June 17th 2014
A Merseyside civil servant who used Wikipedia to post offensive comments about the Hillsborough disaster while at work on a government computer, has been sacked for gross misconduct. The 24-year-old junior administrator used the online encyclopaedia to mock the victims of the 1989 Liverpool v Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final, in which 96 fans died.
The man's dismissal follows an enquiry which was launched in April when it emerged that government computers were being used to make the insulting comments, which included "Blame Liverpool fans". A Daily Telegraph investigation identified the man, who was of London birth, through his online activity.
One entry to the encyclopaedia's Hillsborough page, made in 2012, changed "You'll Never Walk Alone" by changing it to "You'll Never Walk Again".
In a Commons statement, Cabinet Officer Minister Francis Maude said: "I was deeply distressed that, at a time when the hearings of the Hillsborough inquests were unfolding, the Civil Service was brought into disrepute by these edits. Our position from the very start has been that the amendments made to Wikipedia are sickening. The behaviour is in complete contravention of the Civil Service code and every canon of civilised conduct. It is entirely unacceptable."
Mr Maude thanked Liverpool Echo journalist Oliver Duggan who broke the story on 25 April and passed on his research to the Cabinet Office. "That information has proved extremely helpful and provided a significant investigative lead," the minister said.