Liverpool

Hillsborough disaster accused appear in court

(Clockwise from top left) Sir Norman Bettison, Graham Mackrell, Donald Denton, Alan Foster, Peter Metcalf Image copyright PA/BBC/Getty Images
Image caption (Clockwise from top left) Sir Norman Bettison, Graham Mackrell, Donald Denton, Alan Foster and Peter Metcalf appeared at Warrington Magistrates' Court

Five men charged over the Hillsborough disaster and its aftermath have appeared in court.

The men, including ex-South Yorkshire Police (SYP) chief inspector Sir Norman Bettison, attended Warrington Magistrates' Court in Cheshire.

No formal pleas were given for four of the men but former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell pleaded not guilty to health and safety charges.

They were all bailed until next month.

The court was told Sir Norman Bettison, who went on to become chief constable of Merseyside Police, Peter Metcalf, who was a solicitor for SYP, former Ch Supt Donald Denton and former Det Ch Insp Alan Foster, will plead not guilty when their cases reach crown court on 6 September.

Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests
Image caption Ninety-six football fans were fatally injured in a crush at Hillsborough stadium in 1989
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption David Duckenfield was the South Yorkshire Police match commander at the FA Cup semi-final

Former Ch Supt David Duckenfield, who is also facing charges over the 1989 disaster, was not required to attend.

He was prosecuted privately in 1999 and the CPS is applying to the High Court to lift a court order imposed, which must be removed before Mr Duckenfield can be charged.

Mr Duckenfield was match commander at the FA Cup semi-final when 96 Liverpool fans were fatally injured in a crush.

The six men charged over Hillsborough

Hillsborough: Criminal charges explained

BBC News profiles of all those who died

The defendants walked past family members of the 96 victims of the disaster who had gathered at the entrance of the court.

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption All five men were sitting together in the dock
Image copyright Anthony Devlin/Getty Images
Image caption The family of Hillsborough victim Paul Carlile gathered outside Warrington Magistrates Court

The full list of individuals and charges are:

  • Mr Duckenfield, 72, faces manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 men, women and children
  • Sir Norman, 61, has been charged with four counts of misconduct in a public office relating to alleged lies he told in the aftermath about the culpability of fans
  • Graham Mackrell, former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary, is charged with breaching health and safety and safety at sports ground legislation
  • Peter Metcalf, who was a solicitor acting for SYP, is charged with perverting the course of justice, relating to changes to witness statements
  • Former Ch Supt Donald Denton and former Det Ch Insp Alan Foster are accused of perverting the course of justice
Image copyright Anthony Devlin/Getty Images
Image caption The families of Hillsborough victims await the arrival of those facing charges

Last year, new inquests into the disaster at the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest match, held at Sheffield Wednesday's ground, concluded the fans had been unlawfully killed.

The inquests found that Liverpool supporters were not responsible for the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) brought charges following referrals from the Operation Resolve investigation into the causes of the disaster and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) probe.

Last month the CPS said there would be no manslaughter prosecution over the death of the 96th casualty, Anthony Bland, as he died almost four years later, and under the law in 1989 his death is now "out of time" to be prosecuted.

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