Jury finds football fans unlawfully killed

British jury has revealed that 96 football fans that died as a result of a crush in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed.

The jury found match commander, Superintendent David Duckenfield was “responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence” due to a breach of his duty of care.

Police errors also added to a dangerous situation at the FA Cup semi-final.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron said the inquests had provided “official confirmation” fans were “utterly blameless.”

Families pleased
After a 27-year campaign by victims’ families, the behaviour of Liverpool fans was exonerated.

The jury found they did not contribute to the danger unfolding at the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s ground on April 15, 1989.

Nine jurors reached unanimous decisions on all but one of the 14 questions at the inquests into Britain’s worst sporting disaster.

People hold football scarves during a memorial service at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 15, 2016, on the 27th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster. 96 Liverpool supporters died at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough football ground in Sheffield, northern England. 2016 will be the final year a memorial service is held at Anfield. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS
People hold football scarves during a memorial service at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 15, 2016, on the 27th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster.
96 Liverpool supporters died at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough football ground in Sheffield, northern England. 2016 will be the final year a memorial service is held at Anfield. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS

The coroner, Sir John Goldring said he would accept a majority decision about whether the fans were unlawfully killed, seven jurors agreed they were.

When the conclusion of the unlawful killing was revealed, families were seen hugging each other in the public gallery and some punched the air.

When considering how each of the 96 victims died the jury concluded many died well after 15:15 minuets on the day of the match.

The coroner at the original inquest, Dr Stefan Popper said he would not hear any evidence relating to deaths beyond that time because he believed all the victims had died, or suffered fatal injuries, by then.

The new inquests jury found the direct medical cause of death was compression asphyxia in all but three of the victims.

The earliest time of death was estimated at 14:57 and the last up to 17:00.

Tony Bland, the 96th victim, died in 1993 after being left brain damaged, due to or as a consequence of compression asphyxia.

The families clapped as the jury left the Hillsborough inquests in Warrington.

One woman shouted “God bless the jury.”

There were lots of tears as lawyers hugged the families and the shadow home secretary; Andy Burnham hugged the families in court.

There were lawyers crying, Andy Burnham was crying and the families were hugging. People said they couldn’t take in the enormity of it all.

Trevor Hicks, whose daughters Sarah and Vicky died, said, “We’ve done it.”

A spontaneous chorus of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was sung outside the courtroom as people raised Liverpool flags above their heads.

Leading campaigners Margaret Aspinall and Trevor Hicks were seen hugging each other in tears.

Ms Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the disaster, said: “I think we have changed a part of history now. I think that’s the legacy the 96 have left.”

Barry Devonside, father of Christopher who died aged 18, said: “I never thought in my wildest dreams that we would get this decision. We did our best, we couldn’t do any more.”

A statement on behalf of all of the families said the jury’s conclusions “completely vindicate” the long fight for justice.

It added it has brought “significant progress on the journey and sense of closure to the bereaved.”

The Prime Minister called it a “landmark day” and said the inquests “provide long overdue justice.”

He said: “All the families and survivors now have official confirmation of what they knew to be the case that the Liverpool fans were utterly blameless in the disaster that unfolded at Hillsborough.”

 

BBC/Sammie