.

The Coroner – on the advice of pathologists – believed that victims suffered traumatic asphyxia leading to unconsciousness within seconds and death within a few minutes.

As a result he asserted that beyond 3.15pm there were no actions that could have changed the fate of the victims and he limited the scope of the Inquest accordingly.

But by analysing post mortem reports the Panel have found that 28 did not have obstruction of blood circulation and 31 had evidence of heart and lungs continuing to function after the crush.

This means that individuals in those groups could have had potentially reversible asphyxia beyond 3.15pm in contrast to the findings of the Coroner and a subsequent Judicial Review.

And the Panel states clearly that 'it is highly likely that what happened to those individuals after 3.15pm was significant' in determining whether they died.

RESPONSE

Mr Speaker, the conclusions of this report will be harrowing for many of the families affected.
Anyone who has lost a child knows the pain never leaves you.

But to read a report years afterwards that says – and I quote, 'a swifter, more appropriate, better focused and properly equipped response had the potential to save more lives', can only add to the pain

It is for the Attorney General to decide whether to apply to the High Court to quash the original inquest and seek a new one.

In this capacity he acts independently of government. And he will need to examine the evidence himself.

But it is clear to me that the new evidence in today's report raises vital questions which must be examined.

And the Attorney General has assured me that he will examine this new evidence immediately and reach a decision as fast as possible.

But ultimately it is for the High Court to decide.

It is also right that the House should have an opportunity to debate the issues raised in this report fully.

My Rt Hon Friend the Home Secretary will be taking forward a debate in Government time. And this will happen when the House returns in October.

APOLOGY

Mr Speaker, I want to be very clear about the view the government takes about these findings and why after 23 years this matters so much, not just for the families but for Liverpool and for our country as a whole.

Mr Speaker what happened that day – and since – was wrong.

It was wrong that the responsible authorities knew Hillsborough did not meet minimum safety standards and yet still allowed the match to go ahead.

It was wrong that the families have had to wait for so long – and fight so hard – just to get to the truth.

And it was wrong that the police changed the records of what happened and tried to blame the fans.

We ask the police to do difficult and often very dangerous things on our behalf.

And South Yorkshire Police is a very different organisation today from what it was then.

But we do the many, many honourable police men and women a great disservice if we try to defend the indefensible.

It was also wrong that neither Lord Justice Taylor nor the Coroner looked properly at the response of the other emergency services.

Again, these are dedicated people who do extraordinary things to serve the public.
But the evidence from today's report makes very difficult reading.

Mr Speaker, with the weight of the new evidence in this Report, it is right for me today as Prime Minister to make a proper apology to the families of the 96 for all they have suffered over the past 23 years.

Indeed, the new evidence that we are presented with today makes clear that these families have suffered a double injustice.

The injustice of the appalling events – the failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth.

And the injustice of the denigration of the deceased – that they were somehow at fault for their own deaths.

On behalf of the Government – and indeed our country – I am profoundly sorry for this double injustice that has been left uncorrected for so long.

WHY THIS MATTERS FOR MERSEYSIDE AND THE COUNTRY

Mr Speaker, because of what I have described as the second injustice – the false version of events – not enough people in this country understand what the people of Merseyside have been through.

This appalling death toll of so many loved ones lost was compounded by an attempt to blame the victims.

A narrative about hooliganism on that day was created which led many in the country to accept that it was somehow a grey area.

Today's report is black and white.

The Liverpool fans 'were not the cause of the disaster'.

The Panel has quite simply found 'no evidence' in support of allegations of 'exceptional levels of drunkenness, ticketlessness or violence among Liverpool fans', 'no evidence that fans had conspired to arrive late at the stadium' and 'no evidence that they stole from the dead and dying.'

Mr Speaker, I'm sure the whole House will want to thank the Bishop of Liverpool and his Panel for all the work they have done.

And I am sure that all sides will join with me in paying tribute to the incredible strength and dignity of the Hillsborough families and the community which has backed them in their long search for justice.

While nothing can ever bring back those who have been lost with all the documents revealed and nothing held back the families, at last, have access to the truth.
And I commend this Statement to the House.

London 2012 Paralympics: David Weir going for four golds

It's a marathon and a sprint for the Weirwolf as Brit eyes four gold medals

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UPDATED:

23:01 GMT, 5 September 2012

He is known as The Animal, and David Weir is certainly living up to his nickname with his superhuman schedule at these Paralympic Games.

The 33-year-old wheelchair racer, who has already won gold in the T54 5,000 metres and 1500m, will race more than 35 miles in nine days as he bids for four gold medals on the track and road.

His British team-mates howled when ‘The Weirwolf’ crossed the line to win his second gold, in the 1500m on Tuesday night, and have also adopted a song — Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon — in his honour.

No worries: David Weir won his heat of the T54 800m

No worries: David Weir won his heat of the T54 800m

David Weir

‘I’ve listened to it and it’s pretty good,’ said Weir, who enjoys house music and has aspirations to be a nightclub DJ when he retires from athletics.

The Brit already has two golds, a silver and bronze from Beijing, where he competed in every T54 event from 400m to 5,000m.

Four years earlier in Athens he was a sprinter, winning silver and bronze in the 100m and 200m.

But on Sunday the six-time London marathon winner will conclude his packed programme by competing in the most gruelling event of all, racing 26.2 miles around London in his 3,000, seven- kilogramme wheelchair.

Same again Weir already has two gold medals in the bag at London 2012

Same again Weir already has two gold medals in the bag at London 2012

He has been training with high-performance cyclists, some of them former professionals, in Richmond Park to prepare for his exhausting schedule at the Games.

Weir, from Sutton, south-west London, didn’t get to sleep until 1.30am on Wednesday following his 1500m victory.

And he was up at 6am to get back to the Olympic Stadium for his 800m heat at 10.25am, the final of which takes place on Thursday evening.

‘It was a late finish (after the 1500m) and an early start,’ he said. ‘But I have to be confident now. The T54 category is the most difficult one in the world, so I just need to keep level-headed.’