Joe Giddens/PA Wire

'It's been a very long journey for the people of Liverpool.

'We've had 27 years of trying to get the light of truth shone on what happened at Hillsborough.

'Today, after the longest inquest in British legal history, the fans have been exonerated from blame and its been found that the levels of negligence were potentially unlawful.

'People have really struggled for so many years to shine some light on what happened. Today I think that light has been shone.

'It's not acceptable that it has taken so long to get justice. I'm not saying justice was deliberately hidden or covered up. But it's not right that people should have had to spend the thick end of 30 years trying to get justice for their loved ones. I'm delighted for all members of the families who have been struggling patiently all through the years. They must feel today that their hard work has been vindicated.

'A lot of the victims were young and when they died, their future was taken away. The families have lived their lives in grief. Then immediately afterwards, people were saying your loved ones were responsible for this. Words like "scum" were bandied about. So not only do you lose a loved one but you get all the blame.

'The families have maintained their dignity and kept on simply saying all we want to know is the truth. And then after truth, justice. And I pay tribute to them for what they've done over these years.

'As far as the unlawful killings are concerned, things are in the hands of the prosecution service. Many of the families have said to me they want closure, they want to know the truth about what happened. When the jury said the fans were not responsible for what happened to them, that was huge.

'We've always been praying for these people, that the love of Jesus Christ will touch them in their grief. But also, that the truth and justice of God can be made manifest. So my prayer for the Hillsborough families and everyone in our region is that God's love and light will continue to shine and that all those in pain will be comforted.' 

Rt Rev Paul Bayes was speaking to Antony Bushfield

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