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Coroner says Hillsborough inquest could last a year

A potential jury of 11 along with a pool of extras will be sworn in today for the inquest into the Hillsborough disaster after the judge warned them the proceedings could take a year.

Hundreds of relatives of the 96 Liverpool football fans killed in the 1989 tragedy - Britain's worst sporting disaster - had gathered yesterday in the packed courtroom on the outskirts of Warrington, Cheshire, for the start of the latest inquest into the deaths.

The jurors had already filled in questionnaires to decide their suitability to hear the case, and were asked to say if they supported Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest or Liverpool.

They were also given a list of witnesses to see if they know any of them.

Coroner Lord Justice Goldring, who intends to open the case this morning, told them: "Each of you has filled out a questionnaire which I have. I shall only ask questions arising from it where that is appropriate. I want to add two things. First, the case may well take 12 months, in other words longer than the nine months foreshadowed on the questionnaire.

"Second if your name is called and you are a supporter of Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest or Liverpool I shall ask you to indicate."

Relatives of those who died were emotional as they arrived yesterday at the much-fought-for hearing.

Charlotte Hennessy, who was six when her father James died in the disaster, said: "It's finally here. It's been a long, long fight. Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end. I was a bit of a emotional wreck this weekend, I have not slept a wink."

Later this week, a series of "pen portraits" of all the victims will start being presented to the court.

The tragedy during Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest as thousands of fans were crushed on the ground's Leppings Lane terrace.

Verdicts of accidental death from the original Hillsborough inquest in March 1991 were quashed in December 2012, after the Hillsborough Independent Panel delivered its final report on the disaster earlier that year.

Contextual targeting label: 
Transport Tragedy

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