Five in court over Hillsborough disaster


Five men are due in court today over the Hillsborough disaster and its aftermath.

Former South Yorkshire Police officers Sir Norman Bettison, 61; Donald Denton, 79 and Alan Foster, 70, are due at Preston Crown Court along with former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, 67 and solicitor Peter Metcalf, 67, who acted for South Yorkshire Police following the 1989 disaster.

Bettison, who was a chief inspector in South Yorkshire Police at the time of the tragedy, is charged with four offences of misconduct in a public office over alleged lies in accounts of his involvement in the disaster.

Mackrell, who was the safety officer for the football club, is charged with two offences involving the stadium safety certificate and a health and safety offence.

Denton, Foster and Metcalf are each charged with two offences of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice relating to amendments made to police officers' statements following the tragedy.

Match commander David Duckenfield, 72, faces 95 counts of gross negligence manslaughter but has not yet been formally charged.

Today's hearing for the other five is expected to deal largely with administrative and procedural matters ahead of a trial or trials at a later date.

The case was sent to Preston Crown Court after all five made their first court appearance at Warrington Magistrates' Court last month.

At that hearing no formal pleas were entered but during proceedings the court was told through lawyers for the defendants all five indicate they will be pleading not guilty when the charges are put to them at crown court.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans were crushed to death in pens at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough Stadium on April 15 1989, as their FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest began.

All the defendants are on bail.