Six people face charges including David Duckenfield over The Hillsborough disaster
Mr Duckenfield was the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) match commander at the FA Cup semi-final when 96 Liverpool fans were fatally injured in a crush.
He faces charges of manslaughter on the sheer negligence of 96 fans who were fatally injured. Form SYP Chief Inspector Norman Bettison is charged for alleged lies in the aftermath of the disaster.
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Four others will also be prosecuted. Victims’ relatives have been informed.
Last year, new inquests into the disaster at the Liverpool vs Nottingham Forest match, held at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground, concluded the fans had been unlawfully killed.
Hillsborough police chief David Duckenfield to be charged with manslaughter of 95 people. Five others face charges https://t.co/VchjngebtT
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For legal reasons, Mr Duckenfield cannot be charged over the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died four years after the disaster, prosecutors said.
Speaking for the Commons, Prime Minster Theresa May said:
“I know from working closely with the families when I was the home secretary that this will be a day of mixed emotions for them.”
Sue Hemming, the Crown Prosecution Service head of special crime and counter-terrorism, said the CPS would allege that Duckenfield’s failure to take personal responsibility for the day was “extraordinarily bad and contributed substantially to the deaths of each of those 96 people who so tragically and unnecessarily lost their lives”.
The full list of individuals and charges are:
- Mr Duckenfield, 72, faces manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 men, women and children
- Sir Norman, 61, faces four charges of misconduct in a public office relating to alleged lies he told in the aftermath about the culpability of fans
- Graham Mackrell, former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary, will be accused of breaching Health and Safety and Safety at Sports Ground legislation
- Peter Metcalf, who was a solicitor acting for SYP, is charged with perverting the course of Justice, relating to changes to witness statements
- Former Ch Supt Donald Denton and former Det Ch Insp Alan Foster are accused of perverting the course of justice
- The defendants, other than Mr Duckenfield, will appear at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on 9 August.
Assistant Commissioner Rob Beckley, from Operation Resolve, said:
“Our inquiry looked at all aspects of the event, including the planning and the preparation for the game, the safety of the stadium and the response by the emergency services.”
Twelve individuals and three organisations were referred to the CPS by the Resolve team.Ms Hemming made the announcement of the intended prosecutions to victims’ families at a private meeting in Warrington earlier.
“Following our careful review of the evidence, in accordance with the code for Crown prosecutors, I have decided that there is sufficient evidence to charge six individuals with criminal offences.
“Criminal proceedings have now commenced and the defendants have a right to a fair trial.”
” We need peace,” said Campaigner Trevor Hicks who lost his daughters Victoria,15, and Sarah 19, in the disaster. He also said, “There will be six people facing criminal charges who might not have done if we hadn’t been resilient and all stuck together and fought this long fight.”There are no winners in this, it doesn’t bring anybody back.
He also added, “What it does do is send a message about accountability, as we keep saying, that nobody but nobody is above the law; be it the police or anybody else.”
Chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, Margaret Aspinall, whose son James, 18, was killed, said:
“This is definitely the start of the end.”I think everybody needs that, I think we all need peace from Hillsborough but we can never have peace until we’ve got the truth, justice, accountability.
“I think that’s the time we’ll all have peace.”
Barry Devonside, whose son Christopher, 18, was killed in the disaster, said:
“Everybody applauded when it was announced that the most senior police officer on that particular day will have charges presented to him.”
Evelyn McDonnell Mills, whose brother Peter McDonnell, 21, died, said she was “really happy”, but sad that her brother who campaigned for years and died during the new inquests never got to see their conclusion.
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Pete Weatherby QC, who represents 22 of the victims’ families, said they had “always known that accountability is the most difficult objective”.
“They remain keen to see the criminal process properly pursued for those who have been charged and hope that the memories of their loved ones and the integrity of the fans who attended Hillsborough will be respected during the process.”
Lawyer Marcia Willis-Stewart, speaking on behalf other families, said:
“The families are sensitive to the issues of fairness and due process and no-one wishes to prejudice or to jeopardise it.
“There are of course various legal options open to the families where decisions have been made not to prosecute, in the form of the victim and judicial review process.”
Sir Norman claims his innocence and is disappointed to be charged and will now vigorously defend his innocence
Mr Duckenfield and Mr Denton’s legal representative Ian Lewis, from JMW Solicitors, said:
“it would be inappropriate for me as their solicitor, or for my clients themselves, to make any comment”.
Dr Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, said he hoped the start of criminal proceedings would “lead to a measure of closure for the family members who have experienced a long and traumatic process”.
— Liverpool Echo (@LivEchonews) June 28, 2017
It has been a long and difficult journey for the family members of the victims to fight for justice of their near and dear ones and finally it has come to an end and hopefully, peace will prevail all over again and may the souls of all the 96 victims rest in peace.