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

Footage taken by police on the day of the Hillsborough disaster may have been edited and even more statements altered, an inquest has heard.

Speaking at the pre-inquest hearing of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the 1989 tragedy, Pete Weatherby QC, told the inquest hand-held footage shot by police have been edited or incomplete, according to an expert who has seen the images.

Weatherby told the hearing it was vital the footage presented to the inquest was as comprehensible as possible.

"I would submit an expert should look at this to ensure they are the best possible copies which are put forward," Weatherby said.

The claims emerged as the BBC said it is to release previously unseen footage taken on the day of the FA Cup semi-final on 15 April to the inquest.

The original inquest verdicts of accidental death was quashed in December, three months after the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) report.

It was also claimed at the pre-inquest hearing that 74 more police statements may have been altered than previously thought.

The HIP report found that 164 police statements were significantly amended, with 116 explicitly negative comments about the policing operation removed altogether, on the day the 96 Liverpool fans were killed.

If the latest findings are confirmed, the total number of statements altered by police will rise to 238. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) also previously said it has found evidence fans' witness accounts may have been tampered with as well.

IPCC lawyer Andrew O'Connor told the hearing that of the 238 officers alleged to have altered statements, 220 officers were still alive and 57 have already been interviewed by the IPCC.

Steven Kelly, who lost his brother Michael in the disaster, told Sky News: "It's so shocking. Every new inquest into Hillsborough there is new evidence which suggests a cover-up."

IPCC deputy chair Deborah Glass also confirmed that more than 1000 people have come forward since they appealed for more witnesses.

She said: "On 17 September we launched a witness appeal. This appeal had been planned for several months and was timed to coincide with a Liverpool FC home game to help maximise publicity.

"The appeal is calling for witnesses who were at Hillsborough and gave their accounts to West Midlands Police, who carried out the investigation in 1989, to come forward.

"By 1 October we had received 1069 responses. These responses have come from all over the world including Australia, USA, Africa and Europe.The majority of the responses have been from football supporters in the West Stand/ Eppings Lane end of the ground.

"Around 95% of these have been from Liverpool supporters, with the remainder coming from Nottingham Forest supporters. More than 700 of the responses have been processed and analysed and these have resulted in specific actions for the investigation team to follow up on."

The IPCC is hoping the new inquest in Warrington will begin by March. It is expected to last between six and nine months.