Hillsborough tragedy: Chief to face retrial

Former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, the match commander at the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, will face retrial on a charge of gross negligence manslaughter.

Duckenfield, 74, had denied the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semifinal against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989. A 96th victim, Tony Bland, died more than a year after the disaster and under the law at the time, no prosecution can be brought.

After a 10-week trial at Preston Crown Court ended last April, a jury of six men and six women were told by Judge Sir Peter Openshaw they could return a majority verdict of at least 10-2, after they were unable to return a unanimous decision before being discharged.

The jury failed to reach a verdict and the retrial will begin on Oct. 7.

The court had heard that Duckenfield, then with South Yorkshire Police, ordered the opening of the exit gates to the ground after crowds had built outside. A fatal crush then occurred after more than 2,000 supporters entered Hillsborough. Many supporters tried to make their way to a central pen at the ground via a tunnel.

Ex-Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, who denied a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act at the original trial, was found guilty of the charge of breaching his safety duty regarding the allocation of seven turnstiles used by Liverpool fans.

Mackrell was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay £5,000 towards the prosecution costs. He is the first person to be convicted of an offence relating to the 1989 tragedy.