Hillsborough jury fails to reach Duckenfield verdict

Prosecutors will seek a retrial of David Duckenfield after a jury did not reach a verdict on charges of gross negligence manslaughter.

Published : Apr 03, 2019 22:22 IST

The jury in the trial of David Duckenfield, the match commander at Hillsborough on the day of the 1989 disaster, has failed to reach a verdict.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will seek a retrial of the 74-year-old retired chief superintended for South Yorkshire Police, who was charged with the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans who died as a result of a crush in the Leppings Lane stand.

Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell was found guilty on Wednesday of a charge relating to health and safety at the ground.

Sue Hemming, director of legal services for the CPS, said in a statement: "This trial, which relates to events from almost 30 years ago, has been incredibly complex and, after lengthy deliberations, the jury has found Graham Mackrell guilty but has been unable to reach a verdict in respect of David Duckenfield.

"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."

The judge at Preston Crown Court informed jurors on Monday that he would accept a majority verdict but stressed he would need to be informed if there was no possibility of an agreement.

Following the conclusion of proceedings, Liverpool issued a statement underlining the club's admiration for Hillsborough campaigners, empathising with frustrations that the outcome was "not definitive".

"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," the statement read.

"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."

Liverpool's statement concluded: "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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