Liverpool

Hillsborough chief not giving evidence due to PTSD

David Duckenfield Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption David Duckenfield denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 fans

The Hillsborough match commander will not give evidence in his retrial because his health condition makes it "undesirable", the jury has been told.

David Duckenfield's defence told Preston Crown Court he would not be called to give evidence.

The judge reminded the jury he had post-traumatic stress disorder but said not to draw "any inference" against the 75-year-old for the decision.

Mr Duckenfield denies gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans.

'The catastrophe'

Judge Sir Peter Openshaw told the jury it was the retired chief superintendant's "right not to give evidence".

"As I told you earlier in the trial, he has post-traumatic stress disorder," he said adding this "makes it undesirable" for him to take the stand.

The court heard Mr Duckenfield had been interviewed under caution in the Operation Resolve investigation in 2017 and gave a prepared statement.

In it he said: "I have not committed any criminal offence. Before, during and after 15 April 1989 I tried to do my professional best."

He said the deaths and injuries suffered at the match would live with him "forever".

"To have been a part of the catastrophe as it unfolded... was deeply harrowing for me," he said.

However, he said that "pales into insignificance" compared to the grief of those who lost loved ones in the 1989 disaster.

Mr Duckenfield said since the crush at Hillsborough he had watched documentaries and read commentaries about it making it difficult to know whether he was independently remembering the events of the day.

He said he had given written evidence shortly after the disaster, at the public inquiry led by Lord Justice Taylor in 1989, at inquests in 1991 and at inquests in 2015.

"Having answered so many questions from so many people over the past 28 years I provide this prepared statement and answer no further questions," he added.

The trial continues.

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