Hillsborough disaster survivor’s horror at Stevenage man’s Facebook post mocking the 96 who died

Herts police have spoken to Ashley Michael Bagstaff about his use of social media in light of this o

Herts police have spoken to Ashley Michael Bagstaff about his use of social media in light of this offensive post on Facebook. - Credit: Archant

A sick social media post by a Stevenage man which mocks the 96 people who were crushed to death at a football match in Hillsborough in 1989 has been condemned by a survivor.

The Hillsborough disaster occurred during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, in the two standing-only central pens allocated to Liverpool supporters.

Shortly before kick-off, in an attempt to ease overcrowding outside the entrance turnstiles, the police match commander ordered an additional gate to be opened, leading to a crush in those pens.

With 96 fatalities and 766 injured, it remains the worst disaster in British sporting history.

In a vile Facebook post in ‘The Wrongun’s Group’, Ashley Michael Bagstaff, who lives in Stevenage and attended Marriotts and Barclay schools, wrote: “Liverpool have the best fans, so much so they are willing to die at away games at Sheffield.”

Hillsborough survivor Marco Catena saw the shocking post and, referring to the “vile behaviour and hate speech”, said: “He took to social media mocking the 96 deaths, and with that attacking every Liverpool supporter, including families of the victims and survivors, who to this day are suffering immensely from those events.

“Me, as a Hillsborough survivor, and many other people who have suffered since that tragic day, have been fighting for over 30 years to clear our names, which has been eventually proven with the inquest back in 2016.”

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In the weeks following the disaster, police fed the press false stories suggesting hooliganism and drunkenness by Liverpool supporters were to blame.

In 2016, after a tireless campaign for justice by survivors and the victims’ families, a jury concluded the 96 victims were unlawfully killed and Liverpool fans’ behaviour did not contribute to the crush. The police operation was heavily criticised.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire police said: “We traced Ashley and spoke to him. He had already removed the offending post and closed his account. As no official complaint has been reported to us we have given Ashley some advice about his use of social media.”

Efforts by the Comet to make contact with Ashley have proved unsuccessful.

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