Hillsborough victims’ families targeted by internet trolls

96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death at Sheffield Hillsborough stadium in 1989

Internet trolls have preyed on families of the Hillsborough disaster who were affected by the 1989 tragedy.

The trolls behind the scam used Facebook to contact and befriend victims, including the sister of a man who died in the disaster.

Among many lies they pledged to donate £250,000 to a Hillsborough charity.

‘Sean O’Connor’ was the false name used to entice the victims as he claimed he was a witness of the tragedy. He spoke about his plans to attend a match at Everton’s Goodison Park, claiming it would be his first game since the tragedy due to the mental scars endured there.

Just days later, Facebook ‘friends’ were informed by ‘Zoe O’Connor’ that ‘Sean’ and his supposed brother ‘Max’ had died.

John Herbert, 45, from Litherland, Merseyside, who survived the Hillsborough crushes told the Liverpool Echo he felt “cheated” by Internet trolls. He shared personal memories with ‘Max’ about the tragedy before suspicions arose, as he would never be speaking to ‘Zoe’ and ‘Max’ at the same time, always simultaneously.

The users’ profiles have since been deleted and police have said they have the power to pursue the fake Hillsborough survivors. They are asking those who were approached or scammed to report any allegations.

This week the Hillsborough Independent Panel also confirmed that tissue was taken and retained without the families’ knowledge during 10 post-mortem examinations carried out on victims,

Whilst this was in accordance with established practice at the time, the 2006 Human Tissue Act made removing, storing or using tissue without consent illegal. This fresh evidence has caused distress to bereaved relatives and the panel are now contacting families affected to explain the circumstances.


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