Hillsborough Wikipedia posts were 'sickening', Cabinet Office says

Margaret Aspinall, Hillsborough Support Group: "What an utter disgrace"

The government has launched a full inquiry into who was behind "sickening" changes to a Wikipedia page about the Hillsborough disaster that were made from Whitehall computers.

The Liverpool Echo reported that computers on a secure government network were used to make the edits.

A statement said such behaviour would be "in complete contravention of the Civil Service Code".

It added there was no reason to suspect a "particular department" was involved.

'Exhausting every option'

The Cabinet Office statement said an investigation, led by Permanent Secretary Richard Heaton, had begun.

It said "important stakeholders" including the Hillsborough Family Support Group, the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Hillsborough Disaster would be kept updated of developments.

How the source was uncovered

Liverpool Echo front page
  • Wikipedia allows any web user to make changes to its pages, but this leaves a trace through the user's internet protocol (IP) address
  • Changes are monitored by Wikipedia, but internet trolls have been known to post insulting material, which is usually swiftly removed
  • Liverpool Echo reporter Oliver Duggan discovered that insults posted on the website's Hillsborough Disaster page had been made using computers within the government's internal intranet
  • He confirmed this after referring to a list of 34 IP addresses used by the government released by former minister Angela Eagle in 2008

It states: "The amendments made to Wikipedia are sickening. The behaviour is in complete contravention of the Civil Service Code. It is entirely unacceptable.

"At this time, we have no reason to suspect that the Hillsborough edits involve any particular department, nor more than one or two individuals in 2009 and 2012.

"As the first incident happened five years ago and there are hundreds of thousands of people on the government's network, it may prove challenging to identify who was involved, but we are exhausting every option."

The spokesman said that Andy Burnham MP, who "has a deserved status as an expert on the disaster", would be given the chance to "view all relevant material from the very outset so that he can assure himself all steps have been taken".

Mr Burnham said it was "sickening and appalling to think that people in government are aiming this kind of abuse at the Liverpool supporters - particularly the victims and survivors of that tragedy".

He said that "a full and proper inquiry [to] find the name of the individual or individuals responsible" needed to happen, adding that they must then be "held accountable - nothing else will do".

While Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, Mr Burnham was instrumental in a campaign to have classified documents about the disaster released, which led to the formation of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

Oliver Duggan, the Liverpool Echo reporter who broke the story, said the paper used a list of 34 IP addresses for Whitehall computers, released in 2008 by Angela Eagle MP following a parliamentary question to "match up" the addresses with those used to edit the Wikipedia page about the disaster.

The newspaper said the alterations to the page included the Liverpool anthem You'll Never Walk Alone being altered to You'll Never Walk Again and the phrase "Blame Liverpool Fans" being added to a paragraph.

line break
Wikipedia edit for Hillsborough disaster page on 15 April 2009 A Wikipedia edit on the 20th anniversary of the disaster added the words 'Blame Liverpool Fans'
line break
'Appalled by vandalism'

Steve Rotheram, the MP for Liverpool Walton, echoed Mr Burnham's remarks and said he and a group of Merseyside MPs would be writing to the government to ask that any inquiry "be swift".

"It's complex in its nature, but they need to put the resources in to find out who this individual or individuals are."

Sheila Coleman, spokeswoman for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said the group would be talking to its legal team about "how to proceed".

Ms Eagle, the MP for Wallasey, said the claims were "pretty shocking" and were "another problem for [the families] having to deal with the grief".

Entries in Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia, can be edited by anyone with access to the internet.

Jon Davies, chief executive of Wikimedia UK, said it was "appalled by such vandalism".

Ninety-six Liverpool football fans died after a crush at an FA Cup semi-final at the Sheffield ground on 15 April 1989.

New inquests, which are ongoing, were ordered after new evidence revealed by the Hillsborough Independent Panel led to the original inquest verdicts being quashed.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Liverpool

Weather

Liverpool

Min. Night 6 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    18:00: Goodbye

    That's it from the team but join us on Wednesday for live news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the region.

     
  2.  
    17:58: Coming up Roger Johnson BBC North West Tonight

    On North West Tonight at 18:30, we have the latest from the Hillsborough inquests where a fan caught in the crush said that investigating officers were "intimidating" and "aggressive" when questioning him.

    And we look ahead to tonight's second-leg League Cup clash between Liverpool and Chelsea.

     
  3.  
    17:56: Cloudy night ahead Clare Nasir BBC North West Tonight

    A cloudy night to come with a little rain in the wind. It will turn wet and windy towards dawn.

    weather screengrab

    The rain will clear during tomorrow morning with blustery showers to follow. It will feel bitter with near gale force winds and temperatures hovering around 4C during the afternoon.

