Socialist Worker

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield charged with manslaughter

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2561

A tribute to Liverpool fans

A tribute to Liverpool fans (Pic: Edmund Gall/flickr)

Former chief superintendent David Duckenfield has been charged with manslaughter by gross negligence in relation to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Five others have also been charged.

Some 96 Liverpool football fans died as a result of the disaster after a crush built up in two pens. 

Fresh inquests into the deaths last year exonerated fans of any blame and ruled that the 96 were unlawfully killed.

Sheila Coleman from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign told Socialist Worker, “It’s welcome that there will be prosecutions. It is 27 years too late, but nevertheless it’s a great example of how a grassroots campaign can forward the cause for justice.

“It can show other campaigns, certainly that over the Grenfell Tower fire, that you should never give up.

“Let justice be quicker for them.”

Duckenfield was the match commander on the day of the disaster.

Graham Mackrell, Peter Metcalf, Donald Denton, Alan Foster and Norman Bettison also face charges.

Mackrell was Sheffield Wednesday Football Club’s secretary at the time of the disaster. Peter Metcalf was South Yorkshire Police’s (SYP) solicitor. Denton was former SYP chief superintendent. Foster was former detective chief inspector. Bettison was a former SYP officer.

Mackrell faces two charges relating to alleged failures to carry out his duties as required.

Metcalf, Denton and Foster are charged with perverting the course of justice. Bettison is charged with four offences of “misconduct in public office relating to telling alleged lies about his involvement in the aftermath of Hillsborough and the culpability of fans”.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said, “Given his role as a senior police officer, we will ask the jury to find that this was misconduct of such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder.”

Sheila Coleman will be speaking at the Marxism festival in central London next weekend. For more details go to

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