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Hillsborough disaster: Jury reaches decision on unlawful killing

A majority decision has been reached by the jury in the Hillsborough inquest, on whether 96 people were unlawfully killed as a result of a crush.

A majority decision has been reached by the jury in the Hillsborough inquest, on whether 96 people were unlawfully killed as a result of a crush on the terraces occupied by Liverpool supporters who were attending the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989.

The jury has been hearing evidence for the last two years and has been deliberating on the verdict since 6 April 2016.

In order to reach a majority decision of unlawful killing, the jurors were directed that they must be “sure” that Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, who was in overall command of the police operation, was “responsible for the manslaughter by gross negligence” of those who died. The jury were also directed that in order for negligence to be “gross” they must be sure the match commander’s breach in his duty of care was so bad it amounted to a criminal act or omission.

The conclusions of unlawful killing were formally returned on 26 April 2016 at 11am after the longest running inquest in British legal history.

Following the verdict the CPS said it will now consider whether there should be any criminal charges brought against those deemed to blame.

Sue Hemming, Head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism at the CPS said:

“Following the inquest’s determinations the CPS team will continue to work closely with Operation Resolve and the IPCC as in due course, the CPS will formally consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body based upon all the available evidence, in accordance with the code for Crown Prosecutors.

We would ask that everyone is mindful of the continuing investigations and the potential for future criminal proceedings when reporting or publicly commenting on the inquest’s conclusions.”

Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Rachel Cerfontyne further stated:

“The conclusion of the inquest is another milestone and a day when my thoughts are with the families and friends of those who died as a result of the disaster.

Now the inquest has ended our role in providing documents and other material to support the coroner is over. However the end of the inquest does not mark the end of the process. Our attention now focuses on concluding our criminal investigation into the aftermath of the disaster. This is by far the biggest and most complex investigation ever undertaken by the IPCC.

We have made significant progress on the investigation and we will continue to work closely with Operation Resolve and the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue our remaining lines of enquiry as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. I anticipate we will conclude the criminal investigations by the turn of the year.”