     
  4.  
    17:47: Abandoned puppy Southport Visiter

    A puppy has been abandoned in Southport with "sickening" injuries that have gone untreated for up to seven weeks.

     
  5.  
    17:38: Hillsborough inquests Ben Schofield BBC Radio Merseyside

    Police investigating the Hillsborough disaster were "intimidating" and "aggressive" when questioning a survivor, the inquests have been told.

    Ian Lee, who was in the crush in pen four, said he was interviewed by two officers who were "professional" and "relaxed" at first.

    But he said their mood changed "when the issue of apportioning blame for the tragedy became evident".

     
  6.  
    17:27: Slow traffic BBC Travel

    There's congestion northbound on the M57 between junction six for the A506 and junction seven for the M58 towards Sefton.

     
  7.  
    17:17: On this day

    Premier League tweets: #OnThisDay in 2010 @landondonovan grabbed his 1st goal for @Everton as they beat Sunderland: bit.ly/OTD-Jan27

    Landon Donovan
     
  8.  
    17:05: Rodgers vs Mourinho BBC Sport

    Ahead of tonight's second-leg League Cup clash, here's Brendan Rodgers record against Jose Mourinho:

    • Games: 4
    • Won: 0
    • Drawn: 1
    • Lost: 3
    • Scored: 3
    • Conceded: 3
     
  9.  
    16:58: News on the hour Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    A teenager from St Helens has been sentenced after ruining a couple's wedding day by attacking the groom on his stag do.

    The court heard 19-year-old Joshua McCormick had drunk five cans of lager, six Jaeger bombs and six vodka Red Bulls before punching Philip Bagnall in the face.

    Listen live to the 17:00 bulletin.

     
  10.  
    16:44: Fire started after pan left on hob

    A fire broke out at a house in Norris Green after a pan containing baby's bottles and dummies was left on a hob.

    Strawberry Road, Norris Green

    Firefighters attended the home in Strawberry Road at about 17:10 on Monday.

    The homeowner had been sterilising the items before a smoke alarm alerted them to the blaze. No-one was injured.

     
  11.  
    16:33: Forty years of health and safety Andy Gill BBC North West Tonight

    The Bootle-based Health and Safety Executive is 40 this year.

    North West Tonight has two special reports on the anniversary, today and tomorrow from 18:30.

     
  12.  
    16:21: Teenager sexually assaulted Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News

    Police are appealing for information after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted in Runcorn.

     
  13.  
    16:10: Batman v Superman waterskiing

    Who wouldn't want to see superheroes in a waterskiing battle?

    Batman waterskier flips into air

    Student Tom Wadsworth has made a film showing "Batman" and "Superman" performing flips and tricks on the River Weaver in Cheshire.

    The 19-year-old, who studies product design at Loughborough University, told Runcorn and Widnes World: "I'm always on the lookout for new, upcoming trends, so I got in touch with the GB Barefoot Waterskiing Team to see if they were interested in working with me."

    Watch the full clip here.

     
  14.  
    15:59: News on the hour Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    A teenager from St Helens has been sentenced after ruining a couple's wedding day by attacking the groom on his stag do.

    The court heard 19-year-old Joshua McCormick had drunk five cans of lager, six Jaeger bombs and six vodka Red Bulls before punching Philip Bagnall in the face.

    Listen live to the 16:00 bulletin.

     
  15.  
    15:53: Blind man recalls dog attack Chester Chronicle
  16.  
    15:43: PC murder suspect bailed BBC Radio Merseyside

    One of the three men suspected of murdering PC Neil Doyle in Liverpool has been released on court bail.

    Christopher Spendlove, 30, from Huyton, was charged with the killing in December.

    Meanwhile, discussions are continuing to arrange fellow suspect Timmy Donovan's return to the UK from Germany, where he was arrested earlier this month.

     
  17.  
    15:30: Firefighters tackling house blaze Tom Mullen BBC News

    Firefighters are tackling a fire at a large detached house in Chester.

    House fire in Chester

    The roof of the two-storey property in Smithy Lane, Mouldsworth, collapsed as crews doused the building with water jets.

    There are no reports of any injuries. The cause has not yet been revealed.

     
  18.  
    15:15: Mourinho: 'We must recreate Anfield atmosphere' BBC Sport

    We've heard what Reds boss Brendan Rodgers had to say ahead about tonight's crucial cup clash, but what does Jose Mourinho make of Chelsea's chances of making it to the final?

