The & # 39; extraordinarily bad & # 39; mistakes made by Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield have contributed significantly & # 39; to the death of 95 Liverpool fans who died in the disaster in 1989, a court heard today.
The retired policeman, 74, did not attempt & # 39; to check if the lofts with trailers were overcrowded and could not act fast enough as the worst football stadium disaster occurred in history, a jury said when his court case started today.
And he demanded that his officers open an exit gate to relieve the crush at the turnstiles – so that more fans were sent to two already dangerously densely packed terraces, it is claimed.
Duckenfield is in the dock of Preston Crown Court and accuses the gross negligence of 95 of the Liverpool fans who were killed in the disaster in 1989 – but not the 96th victim Tony Bland, 22, because he died four years later.
Prosecutor QC Richard Matthews said today: "David Duckenfield is guilty of the very serious crime of the manslaughter of each of those who died that day & # 39 ;.
He added that Duckenfield, who was in charge of supervising the stadium, had made mistakes after an error that led to the pressure of crushing in lofts causing the fatal injuries to anyone whose life was lost. 39 ;.
David Duckenfield, 74, pictured today at Preston Crown Court along with the former Secretary of the Sheffield Wednesday Graham Mackrell club, 69, (today correct), when their start of the Hillsborough trial began this afternoon
Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield (left) and old Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell (right) yesterday sketched in the dock
Relatives of the victims of the disaster including Jenni Hicks (middle left), whose daughters Vicki, 15 and Sarah, 19, were among 96 Liverpool fans who died
Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, 69, is also with Preston accused of health and safety offenses and today accused of "relinquishing responsibility for ground safety."
Why is David Duckenfield being prosecuted for 95 deaths and not 96?
David Duckenfield is accused of causing 95 of the 96 deaths among the people at Hillsborough in Sheffield in April 1989.
The law at that time means that no one will ever be prosecuted for the death of the 96th victim.
Tony Bland, 22, (photo) was crushed during the FA Cup Semi-Final between his beloved Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
But he survived four years because of life support.
Because he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused, the CPS could not sue Duckenfield with his manslaughter.
In a statement, his family said last year: "Although we are greatly disappointed with the exclusion of Tony from the charge of manslaughter against [match commander] David Duckenfield by the CPS, our relief for the families of the other 95 men, women and children outweigh our personal frustrations.
& # 39; We will continue to support the other families on the journey for accountability. & # 39;
The tragic death of Mr. Bland was also part of a test case decision that first allowed physicians to decide whether patients would die, as the Law Lords had done in 1993.
They said that the 22-year-old supporter of Liverpool, who had suffered brain damage in the crush at the Hillsborough football stadium, would have to die.
Doctors who treated Mr. Bland, who was in a persistent vegetative state, had to go to court to request permission before stopping artificial feeding.
The characteristic Bland ruling stated that artificial nutrition and hydration per tube is not a normal diet, but a medical treatment.
Mr. Matthews added that Mackrell committed a criminal offense when he & # 39; cut an eye & # 39; on Sheffield Wednesday & # 39; s duty & # 39; to agree on a plan with the police that fans could turn around safe curves – and without huge crowds – for the FA Cup's tragic semi-final.
Ninety-six men, women and children died after the crush in pens at the Leppings Lane end of the Sheffield Wednesday ground on the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest 29 years ago.
Under the then legislation, there can be no prosecution for the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, 22, because he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.
Today, a jury was sworn for the four-month trial period that is expected to last until May – with a break in mid-April for commemorations on the occasion of the 30th anniversary.
When he opened the case, Richard Matthews told QC, who went on, that the youngest of the 96 victims of the disaster had been the 10-year-old Jon-Paul Gilhooley.
He said that 94 of the 96 succumbed to their fatal injuries on April 15, 1989, while 14-year-old Lee Nicol died two days later and Tony Bland & # 39; terrible brain damage & # 39; and was in a permanent vegetative state until March 1993. passed away.
He said: "Each of the 96 was a supporter of Liverpool FC who had traveled to Sheffield to enjoy the semi-final between the Liverpool Cup and Nottingham Forest; each was a person who was part of what the expected 50,000 spectators were, whose attendance, entry and accommodation at the Hillsborough Stadium had been properly planned and safely facilitated. & # 39;
Mr. Matthews said that Duckenfield, as match commander, had the & # 39; final responsibility & # 39; had for both the police operation and & # 39; personal responsibility & # 39; to take reasonable care of the arrangements made, the orders of those under him, the orders he gave and the decisions he made.
He added: "It is the Prosecution's case that the failure of David Duckenfield to take his personal responsibility was extraordinarily bad and contributed substantially to the death of each of the 96 people who so tragically and unnecessarily lost their lives. lost. & # 39;
Mr. Matthews told the jury that they would hear from some witnesses who had made mistakes on the day of the disaster and before.
