Thousands call to strip Sheffield knighthoods over Hillsborough Disaster

Sir Norman Bettison, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police
Sir Norman Bettison, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police
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THOUSANDS of people are backing calls for two men to be stripped of their knighthoods over the Hillsborough Disaster.

Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died in a crush at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium on April 15, 1989, before an FA Cup semi-final.

Online petitions are now calling for former Sheffield Hallam Tory MP Irvine Patnick and police leader, Sir Norman Bettison to have their knighthoods removed after the independent report into Hillsborough was published last week.

It revealed ‘strenuous efforts’ were made by police to blame fans for the tragedy.

Sir Irvine was named in as a source for a national newspaper story blaming drunk and aggressive fans.

And Sir Norman Bettison, current West Yorkshire Police chief, was a Sheffield chief inspector at the time tasked with presenting the police version of events.

Calls to Sir Irvine, aged 82, of Abbeydale Road South in Sheffield, yesterday from The Star were met with a ‘no comment’. Sir Bettison has also not commented.

The petitions have come from Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson.

One says Sir Irvine should be stripped of his knighthood for his part in a ‘vile and despicable smear campaign’ and is supported by over 5,700.

The second is to have Sir Norman’s knighthood and Queen’s Policing Medal removed after he made ‘appalling and disgraceful’ comments that try to ‘defend his actions’. It is supported by over 3,200 people.

Both men have apologised.

■ The Independent Police Complaints Commission has confirmed it has received the referral from West Yorkshire Police Authority to investigate Sir Norman Bettison’s role over Hillsborough.