    Jose Mourinho

    The Blues boss said: "If Stamford Bridge can give us 25% of the emotion Anfield gives Liverpool we can do it. Chelsea, instead of 1,000, will have 40,000. I hope that can make a difference in the atmosphere."

    The Portuguese also admitted he said "not a word" to his team after Saturday's embarrassing defeat to Bradford, preferring to give them the silent treatment.

     
  19.  
    14:58: News on the hour Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    It has been confirmed a 16-year-old boy was killed after he was hit by a train on a stretch of railway in Wirral.

    Emergency services were called to Capenhurst station last night and services were suspended on Merseyrail's Wirral line for several hours. His death is not being treated a suspicious.

    Listen live to the 15:00 bulletin

     
  20.  
    14:45: Special celebration for cancer battler Liverpool Echo
  21.  
    14:33: Eto'o completes Sampdoria switch

    Everton have confirmed striker Samuel Eto'o has completed his move to Serie A side Sampdoria.

    Samuel Eto'o

    Blues manager Roberto Martinez said: "We thank Samuel for his efforts and for bringing his know-how to the team and to Finch Farm where he passed on some of his terrific experience to all of the young players in particular.

    "The memory of his performances in Europe stand out especially. On behalf of all Evertonians, we wish him well for the next chapter in his career."

     
  22.  
    14:20: Hillsborough inquests Ben Schofield BBC Radio Merseyside

    West Midlands Police officers investigating Hillsborough were "intimidating" and "aggressive" when they were questioning a survivor of the disaster, the inquests have heard.

    The 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster

    Ian Lee, who was caught in the crush, told the Warrington court he was interviewed by two officers who were initially "relaxed", but their mood later changed when he said the problem was a lack of police and stewards.

    He said: "Every time I tried to put my story forward, they all tried to drag it back to fans - the fans drinking, fans' behaviour, so it all became fan-centric, rather than trying to accept what I put forward as a statement."

     
  23.  
    14:10: Vintage snow drifts Steve Coleman BBC Radio Merseyside

    New York is bracing itself for one of the worst snowstorms the city has ever seen. But down the years it's had some absolute monster snowdrifts!

    New York snow drift

    The BBC News website has some great vintage pictures of New Yorkers battling heavy snow in years gone by.

    Do you have any good pictures of heavy snow here in Merseyside? Get in touch via email, Facebook or Twitter

     
  24.  
    13:59: News on the hour Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    Baroness Newlove has criticised justice agencies for their lack of compassion when dealing with complaints from people affected by crime.

    The Victims' Commissioner, whose husband Garry was murdered outside their home in 2007, has looked at the experiences of 200 victims who have been unhappy with the way their concerns have been treated.

    Listen live to the 14:00 bulletin

     
  25.  
    13:53: Praise for local transport

    Merseyrail tweets: Merseyrail have achieved a series of good scores in the National Rail Passenger survey, find out more here: bit.ly/1znZe4c

     
  26.  
    13:42: Rodgers: 'Reds will have no fear'

    Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says the Reds will play with no fear tonight, as they face a Chelsea side who were humbled 4-2 by League One Bradford City at the weekend.

    Brendan Rodgers

    Asked what his final message to the players will be, Rodgers told the club's official website: "For us, to go out and have no fear. We respect the opponent, of course, because they are a very good team, but we have got nothing to fear in the game.

    "We're a team that are in a good moment - we're playing well, working well and we know we can go there and win."

     
  27.  
    13:20: Ambulance campaign heads to Westminster BBC North West Tonight

    A North West Ambulance Service campaign for more defibrillators in public places goes to Westminster today. We'll have more for you on the programme later.

     
  28.  
    13:00: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    The Victims' Commissioner has criticised justice agencies for their lack of compassion when dealing with complaints from people affected by crime.

    Baroness Newlove, of Warrington, whose husband Garry was murdered outside their home in 2007, has looked at the experiences of 200 victims who have been unhappy with the way their concerns have been treated.

    Listen live to the 13:00 bulletin

     
  29.  
    12:48: Memorial ceremony Phil Cooper Reporter, BBC Radio Merseyside

    I've been at a ceremony in Liverpool to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

    Councillor Ann O'Byrne

    Here's councillor Ann O'Byrne laying a wreath at the memorial stone in St John's Garden.

     
  30.  
    12:37: Liverpool vs Chelsea: Head to head Tom Mullen BBC News

    Liverpool are back in action against Chelsea tonight for the second leg of the League Cup semi-final. Here are some key stats:

    Chelsea's Eden Hazard scores against Liverpool
    • Liverpool have scored in each of their last six visits to Stamford Bridge
    • The Reds won three successive games away to Chelsea in 2011 but are without a victory in their subsequent three visits (D1, L2)
    • Chelsea's shock 4-2 defeat to Bradford City on Saturday was the Blues' first loss in 17 league and cup games at home
     
  31.  
    12:21: Boy, 16, killed on railway Tom Mullen BBC News

    A 16-year-old boy has been killed after he was struck by a train on a stretch of railway in Wirral.

