Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Police chief email accuses Hillsborough group of lying

Chief Constable David Crompton
Image caption The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been told about Mr Crompton's email

South Yorkshire's chief constable accused a group representing Hillsborough Disaster victims and their families of lying, it has emerged.

David Crompton made the comments in an email days before the publication of the Hillsborough report in September.

He said the families' "version of certain events has become 'the truth' even though it isn't".

Mr Crompton apologised for any offence caused but has not specified what falsehoods he was referring to.

Mr Crompton emailed the force's Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt and head of media Mark Thompson on 8 September, four days before the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report was released.

The email has been released by the county's police and crime commissioner, Shaun Wright, following a Freedom of Information request.

'We'll be roadkill'

In the email, Mr Crompton asked for a meeting with Mr Holt and Mr Thompson to discuss launching a web page about Hillsborough with links to documents including previous apologies and memos.

He said: "We then publicise it on Twitter. In effect it amounts to the case for the defence.

"One thing is certain - the Hillsborough Campaign for Justice will be doing their version... in fact their version of certain events has become 'the truth' even though it isn't.

"I just have the feeling that the media 'machine' favours the families and not us, so we need to be a bit more innovative in our response to have a fighting chance otherwise we will just be roadkill."

Image caption The email was released by the new police and crime commissioner

Police Commissioner Wright said he had informed the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the home secretary of the existence of the email and was "disappointed at the use of such language".

In a statement, Mr Crompton said: "It was never intended to cause any offence and I apologise if it has done so.

"Nor was it intended to challenge the integrity and views of those who lost loved ones in the Hillsborough disaster.

"Following the publication of the panel's report I said in the most forthright terms that I supported the findings and that is still my position."

The BBC asked South Yorkshire Police what Mr Crompton's intentions were at the time he wrote the email and what he thought the families had been untruthful about, but was told he was unavailable for further comment.

Margaret Aspinall, who lost her son James at Hillsborough, said: "I think it's an absolute disgrace.

"We have been used to nasty comments in the past anyway so it doesn't surprise me whatsoever."

She said she did not accept Mr Crompton's apology.

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