Figures from the world of football, politicians and the families of the victims have all given their reaction to the news a jury has ruled all 96 Liverpool football fans were killed unlawfully in the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster. The verdict sees an end to the 27-year battle for the relatives and supporters of the victims who fought to have the original accidental deaths verdict overturned.
The jury made their decision after reaching a conclusion to 14 questions set out to them by the coroner at the new inquest. The key question being: "Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed?" – was answered 'Yes' by a 7-2 majority. The jury also unanimously answered 'No' to the question: "Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?"
Following the decision, David Cameron praised the "landmark" day, which arrived following the conclusion of the longest British legal case in history. He added: "It is also a long overdue day – the bereaved families and survivors of the Hillsborough Disaster have had to wait 27 long years for the full facts of what happened. And it is only due to their tireless bravery in pursuing the truth that we arrived at this momentous verdict."
All families and survivors now have official confirmation of what they always knew was the case, that the Liverpool fans were utterly blameless in the disaster that unfolded at Hillsborough.
Labour's Andy Burnham, who played a key role in helping to quash the original verdicts, described the aftermath of the Hillsborough Tragedy as the "greatest miscarriage of justice of our times". He said: "Finally, it is over. After 27 long years, this is real justice for the 96, their families and all Liverpool supporters. The survivors of this tragedy can finally be remembered for what they were on that day – the heroes of Hillsborough who tried to help their fellow fans.
"The sense of relief we feel is tempered by the knowledge that this day has taken far too long in coming. The struggle for justice has taken too great a toll on too many. But the Hillsborough families have at long last prevailed and finally their loved ones can rest in peace."
In a statement on their website, Liverpool's local rivals Everton paid tribute to the families and supporters of the Hillsborough victims, describing their success in getting the unlawfully killed verdicts as "the greatest victory in the history of football".
Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the 1989 disaster, thanked all those who backed their fight for justice for the past 27 years. She told reporters outside the courtroom in Warrington: "Let's be honest about this – people were against us. We had the media against us, as well as the establishment.
"Everything was against us. The only people that weren't against us was our own city. That's why I am so grateful to my city and so proud of my city. They always believed in us." She added: "I think we have changed a part of history now – I think that's the legacy the 96 have left."
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also paid tribute to the families and friends of the victims for the "passionate and dignified campaign" they fought for almost three decades. He added: "In the immediate aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster there were some who painted those that died and the fans of Liverpool FC as drunken yobs and thieves. The findings of this inquest clearly show that to have been a lie – fan behaviour didn't cause or contribute to the disaster and the fans have been exonerated of any blame.
"All those that attended the semi-final 27 years ago were innocent victims and it is time that those who peddled those vile and malicious lies recognise the deep hurt they have inflicted on tens of thousands of innocent people – and are held to account."
In response to the jury's verdict, South Yorkshire Police chief constable David Crompton said the force "unequivocally accepts" the decision and apologises "unreservedly" to the families and all those affected.
He said: "The Hillsborough Disaster changed the way in which major sporting events are policed and very many lessons have been learnt. Today, with improvements in training, communications and technology, it is almost impossible to consider how the same set of circumstances could arise again today. We will now take time to carefully reflect on the implications of the verdicts.
"We recognise that this is an important day for the families of those who died at the Hillsborough Disaster and for everyone affected by what happened. They have waited 27 years for this outcome. Our thoughts are with them."