LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 14, 2021: Floral tributes left at the eternal flame memorial for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough Disater pictured before the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madird CF at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Coroner rules 97th victim of Hillsborough disaster was unlawfully killed

The family of Liverpool supporter Andrew Devine, who was injured in the Hillsborough disaster, have announced his death at age 55.

Devine suffered life-changing injuries in the disaster on April 5, 1989, and a coroner has concluded that his death was due to those injuries and that he – like the other 96 victims – was unlawfully killed.

It makes Devine, who was 22 when he attended the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest, officially the 97th victim of the disaster.

Devine’s death comes after South Yorkshire police last month admitted to “serious errors and mistakes” that led to the unlawful killing of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

Despite that admission and despite an inquest in 2016 ruling that the victims were unlawfully killed due to gross negligence, nobody has ever been held responsible or charged for the disaster.

Last month a settlement was announced after South Yorkshire Police and West Midlands Police admitted statements were altered in the aftermath of the disaster.

Devine’s death and subsequent ruling from the coroner could see Liverpool FC replace the ’96’ emblem on the neckline of their shirts with ’97’.

Statement from the Devine family:

“It is with great sadness and a sense of immense loss that we can confirm that Andrew Devine passed away yesterday at the premature age of 55.

“Our collective devastation is overwhelming but so too is the realisation that we were blessed to have had Andrew with us for 32 years since the Hillsborough tragedy.

“We welcome the conclusion of the coroner, Mr Andre Rebello, made today at Liverpool Coroner’s Court, that Andrew was unlawfully killed, making him the 97th fatality of the tragic events that occurred on April 15, 1989.

“In the intervening years, Andrew has been a much-loved son, brother and uncle. He has been supported by his family and a team of dedicated carers, all of whom devoted themselves to him.

“As ever, our thoughts are with all of those affected by Hillsborough. We would ask that our privacy is respected at this sad time.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 14, 2019: Flowers and tributes left by supporters at the memorial to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster, the 15th of April marks the 30th anniversary of the disaster, pictured before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Statement from Liverpool FC:

“Liverpool Football Club is deeply saddened by the passing of Andrew Devine, who died yesterday at the age of 55.

“A lifelong Liverpool supporter, Andrew continued to attend matches at Anfield when possible despite suffering life-changing injuries at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989. In doing so he defied expectations that he would not survive for six months after the tragedy.

“At an inquest held in Liverpool today, it was ruled that Andrew was unlawfully killed as a result of the disaster, providing a further tragic reminder of the toll that Hillsborough continues to take on all affected by it.

“The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Andrew’s family and his carers.

“It should also be noted that Andrew’s family have appealed for privacy and we would urge that this request is respected.”

To Andrew and the 96, You’ll Never Walk Alone.