Manslaughter Trial Of Hillsborough Match Commander David Duckenfield Begins

Manslaughter Trial Of Hillsborough Match Commander David Duckenfield Begins

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield.

The police officer who was in command at Hillsborough stadium when 96 people were killed at a football game shall on Monday stand trial accused of manslaughter by gross negligence.

David Duckenfield, 73, was the match commander at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final held at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground.

Co-defendant, former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, 68, is charged with an offence involving the stadium safety certificate and a health and safety offence.

In pre-trial hearings, both Duckenfield and Mackrell pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Crown Prosecution Service alleges that Duckenfield’s failures to discharge his personal responsibility were “extraordinarily bad and contributed substantially to the deaths of each of those 96 people who so tragically and unnecessarily lost their lives”.

Duckenfield is charged with the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 men, women and children.

The CPS said it was unable to charge him with the manslaughter of Tony Bland – the 96th casualty – because he died almost four years later.

The law as it applied then meant that no-one could be guilty of manslaughter if the death occurred more than a year and a day later than the date when the injuries were caused.

Three new men face criminal charges in relation to the disaster in a separate trial scheduled to start in September.

They are retired police officers Donald Denton, and Alan Foster, and retired solicitor Peter Metcalf, who acted for South Yorkshire Police following the 1989 disaster, and are charged with doing acts intended to pervert the course of justice. They deny the charges.

The trial at Preston Crown Court, which shall be presided over by the judge Sir Peter Openshaw, is due to conclude in May. 

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