More than 30 years after the Hillsborough disaster, the then police chief was found not guilty by an English court on Thursday.
David Duckenfield was charged with 95 counts of negligent homicide. Last April, the jury failed to reach a verdict on Duckenfield. Prosecutors had requested a new trial, which began in Preston Crown Court on October 7 and ended with the acquittal of the 75-year-old.
During the cup match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989 at Sheffield’s Hillsborough Stadium, 95 people were killed in a crowded crowd in a crowded public gallery. Another victim, Tony Bland, had died only four years after the accident, so his case could not be prosecuted. In addition, 766 fans were injured. Most of the victims were Liverpool fans.
The parents of the deceased Liverpool fans, in particular, had struggled for years to see what they believed to be the culprits in court. The reaction was disappointed after the verdict. “96 people died. I would like to know who is responsible for my father’s death, because someone has to be responsible,” said Christine Burke, daughter of Henry Burke, who died in Sheffield. Liverpool FC said: “We share the frustration of loved ones and those affected.”
In the run-up to the disaster, Duckenfield had opened an emergency exit through which hundreds of Liverpool fans flocked through a narrow tunnel to the already crowded pit. Fences prevented people from escaping onto the field or adjacent bleachers. They were crushed to death by the following fans.
The issue of guilt over the Hillsborough tragedy has moved Britain for decades. After long blaming fans for the disaster, a court concluded, based on a 2016 report by a commission of inquiry, that the main culprit was the police. This led to Duckenfield’s indictment.