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Five men to appear in court over Hillsborough disaster

In all, 96 people died as a result of the 1989 tragedy.

Former West Yorkshire and Merseyside chief constable Sir Norman Bettison leaving court in August
Former West Yorkshire and Merseyside chief constable Sir Norman Bettison leaving court in August
Image: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images

FIVE MEN ARE set to appear in court today in connection with the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

Tragedy ensued after fans were ushered into an overcrowded, fenced-in enclosure at the Hillsborough football stadium in Sheffield during a match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup on 15 April 1989.

Former West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison, former police officers Donald Denton and Alan Foster, South Yorkshire Police solicitor Peter Metcalf and former Sheffield Wednesday Football Club secretary Graham Mackrell will appear before Preston Crown Court today.

They are charged with various offences ranging from misconduct in a public office and intent to pervert the course of justice to failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of other people.

At a hearing at Warrington Magistrates’ Court last month, no formal pleas were entered by the defendants, who spoke only to confirm their names, ages and addresses – except Mackrell, who BBC News reported pleaded not guilty to health and safety charges.

Charges

Bettison is charged with four offences of misconduct in public office, relating to alleged lies he told in accounts of his involvement in the disaster afterwards.

Metcalf, Denton and Foster are charged with acting with intent to pervert the course of public justice, relating to material changes made to witness statements.

Mackrell, who was Sheffield Wednesday’s company secretary and safety officer at the time, is charged with two offences of contravening a term of condition of a safety certificate. He is also charged with failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others who may have been affected by his acts or omissions.

David Duckenfield, the police match day commander, faces 95 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence. However, he will not be formally charged until an application to lift a stay imposed after a prosecution in 2000 has been approved by a High Court judge.

The Crown Prosecution Service has said there will be no manslaughter charges over the death of the 96th casualty, Anthony Bland, as he died almost four years later, and under the law in 1989 his death is now “out of time” to be prosecuted.

The CPS announced the decision to press charges against the six suspects in June.

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings. 

Read: The victims of Hillsborough: Who were “The 96″?

Read: Five men – including three ex-police officers – appear in court over Hillsborough disaster

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