Hillsborough match commander pleads not guilty to manslaughter charge

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield. Picture: PA Wire
Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield. Picture: PA Wire

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 Liverpool supporters.

The former chief superintendent, 74, appeared via videolink at Preston Crown Court on Monday.

Duckenfield, wearing a suit with a blue shirt and purple tie, spoke to confirm his name and enter his plea.

The names of 95 men, women and children who died following the crush in the terrace pens of Sheffield Wednesday’s ground at the FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989 were read out in court as the charge was put to him.

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Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.

Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, 68, sitting in the well of the court, pleaded not guilty to one charge of contravening a term or condition of the stadium’s safety certificate and one health and safety offence.

About 15 family members were in court for the hearing.

A provisional trial date for both men has been set for January 14.

In June, judge Sir Peter Openshaw lifted a historical stay - halting further legal proceedings - on Duckenfield, which was put in place in 2000.

During the hearing, which lasted about an hour, a number of administrative matters which cannot be reported were also discussed.

Both defendants remain on unconditional bail.