On Thursday morning, an inspiration to Liverpool sadly passed away. Anne Williams had been fighting for the truth surrounding Hillsborough for 24 years. May she rest in peace.
RIP Anne Williams: Fighting Liverpool’s Good Fight Until The End
A truly great woman passed away this morning.
A day after the country laid to rest an ‘iron lady’ whose entire life was about self, privilege, entitlement and division we lost a woman who has spent the last quarter of a century demonstrating the strength, selflessness, determination, depth and power of a mother’s love for her child. A woman who gave absolutely everything that she had in order to establish the truth of what happened to her son and 95 other innocent victims in May 1989.
Anne Williams lost her battle against cancer this morning at the early age of 62. She lost her son Kevin at Hillsborough when she was 38. Her entire life since that day had been a battle to clear the lies that had been told in the aftermath in order to protect the guilty, to force a new inquest for her 15 year old son, to wipe away the lie of ‘accidental death’ that had been placed against his name, to show that the coroner’s blanket decision that all victims had died by 3.15pm was inept at best.
Anne had proof as early as 1991 that Kevin was alive after 3.15, she had witnesses who had seen him, who had helped treat him, she had compelling evidence that his loss was avoidable. She had the evidence of a young female special constable who had been forced by the police force that she represented to change her statement on the day’s events, a constable who was with Kevin Williams as he passed away, as he asked for his mum.
In those 24 years Anne Williams submitted three petitions to the Attorney General requesting a new inquest for Kevin in light of the evidence that she had uncovered. And that’s key here – the evidence that she had uncovered, not the police or the government or any official body that is in place to help those in need, this was the work of one woman who wanted nothing in life but the truth about her son’s death. She was supported by barristers and forensic pathologists who waived their fees as they knew that she was right. Each time the Attorney General refused her. The European Court of Human Rights rebuffed her as she was ‘out of time.’
By the time of the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report last September Anne was clearly already gravely ill. The diagnosis of bowel cancer came through in October. It changed nothing for Anne, her only intent was to keep battling for justice for her son.
She lived long enough to see the start of that justice, long enough to see the original inquests on the 96 quashed and new inquests ordered – obviously including her long fought for fresh inquest for Kevin.
She deserved to live long enough to see the result of the new inquest, to see the justice that she deserved. To see the results of her twenty four year long battle finally come to fruition.
Her last appearance was at Monday’s Hillsborough Memorial Service. She hadn’t been expected to attend due to the severity of her illness but she was there as she had been at the previous 23, marking the memory of her son, a boy that that she lost when he was 15, a boy who would now have been a man approaching his fortieth birthday, a boy that she never stopped battling for.
It was my 16 year old son who gave me the news this morning, a year older than Kevin was when he was taken away from his mother. I’m 11 years older than she was at the time. It’s utterly unimaginable. I think my son was a little taken aback by my response; I was on the edge of tears for a woman that I didn’t know, that I had never met but whose battle I had watched from a distance over the years.
Anne Williams has shown us what can be achieved with the strength of a mother’s love, shown us that an ordinary woman can stand against everything in the knowledge that she is right and that, no matter what obstacles are placed in your path, giving up and accepting the lies of others is never an option.
We lost a great woman today, an ordinary mother who devoted her entire life to being exactly that and showed just how extraordinary a thing that is.
Rest In Peace, Anne Williams. YNWA.