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Hillsborough Disaster Commander Cleared of Manslaughter After Decades

Police commander David Duckenfield of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster was cleared of gross negligence manslaughter.

AFP

Updated:November 28, 2019, 10:38 PM IST
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Hillsborough Disaster Commander Cleared of Manslaughter After Decades
David Duckenfield was cleared of manslaughter (Photo Credit: Reuters)

London: David Duckenfield, the police commander at the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, was found not guilty on Thursday of the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans who were crushed to death.

The families of the victims fought a decades-long campaign to see Duckenfield prosecuted over the 1989 disaster, which was Britain's worst sporting tragedy with an eventual death toll of 96.

But the 75-year-old former officer was cleared by a jury following a six-week trial at Preston Crown Court in northwest England.

Gasps were heard from the public gallery as the jury foreman returned the verdict.

Football - Liverpool v Nottingham Forest 88/89 - FA Cup Semi Final - Hillsborough - 15/4/89 General view as the disaster unfolds Mandatory Credit: Action Images Photo: Reuters

The tragedy happened on April 15, 1989 at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, held at the neutral venue of Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground.

The 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death on the standing terrace at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium.

Under the law at the time, Duckenfield was not charged over the death of one victim who died more than a year and a day after the disaster.

A coroners inquest found in 2016 that the victims were unlawfully killed, after hearing two years of evidence.

Jurors concluded that policing decisions "caused or contributed" to the deaths, and amounted to "gross negligence".

Christine Burke, the daughter of Henry Burke who was killed in the tragedy, stood in the public gallery and addressed the judge after Thursday's verdict.

She questioned how the inquest jury could have reached a different decision.

"I would like to know who is responsible for my father's death because someone is," she told the judge.

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