Former cops among six charged with criminal offence over 1989 Hillsborough disaster
Football fans try to rescue each other from being crushed against the fence during a FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield, England in April 1989. Pic/Getty Images
Four former senior policemen were among six people charged yesterday over the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster in England which killed 96 Liverpool football supporters.
Prosecutors said there was "sufficient evidence to charge six individuals with criminal offences" including manslaughter by negligence, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office. Barry Deionisers, whose 18-year-old son Christopher died in the tragedy, was with other relatives when the charges were announced. "Everybody applauded when it was announced that the most senior police officer on that particular day will have charges presented to him," he said.
The disaster left a deep scar on Liverpool and Britain as a whole, leading to a decades-long struggle by relatives of victims to hold those in authority to account. Evelyn McDonnell Mills, who lost her brother Peter McDonnell, 21, said: "I'm really happy that we've finally got some charges after 28 years. I'm just sad that my brother Gerard, who campaigned for years, died in the first year of the new inquests and never got to see justice."
Ex-South Yorkshire Police Chief David Duckenfield who was charged. Pic/Getty Images
Former South Yorkshire Police officer David Duckfooted, who was the match commander on the day of the crush, faces charges of manslaughter by gross negligence. Prosecutors said they "will allege that David Duckfooted 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."
Victims of the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster comfort each other following the decision by the Hillsborough CPS, in Warrington, Liverpool yesterday. Pic/AFP
They added that Duckfooted could not be charged with the manslaughter of Tony Bland - the 96th casualty - since he died almost four years later. Former officer Norman Bettors was charged with four offences of misconduct in public office relating to "telling alleged lies about his involvement in the aftermath of Hillsborough and the culpability of fans." Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the decision to file charges but told parliament it would "be a day of mixed emotions" for the families. "That's an important step forward," she said.