Coroner confirms Liverpool fan Andrew Devine is 97th Hillsborough victim

Support us and go ad-free

A Liverpool fan who was injured at Hillsborough is the 97th person to be unlawfully killed in the disaster, a coroner has found. Andrew Devine, 55, died on Tuesday, more than 32 years after he was badly hurt in the tragedy at the FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989.

In a statement released through Liverpool Football Club on Wednesday, his family said:

Our collective devastation is overwhelming but so too is the realisation that we were blessed to have had Andrew with us for 32 years since the Hillsborough tragedy.

In a record of inquest, seen by the PA news agency, Liverpool coroner Andre Rebello said: “Andrew Devine died at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital after a long illness of 32 years from aspiration pneumonia.”

Unlawful killing

He said the inquest into the first 96 fatalities of the disaster, which concluded in 2016, was “comprehensive and thorough” and during the hearings the circumstances of Devine’s serious injuries were considered.

He added:

As such, it is proportionate, reasonable and sufficient for me to adopt the jury’s findings and determination in full.

The jury in those inquests, held in Warrington, recorded a conclusion of unlawful killing and found errors and omissions by South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and South Yorkshire Ambulance Service before and after the fatal crush on the Leppings Lane terraces.

It found the behaviour of fans did not contribute to the disaster.

Hillsborough disaster court case
The 96 other victims of the Hillsborough disaster (Hillsborough Inquests/PA)

Coroner findings

The record of inquest, from the hearing held on Wednesday, stated Devine had been admitted to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital on July 12 with aspiration pneumonia and fever but died on the morning of July 27.

The brain injury caused as a result of trauma he suffered in the Hillsborough disaster meant he was predisposed to fatal aspiration pneumonia, Rebello found.

The coroner concluded:

I find that it is more likely than not that Andrew Devine was unlawfully killed, making him the 97th fatality from the events of April 15 1989.

Tributes paid

Devine’s family said they welcomed the conclusion of the coroner.

In the statement, they said:

In the intervening years, Andrew has been a much loved son, brother and uncle. He has been supported by his family and a team of dedicated carers, all of whom devoted themselves to him.

As ever, our thoughts are with all of those affected by Hillsborough.

A statement from Liverpool football club said they were “deeply saddened” by his death.

A spokesman said:

A lifelong Liverpool supporter, Andrew continued to attend matches at Anfield when possible despite suffering life-changing injuries at Hillsborough on April 15 1989.

In doing so he defied expectations that he would not survive for six months after the tragedy.

The spokesman added: “The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Andrew’s family and his carers.”

Tributes were also paid from the blue half of Liverpool, with the Everton FC Twitter account posting a message which said:

We are deeply saddened to hear of Andrew’s passing. Our thoughts are with his family and, as always, all those affected by the Hillsborough tragedy.

Cases collapsed

Match commander David Duckenfield was cleared of gross negligence manslaughter at a retrial in November 2019, after the jury in his first trial was unable to reach a verdict.

Earlier this year, the trial of retired police officers Donald Denton and Alan Foster and former force solicitor Peter Metcalf, who were accused of perverting the course of justice following the disaster, collapsed after a judge ruled there was no case to answer.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us