Fam­i­lies ap­plaud as court se­quel to foot­ball tragedy looms

Marlborough Express - - WORLD -

BRI­TAIN: The fam­i­lies of the Hills­bor­ough vic­tims have hailed the ‘‘be­gin­ning of the end’’ in their 28-year strug­gle for jus­tice, fol­low­ing a de­ci­sion to pros­e­cute the match day po­lice com­man­der over 95 deaths.

Five other peo­ple have also been charged with of­fences sur­round­ing the deaths of Liver­pool fans at Hills­bor­ough sta­dium in 1989.

The vic­tims’ rel­a­tives broke into ap­plause at be­ing told yes­ter­day that former South York­shire Po­lice chief su­per­in­ten­dent David Duck­en­field and re­tired chief con­sta­ble Sir Nor­man Bet­ti­son would be fac­ing crim­i­nal charges. The pros­e­cu­tion against Duck­en­field rep­re­sents one of the largest num­ber of homi­cide vic­tims ever brought be­fore the courts in a sin­gle case.

Two other former se­nior of­fi­cers and South York­shire Po­lice’s lawyer have been charged with per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice, while the Sh­effield Wed­nes­day foot­ball club’s former sec- re­tary has been charged with health and safety of­fences.

The de­ci­sion fol­lows a dogged cam­paign by the Hills­bor­ough fam­i­lies to bring au­thor­i­ties to ac­count for the events lead­ing up to the tragedy on April 15, 1989, and the al­leged coverup af­ter it.

Mar­garet Aspinall, chair­man of the Hills­bor­ough Fam­ily Sup­port Group, said rel­a­tives had suf­fered ‘‘hell on Earth’’ in pur­suit of the truth.

‘‘To me now, this is the be­gin­ning of the end,’’ said Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son, James, died in the tragedy.

‘‘No-one should have to go through what the fam­i­lies have gone through for 28 years to try and get to the truth and to get ac­count­abil­ity.’’

Duck­en­field, 72, who was the of­fi­cer in com­mand on the day of the FA Cup semi­fi­nal be­tween Liver­pool and Not­ting­ham For­est, faces man­slaugh­ter by gross neg­li­gence of 95 ‘‘men, women and chil­dren’’.

The Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice was un­able to charge him with the man­slaugh­ter of the 96th vic­tim, An­thony Bland, on a tech­ni­cal­ity be­cause he died al­most four years later.

Bet­ti­son, 61, who re­tired as chief con­sta­ble of West York­shire Po­lice, has been charged with four of­fences of mis­con­duct in public of­fice for al­legedly ly­ing over his in­volve­ment in the af­ter­math and about the ‘‘cul­pa­bil­ity of fans’’.

Former chief su­per­in­ten­dent Don­ald Den­ton and ex-de­tec­tive chief in­spec­tor Alan Foster have been charged with in­tent to per­vert the course of jus­tice. So too has Peter Met­calf, who was the so­lic­i­tor act­ing for South York­shire Po­lice at the pre­vi­ous in­quiry and the first in­quests.

Trevor Hicks, who lost daugh­ters Sarah and Vicki, said: ‘‘This is a suc­cess for so­ci­ety at large, not just for us. There will be six peo­ple fac­ing crim­i­nal charges who might not have done if we hadn’t have been re­silient and all stuck to­gether and fought this long fight.’’ – Tele­graph Group

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.