Chief Constable's legal team ran up £1.8 million bill during Hillsborough disaster inquests

David Crompton
David Crompton

South Yorkshire Police's suspended Chief Constable ran up a £1.8 million legal bill when he was in charge of the force during the Hillsborough disaster inquests.

It cost £25 million to represent former and current police officers involved in the hearings, which lasted two years.

Today it emerged that the bill for the then Chief Constable, David Crompton, reached £1.8 million, with his barrister receiving £1 million alone.

He outraged families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the crush at Hillsborough football stadium in 1989, after his force re-told the discredited lies of officers during the hearings in an attempt to divert blame away from South Yorkshire Police.

He was suspended from his role after the inquests ruled that the 96 fans had been unlawfully killed, with Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, claiming there had been 'an erosion of trust'.

Mr Crompton and eight former police officers were awarded legal representation, paid for by the taxpayer, when the coroner classed them as 'properly interested persons'.

The police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, has received an official complaint about the stance Mr Crompton and his force took during the inquests - drawing out the length of time the hearings were expected to take.

Commissioner Dr Billings said his predecessor, Shaun Wright, first agreed to fund the legal bills.

"He believed that there was no legal basis for refusing the applications for financial assistance," he said.

Dr Billings said when he took over as Police and Crime Commissioner in 2014 he feared that challenging the legal finding would delay the inquests, but he 'challenged both the scale of the fees and the invoiced work'.

Home office grants of £20 million paid for most of the legal bills, with over £4 million coming from South Yorkshire Police coffers.

Dr Billings told the BBC: "I just think it's such a shame the inquests were drawn out for such a long period of time and therefore all of that money, or a great deal of that money, could probably have been saved."

Details of all the fees paid are listed on the Commissioner's website.