Hillsborough verdict: David Duckenfield cleared of manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans
Duckenfield, a retired chief superintendent, 75, denied the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool supporters at the FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989
Ninety-six men, women and children died following the crush on the terrace but, under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of the 96th victim Tony Bland as he died more than a year and a day after the disaster.
Christine Burke tearfully spoke from the gallery after the verdict was delivered and said that the 96 were unlawfully killed and she wants to know who is responsible, reports the Liverpool Echo.
Christine, whose father Henry Burke was killed in the disaster, addressed the judge after the verdict was read out.
“With all due respect, my lord, 96 people were found unlawfully killed to a criminal standard,” she said.
“I would like to know who is responsible for my father’s death because someone is.”
About 45 family members watched the verdict from the Cunard building in Liverpool, where the trial was screened.
There were shouts in the room as the verdict was announced.
One family member shouted: “Stitched up again.”
Other family members were in tears.
Last year it was confirmed no-one else would face prosecution for the unlawful killing of 96 men, women and children.
After the verdict a CPS statement said that the decision of the jury does not affect the findings in the inquest which ruled the victims of the tragedy were unlawfully killed.
At a press conference Margaret Aspinall, the chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: “I am ashamed of the system in this country that is not holding anyone responsible for the deaths of 96 people.”
The prosecution in the case alleged Duckenfield, 75, had a “personal responsibility” for what happened at the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
David Duckenfield ‘hid behind cowardly lie’ Liverpool Echo
The Liverpool Echo reporter Joe Thomas who has covered David Duckenfield’s retrial has written a strong condemnation of the retired chief superintendent even though he has been acquitted of gross negligence manslaughter. LINK
The Hillsborough match commander was cleared of gross negligence manslaughter. But his acquittal does not undo his shameful lie. David Duckenfield is not a criminal,a jury has decided. And it is not his fault those who deserved to face the same scrutiny he did will never be held accountable for the deaths of the 96. But while his acquittal means he did not fail to a criminal standard, it does not mean he did not fail at all. Nor does it mask the fact he lied. from Joe Thomas, Liverpool Echo
‘Who is accountable for 96 deaths?’
The chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group has demanded to know who is accountable for the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at Hillsborough.
Speaking at a press conference at the Cunard building in Liverpool, Margaret Aspinall, whose son James died in the 1989 tragedy, said: “I’m so angry.
“I blame a system that’s so morally wrong within this country, that’s a disgrace to this nation.
“Who is responsible for putting 96 people in their graves?”
She added: “The families have gone through hell… please God give them some peace.”
There’s something wrong with the system’ – Jenni Hicks
Jenni Hicks, the mother of of two sisters who died in the Hillsborough disaster, said she was “very disappointed” with the verdict.
Quote Message: “What the country needs to remember is that this shouldn’t take away the unlawfully killed verdict that we had in the 2016 inquests, which is basically gross negligence manslaughter to a criminal standard and yet when you take it to a criminal court it doesn’t stand up, so it is very confusing.
What the country needs to remember is that this shouldn’t take away the unlawfully killed verdict that we had in the 2016 inquests, which is basically gross negligence manslaughter to a criminal standard and yet when you take it to a criminal court it doesn’t stand up, so it is very confusing.”
Quote Message: “And we’ve now got to live with knowing that all of our loved ones were unlawfully killed – who is accountable for the deaths then?
And we’ve now got to live with knowing that all of our loved ones were unlawfully killed – who is accountable for the deaths then?”
There’s got to be something wrong with the system, it is totally wrong.
Hillsborough tragedy: Why you still need to be careful online
Liverpool FC urges fans to exercise caution on social media
Liverpool Football club has tweeted to remind fans to exercise caution and restraint when posting on social media.
As a reminder, please refrain from any commentary that could prejudice any future legal proceedings in relation to the Hillsborough disaster. pic.twitter.com/CKJyPJLsb5
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 28, 2019
A trial focused on the aftermath of the disaster is scheduled to take place next year
The trial of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield concluded today, with the 75-year-old found not guilty of the manslaughter of Liverpool supporters killed in the disaster.
The result will understandably spark emotion and no doubt some of that will spill online.
And with this case now over, there are no jurors who could be influenced by anything they read or hear.
This means there is more freedom to make comments specifically related to the former chief superintendent and his seven week trial.
Yet you must still take care if you want to express your thoughts more generally on social media.
This is because a separate trial is due to begin in April.
Three suspects face allegations linked to what happened in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.
So if you are commenting after today’s verdicts it is best to stick to what happened before April 15, 1989 and on the day of the tragedy – the topics which fell under scrutiny in the trial and retrial of Duckenfield this year.
Those due to appear in court next year include the former Chief Superintendent Donald Denton and ex-Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster.
Both worked for South Yorkshire Police and are charged with perverting the course of public justice.
The allegations are linked to changes made to witness statements following the disaster.
Peter Metcalf, the solicitor who acted for South Yorkshire Police during the Taylor Inquiry and the first inquests into the disaster, faces the same accusation.