Hillsborough Match Commander David Duckenfield Will Face Retrial


Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield will face a retrial over the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans, after a jury failed to reach a verdict.

The retrial will begin on October 7 at Preston Crown Court and last around four weeks.

About 10 family members were in Preston Crown Court on Tuesday morning as judge Sir Peter Openshaw made his ruling, which followed a hearing on Monday.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) sought a retrial after a jury was discharged in April following a 10-week trial.

Court was adjourned until later on Tuesday for legal discussions.

In April, jurors at Preston Crown Court found former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell guilty of failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act by a majority of 10 to two, but failed to reach a verdict on Duckenfield after 29 hours and six minutes of deliberations.

Graham Mackrell, who stood trial alongside Duckenfield, was found guilty of failing to take “reasonable care” of Liverpool supporters with terrace tickets for the match.

At the time, the 69-year-old was the club secretary and safety officer at Sheffield Wednesday, the club that oversaw Hillsborough.

Mackrell, the only person to be found guilty of any wrongdoing in relation to the tragedy, was fined £6,500 for the health and safety breach and ordered to pay £5,000 towards prosecution costs.

Under the law at the time he was not charged over the death of the 96th victim Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after the disaster.

Mackrell, 69, who was safety officer for the club at the time, was accused of failing to take reasonable care particularly in respect of ensuring there were enough turnstiles to prevent unduly large crowds building up.

The court heard there were seven turnstiles for the 10,100 Liverpool fans with standing tickets.

Mackrell did not give evidence but Jason Beer QC, defending him, argued the build up outside was caused by other factors, including a lack of police cordons and the unusual arrival pattern of fans.

Judge Openshaw, who presided over the trial, told the court before sentencing that if Mackrell had been sentenced according to today’s laws, the maximum penalty he would have faced would have been two years imprisonment.

However, his sentencing options were limited to those available in 1989 which were to give a fine.

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