London - The police chief at the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster has
apologised on Wednesday to the families of the 96 Liverpool supporters
killed, saying he regretted lying about how the tragedy unfolded.
Duckenfield gave the order to open a side gate into the ground after
being told that a pre-match crush outside could lead to deaths.
chief superintendent Duckenfield told the inquest into the deaths that
he remembered saying to a fellow officer: "If people are going to die I
have no option but to open the gates. Open the gates."
2,000 fans surged in, with most heading straight down the tunnel facing
them, towards the fenced-in Leppings Lane terrace's already-packed
"I was overcome by the enormity of the situation and the decision I had to make," he said.
is arguably one of the biggest regrets of my life -- that I did not
foresee where fans would go when they came in through the gates," he
The terrace crush at the neutral Hillsborough ground in
Sheffield, northern England, happened at an FA Cup semi-final between
Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in April 1989. It was Britain's worst
Minutes later, Duckenfield had a meeting with
the Football Association governing body's boss Graham Kelly, telling him
that fans had "got in through the gates" -- without saying it was he
who had authorised it.
The 70-year-old said he knew he had told a "terrible lie".
continued: "What I would like to say to the Liverpool families is this:
I regret that omission and I shall regret it to my dying day.
said something rather hurriedly, without considering the position,
without thinking of the consequence and the trauma, heartache and
distress that the inference would have caused," he said.
probe, which is actually made up of multiple inquests for the individual
deaths, is being held at a purpose-built court outside Warrington, east
It got under way in March 2014 and is expected to last until at least November.
The original coroner's verdicts were quashed in 2012 amid claims of a police cover-up.
the start of his testimony on Tuesday, Duckenfield admitted he was
inexperienced in policing matches and "was not the best man for the job
on the day".