And if it happened today, would social media reduce those 20+ years to two days?
During Sykes’s evidence, it became clear not only that these stories [of fans picking the pockets of the dead] were untrue, but that South Yorkshire police had the evidence all along that this was the case and yet had encouraged the stories and never corrected them. As a routine practice, its officers compiled lists of any money or other items found on people who had died. Mark George QC, representing 22 families, told Sykes that research of all the property logs showed nobody had “multiple wallets”. One person had a wallet and a separate small holder for his bank card. These deeply damaging stories, which had been maintained for a quarter of a century, crumbled in moments. (…)
The court heard and saw on film that Liverpool supporters, including doctors, nurses and police officers, came out of the crowd to help victims of the disaster, and saved lives as a result. Hundreds of supporters were seen carrying injured and dead people, using advertising hoardings as makeshift stretchers, while the response by the police and ambulance service was inadequate.
Many police officers did help greatly, but there was a lack of organisation and minimal direction from senior officers, and news footage from the time shows many officers standing around, not helping. The stories subsequently sent by White’s to the Sun and several other newspapers stated that “angry police hit back” at Liverpool fans “who hampered life-saving attempts”.