CPS to consider criminal charges over the unlawful killing of 96 people at Hillsborough

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Following today’s verdicts, the Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed it will now begin considering criminal charges over Hillsborough.

As to who will be charged, and what the offences may be, we should consider the answers to the questions the inquest jury was asked:

QUESTION 1: Basic facts of the disaster

Do you agree with the following statement which is intended to summarise the basic facts of the Disaster:

“Ninety-six people died as a result of the Disaster at Hillsborough Stadium on 15 April 1989 due to crushing in the central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace, following the admission of a large number of supporters to the Stadium through exit gates.”

Yes.

QUESTION 2: Police planning for the semi-final match

Was there any error or omission in police planning or preparation for the semi-final match on 15 April 1989 which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed on the day of the match? Yes or no

Yes – the jury  feels there were major omissions in 1989 operational order

QUESTION 3: Policing of the match and the situation at the turnstiles

Was there any error or omission in policing on the day of the match which caused or contributed to a dangerous situation developing at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Yes or no.

Yes. The jury finds the p olice response to the increasing crowd at Leppings Lane was slow and uncoordinated. It feels the road closure and sweep of fans exacerbated the situation. No filter cordons were place and no contingency plans were made for the sudden arrival of a large number of fans.

The jury feels that attempts to close the perimeter gates were made too late.

QUESTION 4: Policing of the match and the crush on the terrace

Was there any error or omission by commanding officers which caused or contributed to the crush on the terrace? Yes or no.

Yes –  Commanding officers should have ordered closing of central tunnel.

QUESTION 5: The opening of the gates

When the order was given to open the exit gates at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium, was there any error or omission by the commanding officers in the control box which caused or contributed to the crush on the terrace? Yes or no.

Yes.  Commanding officers did not inform officers in the inner concourse prior to the opening of Gate C. Commanding Officers failed to consider where fans would go. Commanding officers failed to order the closure of the central tunnel prior to the opening of gate C.

QUESTION 6: Determination on unlawful killing issue

Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed? Yes or no.

Yes.

QUESTION 7: Behaviour of the supporters

Was there any behaviour on the part of the football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Yes or no.

No.

Was there any behaviour on the part of the football supporters which may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Yes or no.

No.

QUESTION 8: Defects in Hillsborough stadium

Were there any features of the design, construction and layout of the stadium which you consider were dangerous or defective and which caused or contributed to the disaster? Yes or no.

Yes.

Design and layout of the crush barriers in pens 3 and 4 were not fully compliant with the Green Guide. The removal of barrier 144 and the partial removal of barrier 136 would have exacerbated the waterfall effect of pressure towards the front of the pens. The lack of dedicated turnstiles for individual pens meant that capacities could not be monitored. There were too few turnstiles for a capacity crowd. Signage to the side pens was inadequate.

QUESTION 9: Licensing and oversight of the stadium

Was there any error or omission in the safety certification and oversight of Hillsborough Stadium that caused or contributed to the disaster? Yes or no.

Yes.  Safety certificate never amended to reflect changes to Leppings Lane end of stadium.

QUESTION 10: Conduct of Sheffield Wednesday FC before the day of the match

Was there any error or omission by SWFC and its staff in the management of the stadium and/or preparation for the semi final match on 15 April 1989 which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation which developed on the day of the match? Yes or no.

Yes –  The club did not approve the plans for dedicated turnstiles for each pen. The club did not agree any contingency plans with the police. There was inadequate signage and inadequate and misleading information on the tickets.

QUESTION 11: Conduct of Sheffield Wednesday FC on the day of the match

Was there any error or omission by SWFC and its staff on 15 April 1989 which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed at the Leppings Lane turnstiles and in the west terrace? Yes or no.

No.

Was there any error or omission by SWFC and its staff on 15 April 1989 which may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation that developed at the Leppings Lane turnstiles and in the west terrace? Yes or no.

Yes.  Club officials were aware huge number of fans were still outside the ground at 2.40 and should have requested delay in kick-off.

QUESTION 12: Conduct of Eastwood & Partners (SWFC engineers)

Should Eastwood & Partners have done more to detect and advise on any unsafe or unsatisfactory features of the stadium which caused or contributed to the disaster? Yes or no.

Yes.  Eastwood & Partners, the club’s consultant engineers,  did not make their own calculations when they became consultants for the club.  T herefore the initial capacity figures and all subsequent calculations were incorrect.

Eastwood & Partners  failed to recalculate capacity figures each time changes were made to the terraces. It failed to update the safety certificate after 1986.

QUESTION 13: Emergency response and the role of South Yorkshire Police

After the crush in the West Terrace had begun to develop, was there any error or omission by the police which caused or contributed to the loss of lives in the disaster? Yes or no.

Yes.  Police delayed to call major incident – it meant appropriate emergency response was delayed.

QUESTION 14: Emergency response and the role of South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (SYMAS)

After the crush in the west terrace had begun to develop, was there any error or omission by the ambulance service (SYMAS) which caused or contributed to the loss of lives in the disaster? Yes or no.

Yes. SYMAS failed to ascertain the nature of the problem at Leppings Lane. The failure to recognise and call a major incident led to delays in response to the emergency.

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8 thoughts on “CPS to consider criminal charges over the unlawful killing of 96 people at Hillsborough

    1. Martin Odoni

      It’s formal language, don’t take it too literally. You can be sure the CPS have been considering it unofficially throughout the last two years, they just had to wait until after the Inquest had completed before officially assessing whether they have sufficient evidence to prosecute. They concluded in 1990 that they didn’t, but critical details that were covered up back then by the South Yorkshire and West Midlands Police forces have now been released into the public domain.

  1. Nick

    yes the verdict is the correct one and to think that it has taken all these years for justice and if i had been prime minister it would have only taken months

    This will be the same for all of the deaths of the sick and disabled WHO HAD GONE THROUGH WELFARE REFORM in that the relatives will have to wait years maybe 30 for the some outcome and for justice to be handed out to a deceased IDS

  2. Dez

    The whole episode was like drawing teeth from the establishment that would not admit liability indeed they created falsehoods to divert the truth…..whilst the families have to live with the consequences of this debacle for the rest of their lives those responsible for lying, tormenting and making the innocent families suffer this hugely expensive and time consuming exercise are probably comfortable living out their lives on their pensions despite causing this mess. How many other issues are still buried by the establishment that did not command the attention of losing so many young lives that day. Shame on the establishment. Does anyone think that the Crown Prosecution will make up for this huge establishment failure by taking the matter to its final conclusion??

  3. mrmarcpc

    No one will be done for it, they’re afraid that if they do, they’ll open up a big can of worms and it could lead to many guilty people within the establishment, Thatcher being one of them but the bitch is dead but there will be others like the press and the police!

    1. Nick

      it will be like all of the sick and disabled that have died in going through welfare reform the past few years

      it will be a lot of talk and nothing will ever come of it that has always been the uk way

      justice is only for those with power and wealth. to try to blame a person or people for an incident all those years ago will come to nothing

      the best you will get is just one guilty verdict from the stadium only Sheffield Wednesday as that is the only concrete evidence that today is available

      all the other key players have all retired or died and it would be impossible to blame anyone as an individual

      IDS on the other hand will be found guilty of gross misconduct as a government minister in charge of welfare reform who had never implemented any safety measures in welfare reform leading to many hundreds of deaths over a 6 year period of sick and disabled people

      IDS will always be found guilty by any jury as his role as a government welfare minister had been monitored daily and all calls for him to change track had always been dismissed so the deaths were allowed to continue

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