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Anne: the harrowing real-life story behind the ITV drama

Find out about the Hillsborough disaster

Anne: the harrowing real-life story behind the ITV drama

ITV's new drama Anne came to an end on Wednesday night and has been praised by viewers for bringing such an important injustice back to the surface. 

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The series stars Maxine Peake as the titular Anne Williams, who campaigned for justice following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster which saw her 15-year-old son, Kevin, and 96 others killed as a result. Read on to find out about the true story behind the programme…

WATCH: What did you think of the ITV drama?

What happened at Hillsborough? 

The Hillsborough disaster was a fatal human crush that took place during an FA Cup football match at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield on 15th April 1989 and resulted in the deaths of 97 people.

The game was between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, and the crush occurred in an area allocated to Liverpool supporters.

In an infamous article released by The Sun four days after the event, Liverpool club supporters were falsely blamed for the incident and were also accused of picking "pockets of victims" and urinating on cops.

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Kelvin MacKenzie, who was the editor of the newspaper at the time, would later apologise for the article and blame "deliberate misinformation from the South Yorkshire Police".

anne williams steve© Photo: Getty Images

Anne Williams campaigned for the 97 victims

The first coroner's inquests in 1991 ruled all the deaths accidental - findings that were rejected by the victims' families. 

In 2009, a Hillsborough Independent Panel was formed to review the evidence and in 2012 found that 116 police statements were amended "to remove or alter comments unfavourable" to the South Yorkshire Police. The panel also found that police and ambulance services made "strenuous attempts to deflect the blame onto innocent fans". 

Previous findings of accidental death were quashed

Then, in 2016, the second coroner's inquests were held and found that the victims were unlawfully killed due to grossly negligent failures by police and ambulance services to fulfil their duty of care and that supporters were not to blame for the dangerous conditions. 

Over a year later in June 2017, six people were charged with offences including manslaughter by gross negligence, misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice for their actions during and after the tragedy. The Crown Prosecution Service subsequently dropped all charges against one of the defendants. 

Who was the real Anne Williams?

Anne Williams was a campaigner who fought for the justice of the 97 lives lost due to the disaster, including that of her 15-year-old son, Kevin

MORE: Anne: viewers all have same reaction after episode two of ITV Hillsborough drama

Following the incident, Anne campaigned to overturn the coroner's original inquest findings of accidental death.

anne maxine© Photo: ITV

Maxine Peake plays Anne in the ITV drama

Using her own money, she set out to get medical opinions from top doctors, gather witnesses, launched numerous legal challenges and lobbied ministers for new inquests.

Anne died of cancer in 2013, three years before the second coroner's inquest ruled that the victims of the disaster were unlawfully killed. 

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