    Capenhurst station

    Emergency services were called to Capenhurst station at 17.44 yesterday, and trains were suspended on Merseyrail's Wirral line for several hours.

    A British Transport Police spokesman confirmed the victim was a local teenager. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

     
  32.  
    12:06: Coming up Roger Phillips BBC Radio Merseyside

    Many victims feel ignored, unimportant and confused when raising concerns about their treatment in the justice system.

    Baroness Helen Newlove

    That's according to a report by the Victims Commissioner Baroness Helen Newlove, who is speaking to us on today's programme.

    The report looked at the experiences of more than 200 victims. Join me from 12:00 to 14:00.

     
  33.  
    11:58: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    The Victims' Commissioner has criticised justice agencies for their lack of compassion when dealing with complaints from people affected by crime.

    Baroness Newlove, of Warrington, whose husband Garry was murdered outside their home in 2007, has looked at the experiences of 200 victims who have been unhappy with the way their concerns have been treated.

    Listen live to the 12:00 bulletin

     
  34.  
    11:48: Terrific tiger tweet

    Chester Zoo has tweeted this picture of one of its rare Sumatran tiger cubs, who were recently born at the attraction.

    Sumatran tiger cub

    The tigers, classed by conservationists as critically endangered, were born to eight-year-old tigress Kirana on 2 January after a 105-day pregnancy.

     
  35.  
    11:35: Poignant day for Holocaust survivor St Helens Star

    Concentration Camp survivor Tomi Reichestal was due to share his life story at St Helens Town hall this morning in a special event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

     
  36.  
    11:26: Missing man search: Body found

    Forensic tests are being carried out to try to identify a body found by police searching for missing Southport man Adam Whitehurst (pictured).

    Adam Whitehurst

    Merseyside Police say they are liaising with Lancashire Constabulary after the discovery in the Banks area on Saturday.

    There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances and a post-mortem examination will be carried out.

     
  37.  
    11:10: Remembering a tragedy Simon Moffatt Reporter, BBC Radio Merseyside

    Events are taking place across Merseyside and the rest of the country to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

    Candles

    Liverpool's Lord Mayor and Assistant Mayor laid a wreath at the memorial stone in St John's Garden in memory of those who died.

    In St Helens, Belsen concentration camp survivor Tomi Reichental was due to share his story and light a remembrance candle. We'll have more for you on Radio Merseyside later.

     
  38.  
    11:00: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A special service has been held in Liverpool to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

    Faith leaders were joined by the Lord Mayor Erica Kemp and assistant Mayor Ann O'Byrne in laying wreaths in St John's Gardens for all victims of persecution.

    Listen live to the 11:00 bulletin.

     
  39.  
    10:52: Residents urged to join forum BBC Radio Merseyside

    Residents near Walton Hall Park in Liverpool are being asked to join a community forum to represent their views on future development of the area.

    The group, which will be chaired by the city councillor responsible for housing, will oversee any work done in the green space in the future.

    Local campaigners are already angry at proposals to build Everton a new stadium in the park.

     
  40.  
    10:38: Snow on the way?

    A Met Office weather warning remains in place for the North West tomorrow and Thursday, with snow and windy conditions expected.

    Snow generic

    The Met Office says: "The public should be aware of the potential for disruption to travel."

     
  41.  
    10:23: Mums stage breastfeeding protest Liverpool Echo

    Liverpool mums have taken to Facebook to post their breastfeeding selfies after one mum's photo was reported for nudity violations.

     
  42.  
    10:14: Crime victims let down, says Baroness

    Victims of crime are still being let down by the justice system, says an independent review by Victims' Commissioner Baroness Newlove whose husband was killed in Warrington.

    Baroness Newlove

    Baroness Newlove, the Victims' Commissioner, said many people who raised concerns about their treatment were left feeling ignored.

    Helen Newlove came to prominence after her husband, Garry, was killed by a gang of youths outside their home in 2007.

     
  43.  
    10:00: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    The Victims' Commissioner has criticised justice agencies for their lack of compassion when dealing with complaints from people affected by crime.

    Baroness Newlove, of Warrington, whose husband Garry was murdered outside their home in 2007, has looked at the experiences of 200 victims who have been unhappy with the way their concerns have been treated.

