Hillsborough disaster police chief going through a 'terrible' time

David Duckenfield

David Duckenfield

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The wife of the man in charge of policing at Hillsborough football stadium on the day of the 1989 disaster said he is going through a 'terrible' time.

Although former chief superintendent David Duckenfield declined to make a comment following the conclusion of the inquests into the deaths of 96 football fans, his wife Ann has now spoken about how his life has been affected.

Mrs Duckenfield accompanied her husband to the inquests held in Warrington as he gave evidence, before the jury concluded that the 96 Liverpool fans had been unlawfully killed.

After being approached by a reporter at their home in Doreset and asked how their lives had been since April 15 1989 when the disaster unfolded during Liverpool's cup tie against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's ground, she said 'terrible."

"t's been terrible, but we just have to get on with it, if it carries on like this we've just got to get on with it, but it's terrible for us too," she added,

When asked about the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into police conduct over Hillsborough, Mrs Duckenfield replied: ''We can't talk about that. We don't know what's going to happen.''

Mr Duckenfield could face criminal proceedings over the deaths and has already been interviewed under criminal caution.

The jurors at the inquests were told by the coroner they could reach the conclusion of unlawful killing only if they were satisfied that Mr Duckenfield owed a duty of care to those who died, that he was in breach of that duty of care, that his breach caused the deaths and that it amounted to 'gross negligence'.

Earlier Mr Duckenfield had been approached by a news crew at San Francisco airport and asked for his 'reaction to things.

Mr Duckenfield said: "At the present time, due to the ongoing criminal inquiries, I'm afraid that I am unable to comment, and I hope you'll excuse me."

Asked if he had a message for the families, he said: "I've said what I've got to say at the moment."

When asked at the inquests if his negligence caused the disaster, he said he would not use that word and instead classed it as an 'oversight'.

The Hillsborough disaster unfolded as thousands of fans were crushed at Sheffield Wednesday's ground.

Mr Duckenfield gave the order to open exit Gate C in Leppings Lane, allowing around 2,000 fans to flood into the already packed central pens behind the goal.

A range of individuals and organisations could face charges over Hillsborough.

Possible offences include gross negligence manslaughter, perverting the course of justice, perjury and misconduct in a public office, according to former director of public prosecutions Ken Macdonald.

No decisions are expected before the end of the year.

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