David Duckenfield says ‘buck stops with me’ over Hillsborough disaster

Former chief superintendent David Duckenfield arrives at the Hillsborough Inquest in Warrington
Former chief superintendent David Duckenfield arrives at the Hillsborough Inquest in Warrington
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The match commander in charge on the day of the Hillsborough disaster has said ‘the buck stops with me’.

Giving evidence this morning to the new inquests for a fifth day, David Duckenfield initially confirmed his view that ‘supporters and others played a part in this disaster’.

But he denied he was trying to ‘offload the responsibility’, including to junior officers who Mr Duckenfield had previously suggested should have monitored the pens and the closing of a tunnel.

Pete Weatherby, representing 22 of the victims’ families, asked: “In essence, what you are saying is that, as match commander, you had to accept that your serious failures on that day make you responsible, but you are then trying to offload the responsibility onto all sorts of others, aren’t you?”

Mr Duckenfield said this was not the case.

He said: “The buck stops with me. I was looking to those people to provide assistance.”

Mr Weatherby said ‘although you accepted some responsibility, we have also had the book of excuses’.

He added: “You’re minimising your responsibility, you are making expressions of sorrow and regret, you are offloading onto other people.”

Mr Duckenfield said this was not the case.

He accepted responsibility concerning the lack of provision in the operational order for monitoring pens or closing the tunnel.

Under questioning, Mr Duckenfield also agreed that he was responsible for the overall safety of the public with respect to the match and buck stopped with him in relation to the entrance arrangements to the ground.

He said he had to sign the operational order.

Mr Duckenfield said: “I was given assurances that it was an excellent system and I signed the order.”

Mr Weatherby said: “As the senior manager on that day, assurances weren’t enough were they? It was your job to make sure that others had done their job properly, and it was your job to check carefully that those arrangements were effective and appropriate and proper.”

The hearings continue.