Sir Bernard Ingham: The disgraceful letter Margaret Thatcher's aide sent to Hillsborough campaigners

A shockingly callous letter written by Margaret Thatcher's press secretary has come to light in the wake of an inquest jury's ruling that the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster was caused by police failures.

The prime minister and her aide Sir Bernard Ingham visited the stadium the day after the FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield, and were told by South Yorkshire police that "drunken Liverpool fans" had caused the crush that killed 96 people.

The pain of families and survivors has been dragged out by several inquests and repeated attempts by the police to minimise their responsibility for the deaths by blaming Liverpool fans' behaviour.

Much of the media and political establishment sided with the police as campaigners fought for decades for answers on what really happened on the day of the tragedy.

Their protests fell on deaf ears in Thatcher's office, if this 1996 letter from Ingham to Liverpool fan Graham Skinner is anything to go by:

Thank you for your letter of June 13. I am sorry you are disgusted with the uncomfortable truth about the real cause of the Hillsborough disaster. It is my unhappy experience to find that most reasonable people outside Merseyside recognise the truth of what I say.

All I get from Merseyside is abuse. I wonder why. You are at least right in believing that you will have to put up with my discomforting views. I cherish the hope that as time goes on you will come to recognise the truth of what I say.

After all, who if not the tanked up yobs who turned up late determined to get into the ground caused the disaster? To blame the police, even though they may have made mistakes, is contemptible.

Ingham was asked again about his comments in 2013. He told the Liverpool Echo he stood by his original remarks and also refused to apologise for saying Liverpool should "shut up" about Hillsborough.

Twenty-seven years later, the families of the 96 victims finally have answers after what has been dubbed "the greatest miscarriage of justice of our times".

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