Liverpool release official club statement on Hillsborough verdict

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Today saw the conclusion of the Hillsborough legal trial of David Duckenfield, the South Yorkshire Police match commander on the day of the disaster and former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary and safety officer Graham Mackrell at Preston Crown Court.

On Monday 25th March 2019, the jury began their deliberations after a two-month trial.

Their conclusions were returned this afternoon and they were unable to reach a verdict on charge of manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 men, women and children at Hillsborough by David Duckenfield.

Duckenfield was not charged with the manslaughter of Tony Bland due to the stipulations of the law in 1989.

Mackrell was, however, found guilty of the charge of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by neglecting to provide enough turnstiles for the the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15th 1989.

Sue Hemming, Director of Legal Services at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “We have discussed the matter carefully with counsel and I can confirm the CPS will seek a retrial against Mr Duckenfield for manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 men, women and children.

“I recognise that these developments will be difficult for the families affected by the Hillsborough disaster. We have remained in regular contact with them throughout these proceedings, and spoke with those present in Preston and Liverpool before informing the court of our decision. We will meet with them shortly to answer any questions they have about the process.

“May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings are ongoing and of the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”

Former South Yorkshire Police Chief Superintendent Donald Denton, former SYP Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster, and the force’s then-solicitor Peter Metcalf will also stand trial on criminal charges in relation to perverting the course of justice later this year.

The club statement in full:

“Liverpool Football Club would like to reiterate our support and admiration for the Hillsborough families, survivors and campaigners in light of today’s verdicts at Preston Crown Court.

“While forthcoming legal proceedings restrict comment on the outcome of the trial, we acknowledge the guilty verdict for Graham Mackrell and can empathise with the frustration shared by everyone affected by the Hillsborough tragedy that the outcome was not definitive.

“The continuing journey that has brought the families and survivors to today has resulted in a number of inquiries into the events of April 15, 1989 including the Taylor Report, the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report and in 2016 the Hillsborough Inquest.

“It is clear the conclusions reached by these reports remain, including the established fact that the behaviour of Liverpool supporters at Hillsborough was not a contributory factor in the disaster. They were wholly exonerated.

“Furthermore, the journey not only to reach today’s stage and continue, is testament to the perseverance and determination of all involved in the ongoing campaign for justice which is now into its 30th year.

Our thoughts are with all those who continue to be affected by the Hillsborough tragedy and the 96 Liverpool supporters who went to watch their team and never came home.”

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