The Crown Prosecution Service has charged six people including two former senior police officers with multiple criminal offences relating to the deaths of 96 people in the Hillsborough disaster, a significant landmark in the 28-year campaign for accountability sought by the families of the victims.
Sue Hemming, the Crown Prosecution Service head of special crime and counter-terrorism division, 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 match commander, David Duckenfield, who was overseeing the policing at the match, has been charged with manslaughter of 95 people, with the 96th victim dying four years later after his life support was switched off.
Sir Norman Bettison, the former chief constable of Merseyside and West Yorkshire, who was an inspector in the South Yorkshire police at the time the disaster occurred, has been charged with misconduct in public office over allegations that South Yorkshire police tried to shift blame on to fans.
Ms. Hemming stated Mr. Bettison allegedly told lies about his involvement in the disaster. “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,” she said.
Peter Metcalfe, a solicitor who represented South Yorkshire police in the wake of the disaster, has been charged with perverting the course of justice by allegedly altering and deleting accounts made by police officers for an inquiry made in the disaster.
Donald Denton, a former chief superintendent and Alan Foster, a former chief inspector, have also been charged with perverting the course of justice.
Mr Denton allegedly oversaw the process of amending the statements while Mr Foster is accused of being “central to the process of changing the statements and took action to do so”.
Graham Mackrell, the secretary and safety officer at Sheffield Wednesday at the time of the disaster, has been charged with two counts of contravening the terms of the stadium’s safety certificate and breaching health and safety law.
Families of victims were informed of the charges by Ms Hemmings in Warrington close to the venue of the two-year inquests, the longest jury case in British legal history.