David Duckenfield to face 95 manslaughter charges over Hillsborough fans’ deaths

David Duckinfield. PIC: PA
David Duckinfield. PIC: PA

THE prosecution of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield can go ahead, a judge has ruled.

Duckenfield, now 73, is being charged with 95 counts of gross negligence manslaughter in relation to the 1989 disaster.

Judge Sir Peter Openshaw agreed to lift a stay of prosecution awarded to Duckenfield in 2000 after a private prosecution was brought by the families of those who lost relatives during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground.

The cases of four other men charged over the disaster will also proceed to trial, Sir Peter ruled at Preston Crown Court today.

Duckenfield will stand trial in September alongside Graham Henry

Mackrell, 68, who was Sheffield Wednesday Football Club’s company secretary and safety officer at the time. He faces a charge of contravening a condition of a safety certificate and one health and safety offence, although the prosecution is not proceeding with a further charge of contravening a condition of a safety certificate.

Peter Metcalf, 68, a retired solicitor who acted for South Yorkshire Police during the earlier Taylor Inquiry and the first inquests, has been charged with doing acts with intent to pervert the course of justice.

He is due to stand trial in January 2019 alongside two retired police officers, former Chief Superintendent Donald Denton, 80, and former Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster, 71, who are also charged with doing acts with intent to pervert the course of justice.

Former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police and Merseyside Police, Sir Norman Bettison, who was a Chief Inspector with South Yorkshire Police in 1989, is charged with misconduct in a public office. A decision over whether his case will proceed to trial has been adjourned until August 21.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans were crushed to death in pens in the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough Stadium as the FA Cup semi-final began. Under the law at the time, there can be no manslaughter prosecution for the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after the injuries were caused.

Press restrictions on reporting the hearing in full have been imposed by Sir Peter.

All five men had attempted to have the prosecutions ‘stayed’, or stopped, on legal grounds but Sir Peter refused all these applications.