Councillor sparks fury by blaming Hillsborough disaster on fans

July 1, 2010 | by | 1 Comment

A councillor has sparked outrage after he echoeing Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s claim that the Hillsborough disaster was caused by football ”hooligans pushing and shoving”.

Outspoken Russell Hawker, 48, received a barrage of abuse after tweeting the gaffe on his social networking page.

Hawker, an independent Wiltshire councillor, supported comments made by blundering Tory Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who blamed the tragedy on fans.

Hunt was branded ”an ignorant disgrace” following his remarks over the 1989 tragedy – which left 96 Liverpool supporters dead.

He was later forced to issue a grovelling apology during a TV interview.

But just hours later Cllr Hawker tweeted: ”Culture Minister Hunt should not have apologised.

”Hillsborough disaster WAS caused by hooligans pushing and shoving!!!”

The Westbury West councillor then became embroiled in an online row, adding: ”I sympathise with the victims, but just being real about the culprits.

”Pushing hard in a crowd is unruly, aggressive and dangerous.”

A 1990 official inquiry found that police crowd control was the main cause of the horrific crush at the Sheffield Wednesday stadium.

The tweets were posted hours after Mr Hunt’s ill-chosen comments were blasted by victims’ families of the disaster.

Hunt later retracted his comments and agreed to meet with the Hillsborough families.

The Taylor Report ruled that South Yorkshire Police were solely to blame for the tragedy, accusing match commander Chief Supt David Duckenfield of ”freezing”.

He ruled ”hooliganism” was not a factor, but a lack of leadership and the paucity of perimeter fence gates were blamed.

Cllr Hawkins later apologised online stating: ”Some of my earlier comments are being taken out of context.

”I was not talking about victims. I am very sorry to anyone who took offence.”

But, when quizzed later, Cllr Hawker later defended his comments, adding: ”You can’t have a crush if people stop pushing against each other.

”I do think some of the cause was the culture of that crowd, in close bodily contact and there were elements of pushing, like the crowds at music festivals.

”Some of that was part of the problem, but I recognise it wasn’t the whole cause or the main cause of the problem. I am entitled to have a view.

”I don’t think I’m misinformed, I have a different view, that’s all.”

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: ”I am fed up with people saying things like that.

”For 21 years we have been fighting for justice, to get the message out that it was not down to drink or hooliganism.”

Les Lawson, of the LFC Official Supporters’ Club, said: ”Once again a politician has associated Hillsborough with hooliganism.

”We know the truth and one day the families will get justice when the real finger of blame will be truly pointed.

”This never goes away, there are always people who put their size 12s in and open old wounds. There are 96 families still suffering and the last they need is people in privileged positions coming out with these lies.”

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  1. sie 12 says:

    Re: An open letter to Cllr Russell Hawker
    « Reply #1516 on: Today at 14:23:59 »QuoteGiven the appalling behaviour of so-called Liverpool FC fans and Hillsborough campaigners following my infamous original comments, I now have more than half a mind to withdraw all apologies for any offence caused and to re-state all my original comments (except for the first one which said that the disaster was caused by hooligans pushing and shoving as it was only partly caused by some fans pushing and shoving).,2628.1515.html

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