|'Despicable’ British cops planned vacation homes buys with football disaster donations
British police officers investigating the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium deaths in Sheffield sought to have public donations to be spent on holiday flats, kitchen appliances, and gifts for officers, British media reported.
Citing documents released during an independent inquiry, the Liverpool Echo said officers from South Yorkshire Police circulated ideas in 1991 about how “residual money'' from the fund could be spent. The tragedy claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool Football Club fans.
Their list included microwave ovens for police station kitchens, new gym equipment, gifts for police officers, and a holiday home overseas, according to the paper.
The majority of the £12 million, largely public donations, was given to families of victims and survivors.
Trustees asked the police and other organizations for suggestions on how to use the money that remained, but none of the projects put forward by South Yorkshire Police was thought to have been approved.
The chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, Margaret Aspinall, called the reports “despicable.’’
“It is one of the most shocking things I've heard in a long time,'' she told the Echo.
“People often think all of that money went to the families, but they are wrong. A lot of it went elsewhere. I feel that 96 people died for that money and they wanted to use it for new microwaves. It's despicable.''
The current Deputy Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, Andy Holt, told the BBC that the force's proposals were made in response to an approach by the fund's trustees.
“As a result, South Yorkshire Police formally submitted a number of suggestions to the trustees of the Hillsborough Disaster Fund which included enhancing the quality of the police control rooms at Hillsborough and other football stadia to improve public safety and the policing of future football matches,'' he said.
“In addition, a small number of other suggestions were made by individual officers and or staff at the time that included the provision of items of gymnasium equipment in police gyms to help maintain the health and fitness of officers, and the purchase of a holiday flat for use by officers and their families.''