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Retired police chief to face trial over HiIlsborough disaster

Football fans died in a crash at Hillsborough in 1989
Football fans died in a crash at Hillsborough in 1989

A retired police chief is to stand trial over the Hillsborough disaster, it has been announced today.

Former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, who was in charge of policing an FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough football stadium when fans were crushed to death on the terraces, will face trial for the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 football supporters.

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A judge at Preston Crown Court has lifted an historical stay on his prosecution, which was imposed in 2000 to prevent any further legal proceedings against the former police chief at the end of a private prosecution brought by the families of those who died at the match.

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A total of 96 fans died altogether following the crush in the terrace pens of the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday's stadium at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15, 1989.

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Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution over the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.

Duckenfield will stand trial alongside Graham Mackrell, 68 - the former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary - who is charged with two offences involving the stadium's safety certificate and a health and safety offence.

Three other defendants - retired police officers Donald Denton, 80, and Alan Foster, 71, and retired solicitor Peter Metcalf, 68, who acted for South Yorkshire Police following the 1989 disaster - are scheduled to go on trial in January 2019.

They 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.

Ex-chief constable of Merseyside Police and West Yorkshire Police, Sir Norman Bettison, 62, faces trial in May 2019.

He was a chief inspector at South Yorkshire Police in 1989 and is charged with four counts of misconduct in a public office over alleged lies in accounts he gave afterwards of his involvement in the disaster.