The Sun slammed for leaving Hillsborough verdict off front page

Yesterday's verdict was marked with banners at St George's Hall in Liverpool
Yesterday's verdict was marked with banners at St George's Hall in Liverpool

The Sun newspaper has come under fire for not mentioning the Hillsborough inquest verdict on the front page.

Four days after the 1989 tragedy the paper ran a front page story proclaiming to tell "The Truth" about the disaster which left 96 people dead.

It featured claims from an anonymous policeman that some fans had "picked pockets of victims", "urinated on cops" and that some beat up a policeman giving the "kiss of life".

Despite not covering the verdict of the two-year inquest on the front page, which cleared the fans of any fault, instead the paper ran a double-page spread on the outcome, and covered it in their main leader.

The leader within the paper states that after 27 years the "Hillsborough families finally have their first measure of justice".

It adds: "Whether they get more is in the hands of the CPS. We hope they do.

"The horror that befell Liverpool fans was, as the inquest has now found, the fault of catastrophic police blunders - specifically by former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield - which were shamefully then covered up.

"Failures by the ambulance service were also to blame, as was the design of the Sheffield stadium.

"The supporters were not to blame. But the police smeared them with a pack of lies which in 1989 The Sun and others in the media swallowed whole.

"We apologised prominently 12 years ago, again four years ago on the front page, and do so unreservedly again now.

"Further, we pay tribute to the admirable tenacity of the friends and relatives over so many years on behalf of the 96 who died."

The absence of coverage of the Hillsborough inquest on Wednesday's front page led to criticism of the paper, with many taking to Twitter to voice their opinions.

The Irish edition also left the story off the front page and published a double-page spread under the headline 'Justice 27yrs on' on page 22-23.

Impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner tweeted that the relegation of the story to pages eight and nine was "extraordinary".

On Tuesday night "The Sun" became a trending topic on Twitter in the United Kingdom, with more than 124,000 tweets using the term.

The story did not appear on the front page of its sister paper, The Times, for its first edition.

Actor Stephen Mangan questioned: "Wait - neither @TheSun nor @thetimes mention Hillsborough on their front pages?!"

A photo of the families outside the Warrington court room appeared on later editions of The Times, along with a trailer for its coverage that ran into several pages, including an editorial comment.

In 2012 The Sun ran a front page called "The Real Truth" in which the paper announced they were "profoundly sorry for false reports".

On Tuesday former editor of The Sun Kelvin MacKenzie, who oversaw the story published in 1989 blaming fans, also apologised for the "hurt" the story caused.

In a statement he said: "Today's verdicts are an important step in obtaining justice for the victims. My heart goes out to those who have waited so long for vindication.

"As I have said before, the headline I published was wrong and I am profoundly sorry for the hurt it caused."

Talking on Sky News's press preview The Sun's political editor, Tom Newton Dunn said the police are at the "core" of the whole story and the paper were misled by them.

He said if people are still angry over the 1989 front page he "completely understands", adding: "We deserve everything that is thrown our way."