A FORMER Cumbrian health chief who was among those in the crowd during the Hillsborough disaster 30 years ago has compared the way families have been treated to that of the more recent Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Professor John Ashton has been a high-profile voice in the fight for justice for victims of the football stadium crush, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans in 1989.

He is now working with families affected by the Grenfell fire, focusing on public health issues.

Speaking three decades on from Hillsborough, Prof Ashton said there are comparisons that can be drawn between the two - particularly about the way families have been treated.

“I’ve been working for the past few months in London. The community there has very little faith in the authorities. There is a lot of grief and community distress, and a lot of anger about not being properly heard,” he said.

“They’ve had quite a lot to do with the Hillsborough families. They’ve been supporting each other.”

On Hillsborough, he said despite the truth finally coming out about what happened there, he does not believe families have had the justice they deserve - believing many individuals who should be prosecuted for their part in it. “The families always said they wanted truth and justice. They’ve had truth, but justice is a long time coming,” he said. “It’s very cruel. It makes it very hard for the families.”

Prof Ashton, who was Cumbria’s public health director for several years, was at Anfield at the weekend to witness the victory over Chelsea, but said the Hillsborough anniversary was on everyone’s minds.

“It’s just very poignant and very sad. You get on with your life, but you don’t forget it,” said Prof Ashton, who joined efforts to help injured fans at Hillsborough, and was among the first to criticise the emergency response.

“You see your own children grow up, then you think about these kids who would’ve been grown up with families.

“The one I was closest to was Philip Hammond, who was just 14. He was in the same football team as my son. He would be 44 now.”