South Yorkshire Police chief describes Hillsborough disaster as 'appalling tragedy'

South Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable has described the Hillsborough disaster as an 'appalling tragedy'.

Wednesday, 28th June 2017, 1:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:45 am
The Hillsborough disaster

Chf Con Stephen Watson issued a statement after the Crown Prosecution Service announced that six individuals - including four former police officers and a force lawyer - are to be prosecuted over the deaths of 96 fans at Hillsborough football stadium in 1989.

Former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, match commander on the day of the disaster, has been charged with manslaughter by gross negligence.

Sir Norman Bettison, a former chief inspector and superintendent with South Yorkshire Police and subsequent Chief Constable of Merseyside and West Yorkshire Police, is charged with four counts of misconduct in public office relating to alleged lies about his involvement in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster and the culpability of Liverpool fans.

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Former Chief Superintendent Donald Denton, and former Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster are charged with perverting the course of justice over their alleged involvement in the amendment process of statements in the aftermath of the disaster.

Peter Metcalf, the solicitor acting for South Yorkshire Police in 1989, is charged with perverting the course of justice over alleged changes to police officers' statements.

Sheffield Wednesday Football Club Secretary at the time, Graham Mackrell, is charged with contravention of terms of the Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1975.

Chf Con Watson said: “Decisions concerning the bringing of criminal charges are rightly for the CPS.

"Given that criminal proceedings are now active, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further for fear of jeopardising this important process in any way. In all of this however, our thoughts are with the Hillsborough families as we reflect on the appalling tragedy that is Hillsborough with the loss of so many innocent lives."