Hillsborough coroner Stefan Popper to be questioned

By Anna Sheinman, March 25, 2013
Original Hillsborough coroner Stefan Popper

Original Hillsborough coroner Stefan Popper

The coroner who led the original inquest into the Hillsborough disaster will be questioned over the level of contact he had with police officers and why he ordered blood alcohol level tests on all those who died.

The announcement that Dr Stefan Popper is to be questioned came in a letter from the Independent Police Complaints Commission sent to the families of victims, the Liverpool Echo reported.

Dr Popper’s original findings ruled that the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final match were accidental. Those findings were quashed in the High Court in December and new inquests ordered.

The original inquest by Dr Popper has been widely criticised. He refused to take any evidence collected after 3.15pm, the match having been abandoned at 3.06pm as the extent of the crushing at the Sheffield stadium became apparent. He also controversially ordered blood alcohol tests of all of those who died, regardless of age, including one victim who was only 10 years old.

Dr Popper came to Britain in 1938 at the age of six when his family fled Nazi-occupied Austria. The Poppers had owned the Cafe Herrenhof in Vienna.

It was one of the city’s most popular meeting places during the 1920s and 1930s, and was frequented by artists, writers and philosophers such as Sigmund Freud and the director Fritz Lang. After the cafe was appropriated by the Nazis, the family settled in Britain.

Last updated: 10:07am, March 25 2013