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Six people face criminal charges over Hillsborough football disaster

United Kingdom

Six people face criminal charges over Hillsborough football disaster

Criminal charges have been brought against six people over the 1989 Hillsborough football stadium disaster in the UK which claimed the lives of 96 fans.

It remains the country’s worst sporting disaster.

“I have decided that there is sufficient evidence to charge six individuals with criminal offences,” said Sue Hemming, head of the special crime and counter-terrorism division at the Crown
Prosecution Service, in a statement.

David Duckenfield, a former senior police officer who was in charge of police operations at Hillsborough on the day of the disaster, was charged with the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 men, women and children, Hemming said. He was not charged over the death of the 96th casualty, who died four years after the disaster, because of legal time limits that were in force at the time.

The other five people charged included other police officers, a lawyer who had acted for police, and a safety officer at the Hillsborough stadium. Charges included perverting the course of justice, contravening safety regulations and misconduct in public office.

What happened at Hillsborough?

The Liverpool supporters died in the crush in an overcrowded, fenced-in enclosure at the Hillsborough ground in Sheffield in northern England.

They had travelled to the ground for an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

Hasn’t there already been a legal process?

Yes. Last April, following a two-year inquest, a jury concluded that police who at first blamed the tragedy on drunken fans were responsible for the deaths.

They found the police had told lies and staged a cover-up to hide their catastrophic mistakes.

Jurors had been told that, to return verdicts of “unlawful killing”, they would have to be sure that David Duckenfield, the police commander in charge at the match, was responsible for “manslaughter by gross negligence”.

They ruled the deaths were unlawful.

After the inquest, Andy Burnham, the former home affairs spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, said there had been complicity between police, politicians and newspapers in a cover-up that went “right to the top”.

What do the relatives think?

They had demanded that criminal charges be brought against those involved in the failures on the day and the conspiracy to keep them quiet.

They have campaigned fro decades to overturn original conclusions that the deaths were accidental.

With Reuters