Ninety-six Liverpool football fans died at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989. (Reuters)
Some 96 Liverpool football fans died at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989 (Reuters)

A memorial service at Anfield stadium in April 2016, in memory of 96 football fans who died in the Hillsborough tragedy, will be the final one, it has been announced. Memorial services have been held at Liverpool's stadium almost every year for the past 26 years since the disaster.

The decision to bring the Anfield services to a close was made by the Hillsborough Families Support Group (HFSG) following consultation with the relatives of those who died. The families agreed that the service, to be held on the 27th anniversary, will be the last.

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the HFSG, said: "The 96 will never be forgotten. This final memorial service will provide the families with some closure."

Mrs Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the disaster told BBC News: "The HFSG would like to thank everyone for all the support the families have received over the past 27 years and all those people who have attended the service at Anfield each year. We hope that the public and fans respect the decision of the HFSG and will continue to remember the 96 in their own, perhaps more private, way

The 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield on 15 April 1989.

The Taylor Report in 1990 concluded that the main cause of the disaster was the failure of police control. Former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, who was the match commander, admitted he lied about fans forcing a gate open. He stated: "It was a grave mistake and I apologise profusely."

Duckenfield admitted he gave the order to open gates allowing 2,000 fans massing outside the turnstiles into the ground in the minutes before the fatal crush on the Leppings Lane terrace of Sheffield's Hillsborough ground as the game kicked off.

The tragedy prompted major changes in safety standards at stadiums in Britain with perimeter fencing removed and many grounds converted to all-seaters.

In the days after the disaster, Anfield became the focus of grief on Merseyside. A carpet of flowers was laid over the pitch and a chain of football scarves stretched from the stadium, across the city's Stanley Park and to Goodison Park, home of local rivals Everton.

On the first anniversary, the club unveiled a permanent memorial to the 96 victims - a 10-tonne granite block inscribed with the names of the victims alongside an eternal flame.

The inquest into the tragedy is the longest in UK legal history, having begun on 31 March 2014. On Tuesday 5 January, Coroner Lord Justice Goldring adjourned the inquests in Warrington, Cheshire, until 25 January when he expects to summarise the evidence for the jury.