    Listen live to the 10:00 bulletin

     
  44.  
    09:57: Picture perfect Tom Mullen BBC News

    Here's a picture I took during a walk around Beeston Castle in Cheshire at the weekend. It's amazing what you can do with a humble smartphone camera these days.

    Beeston Castle

    Send us your pictures via email, Facebook or Twitter.

     
  45.  
    09:51: Debt death man jailed

    A former professional boxer killed his friend with a punch to the face which sent him backwards into a shop's metal shutters, in a row over a £10 debt.

    Joseph Inglesby

    Joseph Inglesby, 38, of Wallasey, was jailed for more than five years after admitting unlawful killing.

    Inglesby's punch to Robert Higgins, 61, in July, left him on life support which was switched off two weeks later.

     
  46.  
    09:37: Talking health and safety Tony Snell BBC Radio Merseyside

    Safety at work is still an issue, despite the number of deaths in the workplace at its lowest ever level last year. That's according to the Health and Safety Executive, which is based in Bootle.

    Building site generic

    All this week on Breakfast, we're taking a look at the work they do there, as this year marks the HSE's 40th anniversary.

    Join me, and do let me know your views on health and safety. Get in touch via email, Facebook or Twitter

     
  47.  
    09:15: Severe delays due to accident

    BBC Travel is reporting severe disruption due to an accident at Menlove Gardens in North Childwall, Liverpool. Traffic is queuing around the area.

     
  48.  
    09:00: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    The Victims' Commissioner has criticised justice agencies for their lack of compassion when dealing with complaints from people affected by crime.

    Baroness Newlove, of Warrington, whose husband Garry was murdered outside their home, has looked at the experiences of 200 victims who have been unhappy with the way their concerns have been treated.

    Listen live to the 09:00 bulletin.

     
  49.  
    08:45: Reds back in action tonight BBC Sport

    Liverpool face Chelsea tonight as the League Cup semi-final tie resumes at 1-1 after that entertaining first game at Anfield.

    Liverpool vs Chelsea

    And, in case you missed it, Liverpool were last night drawn to play at Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the FA Cup, if they win their replay with Bolton Wanderers.

    Five live Sport with Mark Pougatch will be live from Stamford Bridge from 19:00 GMT ahead of the 19:45 GMT kick-off.

     
  50.  
    08:33: Station on the agenda Liverpool Echo

    Controversial plans for an electricity substation to service the new Liverpool FC stadium are among items due to be discussed by councillors today.

     
  51.  
    08:20: Light rain or drizzle Charlie Slater Weather Presenter

    It's looking like a largely cloudy day with some patchy light rain or drizzle possible at times, especially over higher ground.

    BBC weather

    There's no sign of snow yet, but it may become increasingly windy through the evening with rain becoming more persistent in the north. Top temperatures of 9C (48F).

     
  52.  
    08:15: Accident causing delays

    One lane is closed heading out of the city along Leeds Street in Liverpool, due to an accident, according to BBC Travel.

    BBC Travel

    The same accident is causing disruption at the Vauxhall Road junction. A traffic light failure on Speke Boulevard is also causing hold-ups this morning.

     
  53.  
    08:08: Fans 'stopped from escaping crush' Emma Stanley BBC News

    A Liverpool fan who survived the Hillsborough disaster has described watching as a police officer tried to push his brother back into the crush.

    Hillsborough 1989

    Terence Mills was at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final with his brother George, who was trying to escape from pen four.

    Stephen Ellis, Sheffield Wednesday's photographer, said police stopped fans climbing over the front of the pens.

    Both men gave evidence on Monday at the new inquests into the disaster, held in Warrington.

     
  54.  
    08:00: Tuesday hello Tom Mullen BBC News

    Good morning and welcome to Tuesday's Local Live service from our Merseyside offices. Join us for a day of live news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the region.

    We can't do it without your help. Send us your comments, news, tip-offs or pictures - or just stop by and say hello. You can contact us via email, Facebook or Twitter.

     

Features

  • Gift, genericTaboo gifts

    Which presents can cause offence?


  • Workman underground at Farringdon's Crossrail stationHuman moles

    The people digging giant tunnels under London


  • Women in shared roomCrowded house

    Five ways to survive sharing a bedroom with strangers


  • Devi AsmadiredjaHermit Queen

    The German woman who swapped home for a mountain cave


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ElvisSecret cinema

    Get off the beaten track and explore cinematic history in the Santa Monica Mountains

Programmes

  • A computer generated model of a lift shaftClick Watch

    The future of elevator technology - lifts that can climb up to 1km in the air and even travel sideways

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.