Connect with us

Featured

Ex-police chief’s ‘extraordinarily bad’ failings led to deaths, court hears

Published

on

Jurors in the trial of former Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield have been told his “extraordinarily bad” failures contributed substantially to the victims’ deaths.

The former South Yorkshire police chief superintendent is charged with gross negligence manslaughter in relation to all but one of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the 1989 football disaster.

Under law at the time, there can be no prosecution in relation to Tony Bland who died more than a year after the tragedy.

Richard Matthews QC said it was the prosecution’s case that “each of those who died did so as a result of participation in the wholly innocent activity of attending a football match as a spectator on 15 April 1989”.

“Each died as a result of the extraordinarily bad failures by David Duckenfield in the care he took to discharge his personal responsibility on that fateful day,” Mr Matthews added.

The ex-South Yorkshire Police chief superintendent David Duckenfield is accused of manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 people who died in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
Image:
Ninety-six people died in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster

Preston Crown Court was told that Duckenfield, now 74, had failed to delay the kick-off to quickly declare a major incident or to order emergency measures to free trapped supporters.

Crushing at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground happened after an exterior gate was opened to relieve pressure outside the stadium, the court heard.

Duckenfield – who denies gross negligence manslaughter – is accused of failing to block off a tunnel leading to already overcrowded pens before the gate was opened.

Mr Matthews said that each of the deceased had been failed by many, in many ways and over a protracted period; before, during and even after the disaster.

The sea of flowers and scarves at Anfield. The ex-South Yorkshire Police chief superintendent David Duckenfield is accused of manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 people who died in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
Image:
A sea of flowers and scarves at Anfield paying tribute to the Hillsborough victims

He added: “Nonetheless, it is the prosecution’s case that none of the many individual failures that played a part in, or contributed to, causing the deaths of each of those 96 men, women and children, takes away from, or lessens, the degree to which David Duckenfield grossly failed to discharge his personal responsibility for the safety of deceased.”

The court sat in hushed silence as a clerk took a full five minutes to read out the names of the 95 people represented in the gross negligence manslaughter charge.

Relatives of the deceased watched from the public gallery as the case was heard by a jury of six men and six women.

Sheffield Wednesday’s former club secretary Graham Mackrell is also on trial charged with health and safety breaches.

Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell
Image:
Graham Mackrell denies the two charges against him

The jury was told that he “turned a blind eye” to the conditions of the club’s safety certificate by failing to agree with police the methods of entry to the stadium.

Mackrell denies the two charges against him.

The trial is expected to last for up to four months.

Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending