These are the 6 people charged with criminal offences over the Hillsborough football disaster

PA 31856963PAVictims of the Hillsborough disaster attempt to escape the crush.

These are the six people charged with criminal offences over the Hillsborough football disaster, more than 28 years after 96 people were killed in the worst tragedy in British sporting history.

They include four senior officers from South Yorkshire Police, a police lawyer, and an official from Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, which was hosting the match in April 1989.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced the six names on Wednesday morning. They had been considering charging as many as 23 people. They are:

  • David Duckenfield, who was the Match Commander for South Yorkshire Police on the day of the disaster
  • Graham Henry Mackrell, who was Sheffield Wednesday Football Club’s company secretary and safety officer at the time of the disaster in 1989
  • Peter Metcalf, the solicitor acting for the South Yorkshire Police during the Taylor Inquiry and the first inquests
  • Former Chief Superintendent Donald Denton of South Yorkshire Police
  • Former Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster of South Yorkshire Police
  • Norman Bettison, a former officer with South Yorkshire Police and subsequently Chief Constable of Merseyside and West Yorkshire Police

The families of those killed in the April 1989 catastrophe had gathered in Warrington, around 20 miles outside Liverpool, to hear the decision slightly before the public announcement.

The tragedy at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield unfolded when more than 2,000 Liverpool fans flooded into a standing-room section behind a goal, with the 54,000-capacity stadium already nearly full for the match against Nottingham Forest.

The victims were smashed against metal anti-riot fences or trampled underfoot. Many suffocated in the crush.

At the time, hooliganism was common, and there were immediate attempts to defend the police operation and assign blame to the Liverpool fans.

A false narrative circulated that blamed ticketless and rowdy Liverpool fans — a narrative that their families have challenged for decades.

The original inquest recorded verdicts of accidental death. But the families challenged it and campaigned for a new inquiry. They succeeded in getting the verdicts overturned in 2012 after a far-reaching inquiry that examined previously secret documents and exposed wrongdoing and mistakes by police.

“All we want is accountability, nothing more and nothing less,” said Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son, James, died in the disaster.

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