CPS statement on Hillsborough verdict

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David Duckenfield, the police commander in charge of safety during the Hillsborough stadium disaster, has today been found not guilty of gross negligence manslaughter after a retrial at Preston Crown Court.

Sue Hemming, CPS Director of Legal Services, said: “The disaster at Hillsborough 30 years ago has caused unimaginable suffering to the families of those who sadly lost their lives and to everybody affected by the tragic events of that day. They were let down with the most catastrophic consequences imaginable. I know how important these proceedings have been to everyone, even though they came far too late.

“The events of 15 April 1989 have been considered on a number of occasions, including at the second inquest concluding in 2016. It is important to remember that criminal proceedings have a very different purpose to an inquest. The not guilty verdict today does not affect or alter the inquest jury’s findings of unlawful killing or their conclusion that Liverpool fans were in no way responsible for the 96 deaths that resulted.

“It was vitally important that the facts and accounts of what happened leading up to that terrible day were heard in a criminal court and the outcome determined by a jury. This was a complex and harrowing case and presenting evidence about events of 30 years ago has not been straightforward.

“We are acutely aware of how disappointing the verdict is for families who have waited anxiously for today, however we respect the decision of the jury. We have remained in regular contact with families throughout the trial and, as we have done at all key stages of these investigations, we will meet with them again to answer any questions they may have.

“On behalf of the team, I would like to commend the ongoing bravery and dignity that the families have shown throughout these two trials and we extend our thanks and admiration to those who courageously gave heartfelt accounts of some of the darkest hours of their lives.”

Notes to editors

  • David Duckenfield (DOB: 30/08/1944) was cleared of one count of manslaughter against 95 people at Preston Crown Court. In April, a previous jury was discharged after failing to reach a verdict.
  • The 96th victim, Tony Bland, could not be included on the indictment due to the passage of time between his death and the disaster.

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