Hillsborough game commander to face trial early next year
THE match commander who oversaw the Hillsborough disaster will face trial, accused of 95 charges of manslaughter by gross negligence.
A high court judge lifted a legal restriction on David Duckenfield, 73, being charged, meaning that he can now face trial.
Five people from Halton were killed during the FA Cup semi-final clash between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the disaster on April 15, 1989.
Father and son Tommy Howard, 39, and Tommy Howard junior, 14, Kevin Tyrrell, 15, and Adam Spearritt, 14, were all from Runcorn and lost their lives on that tragic afternoon.
Peter Thompson, 30, from Widnes, was the other Halton fatality.
A historical ‘stay’ was put in place in 2000 after a private prosecution failed to reach a verdict.
But High Court judge Sir Peter Openshaw lifted the stay at Preston Crown Court on Friday, June 29, paving the way for Duckenfield to go on trial in January.
He will only stand trial for 95 counts of manslaughter as the 96th victim of the tragedy, Tony Bland, died beyond a year and a day after he was injured.
Four other defendants are also set to stand trial for their part in the disaster.
Graham Mackrell, 68, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club’s secretary at the time, will face two charges, one regarding the stadium’s safety certificate and the other an alleged health and safety offence.
The three other defendants are former police officers Donald Denton, 80, and Alan Foster, 71, and Peter Metcalf, 68, a retired solicitor who acted for South Yorkshire Police following the disaster.
The three will each face two charges of committing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice relating to alleged amendments made to police officers’ statements in the aftermath.
Their trial is expected to take place in January.