Sayle in Hillsborough row

Comic 'cheap' and 'offensive'

Alexei Sayle has apologised after inadvertently offending families of Hillsborough disaster victims.

The comic had said that "the sentimentality in Liverpool is compounded by both Heysel and Hillsborough".

But the remarks prompted an angry response.

Phil Hammond, whose 14-year-old son Phil died in the 1989 disaster said: "The sentimentality, as he calls it, was a comfort to victims' families.

"I have never thought Alexei Sayle was funny and this goes to show the mentality of the man. It is offensive and insensitive."

And Trevor Hicks, father of fellow victims Vicky, 15, and Sarah, 19, said: "These are cheap jibes to sell what is probably a cheap book."

But speaking at the Edinburgh book festival yesterday, Liverpool-born Sayle said: "If I have offended people then I apologise but the words have been taken out of context."

He said the words were not intended as a joke, but to explain the feelings of one of the characters in his new book.

Published: 15 Aug 2003

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