English Premiership

More light shed in inquest

2015-03-17 20:00
Hillsborough 96 (AFP)

London - The police chief at the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster has admitted on Tuesday that his failure to close a tunnel was the "direct cause" of the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters.

David Duckenfield had earlier told an inquest that it was his decision to open an exit gate that allowed fans to stream into two already packed pens at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground, causing a fatal crush.

Asked by a lawyer representing Britain's Police Federation if the failure to close the tunnel leading to the pens had been the direct cause of the tragedy, Duckenfield replied: "Yes sir."

The tragedy, which occurred at the beginning of an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in April 1989, was the worst sporting disaster in British history.

Duckenfield, 70 and now retired, was responding to questions from Paul Greaney QC during his sixth day of evidence at a purpose-built court in Warrington, northwest England.

Asked if it was true that he "froze" prior to giving the order to open the gate at the stadium's Leppings Lane End, Duckenfield replied: "Yes sir."

Pursuing his questioning, Greaney asked Duckenfield if closing the tunnel leading to the two pens would have "prevented the tragedy", to which the former police chief again replied: "Yes sir."

Duckenfield admitted failing to recognise that there was a need to close the tunnel.

Greaney then stated: "That failure was the direct cause of the deaths of 96 persons in the Hillsborough tragedy."

Duckenfield responded: "Yes sir."

Greaney also asked Duckenfield if he had been incompetent in his role on the day of the disaster.

Duckenfield answered: "I think it is a view some would agree with, sir."

The probe, which is made up of multiple inquests into the individual deaths, began 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, following a campaign by victims' families.

Read more on:    liverpool  |  hillsborough disaster  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 20 January 2018
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea, The American Express Community Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v Huddersfield Town, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Everton v West Bromwich Albion, Goodison Park 17:00
Leicester City v Watford, King Power Stadium 17:00
West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth, London Stadium 17:00
Burnley v Manchester United, Turf Moor 17:00
Manchester City v Newcastle United, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur, St. Mary's Stadium 18:00
Monday, 22 January 2018
Swansea City v Liverpool, Liberty Stadium 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.