UK

Hillsborough Disaster Investigation: These Are The Six Charged

The group, apart from Duckenfield, will all appear at Warrington Magistrates’ Court in August.

28/06/2017 12:17 BST | Updated 28/06/2017 13:12 BST

The six people charged over the Hillsborough disaster include the Match Commander for South Yorkshire Police and a lawyer who helped the force in the aftermath of the tragedy that resulted in 96 deaths. 

Operation Resolve, which investigated the causes of the 1989 disaster, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) passed files of evidence relating to 23 suspects, including individuals and organisations, to the Crown Prosecution Service earlier this year.

Andrew Yates / Reuters
Former Chief Superintendent of South Yorkshire Police David Duckenfield has been charged with manslaughter

Of these, 15 suspects related to Operation Resolve’s investigation into the causes of the disaster. A further eight individuals related to the IPCC’s independent investigation into both South Yorkshire Police and West Midlands Police and the alleged cover-up of the disaster.

On Wednesday, shortly before midday, the CPS announced six people had been charged. 

David Duckenfield

David Duckenfield, who was the Match Commander for South Yorkshire Police on the day of the disaster, has been charged with the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 of the 96 disaster victims, the Crown Prosecution Service said. 

The 72-year-old cannot be charged with the manslaughter of Anthony Bland, the 96th casualty of the disaster, because he died four years after the tragedy.

Duckenfield admitted during the new inquests that his failure to close a tunnel was the “direct cause” of the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans and accepted he “froze” as the disaster unfolded, MailOnline reported. 

The CPS said: “We will allege that David 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.

“The offence clearly sets out the basis of those allegations. We are unable to charge the manslaughter of Anthony Bland, the 96th casualty, as he died almost four years later.

“The law as it applied then provided that no person could be guilty of homicide where the death occurred more than a year and a day later than the date when the injuries were caused. In order to prosecute this matter, the CPS will need to successfully apply to remove the stay imposed by a senior judge (now retired) at the end of the 1999 private prosecution when David Duckenfield was prosecuted for two counts of manslaughter by gross negligence previously.

“We will be applying to a High Court Judge to lift the stay and order that the case can proceed on a voluntary bill of indictment.”

Sir Norman Bettison

Sir Norman is accused of four counts of miscount in public office and was accused of spreading “black propaganda” to move the blame away from police and on to supporters in the wake of the tragedy. 

PA
Sir Norman Bettison has been charged with perverting the course of justice

Sir Norman, who was knighted in 2006, was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police at the time of the 1989 tragedy and within three years rose to chief constable.

He was accused of being part of a squad of police who tried to blame “drunken” fans for the 96 deaths.

In 2012 a report accused Sir Norman of being at the centre of a cover-up - and he then said he stood by his belief that fans’ behaviour made the job of police harder.

Sir Norman later denied being part of a cover-up and admitted his comments were “Ill-thought through”. 

CPS head of special crime, Sue Hemming states: “Given his role as a senior police officer, we will ask the jury to find that this was misconduct of such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder.”

Alan Foster And Donald Denton

Donald Denton, the former Chief Superintendent with South Yorkshire Police has been charged with doing acts with intent to pervert the course of justice along with Former Detective Chief Inspector, Alan Foster.

The CPS said of the decision to charge the two former officers. 

“It is alleged that Donald Denton oversaw the process of amending the statements and in doing so, he did acts that had a tendency to pervert the course of public justice and we will say that Alan Foster was central to the process of changing the statements and took action to do so.” 

Peter Metcalf 

Peter Metcalf, the solicitor acting for the South Yorkshire Police during the Taylor Inquiry and the first inquests was also charged with with doing acts with intent to pervert the course of public justice relating to material changes made to witness statements.

Metcalf, an experienced solicitor, was instructed by Municipal Mutual Insurance to represent the interests of the force at the Taylor Inquiry (a report into the disaster by Lord Justice Taylor) and in any civil litigation that might result from the Hillsborough Disaster.

THe CPS claim Metcalf reviewed the accounts provided by the officers and made suggestions for alterations, deletions and amendments which “we allege were directly relevant to the Salmon letter issued by the Taylor Inquiry and for which there appears to be no justification”.

Graham Mackrell

Former Sheffield Wednesday secretary Graham Mackrell is charged with three offences relating to health and safety at sports grounds. 

Mackrell is charged with two offences of contravening a term of condition of a safety certificate contrary to the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and one offence of failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of other persons who may have been affected by his acts or omissions at work under the Health and Safety at Work etc. 

Act 1974. These offences relate to alleged failures to carry out his duties as required.  

The defendants, other than Duckenfield, will appear at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on 9 August 2017. The police need to apply to the High Court to remove a stay, in place since 1995, to take him to court. 

No organisation will face corporate charges. No-one from the ambulance service will face charges, CPS chief Sue Hemming revealed earlier.

Read the full CPS decision here