Hillsborough victims’ samples kept

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Tissue samples taken from the bodies of victims of the Hillsborough Disaster were retained without their families’ knowledge, the Hillsborough Independent Panel said.

The panel, which is examining documents relating to the 1989 disaster, has confirmed that in 10 post-mortems carried out on those who died, tissue was taken for further examination and was retained.

A panel spokesman said: “Although this was in accordance with established practice at the time and the standard procedures were followed, it has become clear since then that removal and retention of tissue in this way in many post-mortems around the country has caused distress to bereaved relatives.”

The panel is now making contact with families affected to explain the circumstances and to ask if they would like to know the position concerning their relatives.

The Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool and chairman of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, said: “I am sorry that this additional distress has been caused to some of the Hillsborough families, who have suffered greatly already.

“I know from my previous experience in Liverpool how much anguish has resulted from this practice.”

Ninety-six Liverpool football fans died in the crush at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield for an FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989.

The 2006 Human Tissue Act made removing, storing or using tissue without family consent illegal.