High emotion as families attend Hillsborough inquest
Hundreds of relatives of the 96 Liverpool football fans killed in the Hillsborough disaster have gathered in a packed courtroom for the start of the fresh inquests into their loved ones' deaths.
Feelings ran high as the families, along with a raft of journalists and lawyers, came to the long-awaited hearing in a specially fitted office building on the outskirts of Warrington, Cheshire yesterday.
Vice-chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group Jenni Hicks said the inquest had been "a long time coming", while Charlotte Hennessy, who lost her father in the tragedy, hoped it was "the beginning of the end".
A potential jury of 11 people, along with a pool of extras was selected, ready for today, when they are due to be sworn in and coroner Lord Justice Goldring intends to open the case.
Sending the group home overnight last night, he told them: "An enormous amount, as you know, has been written and said and published about the Hillsborough disaster and there have been programmes on television and on the radio and there are vast amounts of material on the internet.
"There may be a great temptation for you to read articles which have been published or watch programmes which have taken place, or search for material about the disaster on internet or on social networking sites.
"My direction is simple, I repeat it, you must not," he warned.
"It is vitally important for any jury that their deliberations and conclusions are based only on the evidence which they hear," the coroner added.
The jurors, who were warned that the inquest could take a year, had already filled in questionnaires to decide their suitability to hear the case, and yesterday were asked to say if they supported Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest or Liverpool.
Britain's worst sporting disaster happened on April 15, 1989 during Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest as thousands of fans were crushed on the Sheffield Wednesday ground's Leppings Lane terrace.
Verdicts of accidental death from the original Hillsborough inquest in March 1991 were quashed in December 2012, after the Hillsborough Independent Panel delivered its final report on the disaster that year.
Relatives of those who died were emotional as they arrived at the much-fought-for hearing earlier yesterday.
Ms Hicks said: "It's been a long time coming. I've had an emotional weekend."
Ms Hennessy, who lost her father, James Robert Hennessy, in the disaster when she was six years old, said: "Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end."
The coroner opens the case today, then a series of "pen portraits" of each of the 96 victims will be presented to the court over the next month.
The hearing was adjourned until today.