Former police officer living in Dorset to face questioning over Hillsborough disaster (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Former police officer living in Dorset to face questioning over Hillsborough disaster
TRAGEDY: Former South Yorkshire Police Superintendent David Duckenfield, inset was in charge of the operation that fateful day
A FORMER senior police officer living in Dorset is among those facing new questions today over the Hillsborough disaster.
David Duckenfield, formerly Chief Superintendent of South Yorkshire Police, was in charge of the force’s operation on the day in 1989 when 96 football fans died.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said yesterday that a large number of serving and former officers would be investigated over what happened on the day of the tragedy in 1989, and during the alleged cover-up afterwards.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, also said he would look at whether any individual or corporate body should be charged.
Official documents made public last month suggested Mr Duckenfield had wrongly told the Football Association that Liverpool fans had broken into the stadium and rushed down the tunnel into the packed central pens in the Leppings Lane End of Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.
Police officers had, in fact, opened the gate.
IPCC deputy chairman Deborah Glass said yesterday: “I think I can confidently say this will be the largest independent inquiry that has been launched into the actions of the police in the United Kingdom.”
Ms Glass said: “The potential criminal and misconduct offences disclosed by the panel’s report fall into two broad categories.
“They are the allegations that go to the heart of what happened at Hillsborough in April, 1989 and individuals and institutions may be culpable for the deaths, and there are allegations about what happened after the disaster, that evidence was fabricated and misinformation was spread in an attempt to shift blame.”
Mr Duckenfield was criticised by Lord Justice Taylor’s interim report on Hillsborough in 1989 for ‘failing to take effective control’ on the day of the tragedy.
In 1991, the Police Complaints Authority recommended that Mr Duckenfield and his assistant, Superintendent Bernard Murray, should face disciplinary charges.
But Mr Duckenfield retired on medical grounds and the case against Mr Murray was eventually dropped.
The Hillsborough Family Support Group brought a private prosecution for manslaughter against the two men in 1998.
When it came to trial in 2000, the jury found Mr Murray not guilty and could not reach a verdict on Mr Duckenfield.
The judge refused a retrial on the grounds that Mr Duckenfield had faced public humiliation and a fair trial would be impossible.
The Hillsborough Independent Panel report last month revealed that the judge, Mr Justice Anthony Hooper, had reassured Mr Duckenfield and Mr Murray that they would not go to jail if they were convicted.
He told the men that if they were jailed there was a ‘considerable risk of serious injury if not death at the hands of those who feel very strongly about Hillsborough’.