Hillsborough inquests jury told to consider role of South Yorkshire Police match commander

Former South Yorkshire Police chief superintendent David Duckenfield.
Former South Yorkshire Police chief superintendent David Duckenfield.
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Jurors at the Hillsborough inquests have been told to consider the actions of South Yorkshire Police’s match commander.

Opening the hearing into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans crushed to death at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium in April 1989, coroner Lord Justice Sir John Goldring said jurors would have to question whether newly-promoted Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield was the right person to be in charge of policing the match.

He said Mr Duckenfield, in the tragedy’s aftermath, told the Football Association Liverpool fans had forced open a gate into the ground, when in fact he had ordered the gate should be opened.

The coroner said Mr Duckenfield had extensive experience in CID, but had never commanded a match at the ground before.

He said: “He certainly didn’t have the wealth of experience as his predecessor, Chief Superintendent Brian Mole. He was promoted on March 27, 1989, and replaced Mr Mole as the officer in charge.

“Whether that was a sensible decision might be something for you to have to consider.”