Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 Liverpool supporters.
The former chief superintendent appeared via videolink at Preston Crown Court on Monday morning. The 74-year-old is expected go on trial next January after a stay on prosecution was lifted in July.
The names of the 95 men, women and children he is charged with unlawfully killing were read out in court as the charge was put to him. They died following the crush in the terrace pens of the Sheffield Wednesday stadium’s Leppings Lane end at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15.
He gave the order to open exit Gate C in Leppings Lane, allowing around 2,000 fans to flood into the already packed stand.
Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell pleaded not guilty to one charge of contravening a term or condition of the stadium’s safety certificate and one health and safety offence.
Around 15 family members of victims were in the public gallery.
Three other defendants – retired police officers Donald Denton, 80, and Alan Foster, 71, and retired solicitor Peter Metcalf, 68, who acted for South Yorkshire Police following the 1989 disaster – are scheduled to go on trial in January 2019 charged with doing acts intended to pervert the course of justice.
Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.