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A 1989 Soccer Tragedy Claims One More Victim

55-year-old dies in Britain from injuries suffered in crush of fans decades ago; death toll now 97
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 29, 2021 11:12 AM CDT
32 Years After Soccer Tragedy, One More Victim
In this file photo dated April 16, 1989, a Liverpool Football Club fan places a pair of soccer cleats in a goal in tribute to the victims.   (AP Photo/Peter Kemp, File)

(Newser) – A British man who died 32 years after being caught in a crush of soccer fans at an overcrowded Hillsborough Stadium has been recorded as the 97th victim of the tragedy, per the AP. Andrew Devine was badly injured in a crush of Liverpool fans at the stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989. He died Tuesday in a hospital in Liverpool at 55. Liverpool Coroner Andre Rebello said Devine died of aspiration pneumonia, to which he had been left vulnerable because of injuries from the Hillsborough disaster, noting, "I find that it is more likely than not that Andrew Devine was unlawfully killed, making him the 97th fatality from the events of April 15, 1989." Authorities spent years blaming fans for the disaster, which unfolded when more than 2,000 Liverpool supporters flooded into a standing-room section behind a goal, when the 54,000-capacity stadium was nearly full for a match.

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Many victims were smashed against metal fences or trampled underfoot, or suffocated in the crush. An initial inquest ruled the deaths an accident. But a campaign by survivors and victims' families succeeded in getting the verdicts overturned in 2012, after a far-reaching probe that examined previously secret documents and found wrongdoing and mistakes by authorities. A second inquest concluded in 2016 that the 96 victims were unlawfully killed as a result of failings by police, the ambulance service, and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, which ran the stadium. It found the behavior of fans didn't contribute to the deaths. Several former police officers and a lawyer were charged years after the disaster with attempting to pervert the course of justice, but none has been convicted.

(Read more Britain stories.)

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