More criminal charges possible over Hillsborough disaster deaths

New charges could be brought against three former South Yorkshire Police officers in relation to the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 football fans lost their lives.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 10:07
David Duckenfield is facing criminal charges in relation to the Hillsborough Disaster

The Independent Office for Police Conduct - formerly the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating the alleged cover up in the aftermath of the 1989 disaster is to make an announcement in the next few weeks.

The team has been conducting an 'evidence review' relating to three former South Yorkshire Police officers who are suspects but have not been previously referred to the CPS.

The Hillsborough Disaster unfolding in 1989

The review will include whether or not the case should be referred to the CPS so criminal charges can be considered.

The IOPC said today the CPS review of a West Midlands Police file relating to two further suspects was nearing completion, too.

The CPS expects to announce charging decisions relating to these individuals within the next three weeks.

A spokesman for the IOPC said: "We referred around 61,000 pages of evidence to the CPS in January 2017.

The Hillsborough Disaster unfolding in 1989

Further investigative work was required on the file, resulting in an additional 12,000 pages of evidence being submitted at the end of May 2017.

As a result, it was not possible for the CPS to make charging decisions on the WMP matters at the same time as those announced in June last year.

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"Since then extensive work has been ongoing to review this evidence.

And next week the match commander on the day Chief Supt David Duckenfield will appear before a high court judge in Preston who will decide whether or not to proceed with a criminal trial against him.

Duckenfield and five other defendants have applied to block any prosecution against them as an "abuse of process" on the grounds of delay and prejudicial publicity.

He faces 95 charges of gross negligence manslaughter following the 1989 football disaster.

Duckenfield cannot be prosecuted until a stay on any further prosecution is lifted in the High Court.

He would go on trial alongside Graham Mackrell, 67, the former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary, who faces health and safety and sports ground safety offences.

Three other defendants - retired police officers Donald Denton, 79, and Alan Foster, 70 and retired force solicitor Peter Metcalf, 67, who acted for South Yorkshire Police following the 1989 disaster - are scheduled to go on trial in January 2019 and to last for up to four months.

They face charges of perverting the course of justice relating to changes to the witness statements given by police officers.

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.

Their deaths were ruled unlawful in 2016 following a second inquest in Warrington after years of campaigning by their families.