By Alex Stevenson
Hillsborough victims and their families are lamenting the death of Sir Irvine Patnick - because he will not be 'held responsible' for his role in the Hillsborough tragedy cover-up.
The 83-year-old died peacefully on December 30th, a statement from his family said.
Patnick had said he was "appalled and shocked" after discovering the extent of the "deceit and cover-up" by police officers in the wake of the Hillsborough tragedy, in which 96 people died and hundreds more were injured in a crowd crush at an FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Sheffield Wednesday.
He was the source for the Sun's headline 'The Truth', which sought to blame the crowd rather than the policing of the event for the deaths and led to what prime minister David Cameron described as a "double injustice" suffered by the victims' families.
"I totally accept responsibility for passing such information on without asking further questions," Patnick said in a statement issued via the Conservative party.
"So, many years after this tragic event, I am deeply and sincerely sorry for the part I played in adding to the pain and suffering of the victims' families.”
Sheila Coleman of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign said Patnick's death served as a "timely reminder" of the need for inquiries into wrongdoing by police officers to take place "as swiftly as possible".
"Otherwise, we are not going to be able to hold people responsible for their role in the scandal," the Liverpool Echo newspaper quoted her as saying.
"It needs to be remembered that this man vilified Liverpool and was part of a lying machine which shamefully damaged the reputation of those fans.
"The purpose of his death should be to put increasing pressure on the authorities to ensure that investigations are not delayed any further so that people can be held accountable."
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is mounting a major inquiry into misconduct allegations at South Yorkshire police, while director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer is reviewing evidence which informed the independent panel report published in September.
By Alex Stevenson