He added: "We, the Prosecution, do not summon evidence to prove that the shortcomings of David Duckenfield were the sole cause of that infatuation, only that the exceptionally bad shortcomings of David Duckenfield were a substantial cause. & # 39; 39;
Mr. Matthews said that each of the deceased did so as a result of "the utterly innocent activity of attending a football match as a spectator & # 39; and as a result of the 'clear and serious risk to life'; as a result of poor management of the expected capacity mass.
He added: "Each one died due to the extraordinary bad failures by David Duckenfield in the care he took to fulfill his personal responsibility on that fateful day."
the complete list of the disaster victims in Hillsborough (top row from left to right) Adam Edward Spearritt, Alan Johnston, Alan McGlone, Andrew Mark Brookes, Anthony Bland, Anthony Peter Kelly, Arthur Horrocks, Barry Glover, Barry Sidney Bennett, Brian Christopher Mathews, Carl William Rimmer, Carl Brown, (second row from left to right) Carl Darren Hewitt, Carl David Lewis, Christine Anne Jones, Christopher James Traynor, Christopher Barry Devonside, Christopher Edwards, Colin Wafer, Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton , Colin Mark Ashcroft, David William Birtle, David George Rimmer, David Hawley, (third row from left to right) David John Benson, David Leonard Thomas, David William Mather, Derrick George Godwin, Eric Hankin, Eric George Hughes, Francis Joseph McAllister , Gary Christopher Church, Gary Collins, Gary Harrison, Gary Philip Jones, Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron, (fourth row from left to right) Gordon Rodney Horn, Graham John Roberts, Graham John Wrigh t, Henry Charles Rogers
He said: "Much about the Hillsborough disaster was extraordinary, not least the horrendous extent of the loss of life, the extent of the tragedy and the extent of those who have not fulfilled their responsibilities with proper care." .
"Undoubtedly, each of the deceased has failed, in many ways and over a long period of time; before, during and even after this disaster. & # 39;
Mr Matthews said Duckenfield's criminal responsibility for the 95 deaths stemmed from his gross negligence to discharge his responsibility as a joint commander.
He said on the day of the catastrophe built up outside the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium, where the 24,000 Liverpool fans who attended the game were directed.
An exit gate – known as gate C – was opened following requests from Duckenfield to do something to relieve the crush outside the gate.
Once past the gate, the fans were met by a sign with the & # 39; standing & # 39; above the tunnel leading to the three and four of the terrace – which were already full by the time the gate was opened.
Mr. Matthews said: "At no time during, prior to or even after the opening of Gate C did David Duckenfield make every effort to ensure that the capacity of those pens, which were under the police station, was guarded, that the crowd was led in some way in more empty pens or, most importantly, access to the tunnel was stopped or even inhibited to prevent the inevitable crush of fans would effectively drain the slope of the tunnel. & # 39;
Mr. Matthews said: "It is the case of the Prosecution that his failure to provide reasonable care in his role as match commander before 3.05 hours was a major cause of the deaths – his shortcomings led substantially to the pressure of crushing. in the three and four pens that caused the deadly injuries to all those whose lives had been lost.
& # 39; It is the case of the Prosecution that his shortcomings in this respect amounted to the gross violation of his duty of care that he owed to each of the deceased. & # 39;
He said the case of the Prosecution was that Duckenfield was guilty of the very serious crime. of manslaughter by gross negligence.
Mr. Matthews told the jury that the second suspect was Mackrell, the security officer of Sheffield Wednesday, who had to ensure that the club followed the safety guidelines in the Home Office publication, the Green Guide.
He said that the club violated the conditions of his safety certificate by not agreeing with the police before the semi-final on the way of entry into the stadium.
He said: & It is the prosecution case that Mr. Mackrell committed a criminal offense by agreeing, or at least turning a blind eye to, or by breaking his neglect of his duty, this offense by the bat of this state. & # 39;
Mackrell, who joined the club in 1986, is also charged with failing to take reasonable care of the health and safety of others, with regard to the regulations for admission to the ground and the preparation of contingency plans.
Mr. Matthews said: "It is the Prosecutor's case that Mr. Mackrell effectively waived all responsibility for these important aspects of the role he had assumed as a security officer."
The 12 judges were selected from a pool of 100 potential judges after candidates were excluded if they were Liverpool fans, knew one of the Hillsborough dead or the defendants in the dock.
When he addressed the jury today, Judge Peter Openshaw said to them: "I understand that the jury service, especially in such a case, is a heavy responsibility.Your responsibility can and should be shared with the 12 of you – but not with someone else & # 39 ;.
The men who stand trial both deny the charge.
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