English Premiership

Hillsborough jury to deliver verdict

2016-04-25 14:58
Hillsborough disaster (File)

London - Jurors at the inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster will deliver their verdicts on Tuesday, it was announced.

Coroner John Goldring on Monday told the jury of six women and three men that he did not require a unanimous verdict on the one outstanding question they had still to agree on -- whether the Liverpool supporters were unlawfully killed -- and would accept a majority 7-2 or 8-1 decision.

The jury continued to consider the issue before returning to tell Goldring that at least seven of them had reached agreement on this point.

Their decisions are now set to be announced from 11:00am Tuesday.

Goldring explained the choice of time by telling the jury: "It is so that those families who could not be here all the time can come.

"So it will be tomorrow that I will ask you formally to return your findings in relation to the general and individual questionnaires."

On April 6, the jury retired to consider 14 key questions set out by Goldring, covering such topics as police planning, stadium safety and, significantly, whether the fans had been unlawfully killed, after hearing more than two years of evidence.

The jury has been sitting since March 2014 at a purpose-built courtroom in Warrington, northwest England, 15 miles (25 kilometres) outside Liverpool.

It is the longest-running inquest in English legal history.

Britain's worst sports stadium tragedy occurred on April 15, 1989 during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium in northern England.

Seeking to alleviate a crush that had developed outside the ground at the Leppings Lane End shortly before kick-off, the police match commander opened an exit gate.

It enabled 2,000 fans to stream into the ground and they piled into the already over-full pens behind the goal at that end of the ground, causing a fatal crush.

The original coroner's verdicts of accidental death were quashed in 2012 after a campaign by victims' families led to the publication of a new report into the disaster.

The jurors heard evidence from more than 800 witnesses on subjects including stadium safety, match planning, the events of the day, the emergency response and evidence gathering by police after the disaster.

Under English law, an inquest exists solely to determine how the deceased came by their death. It does not impose criminal sentences.

However, an inquest verdict can act as a springboard for other court proceedings.

The final memorial at Liverpool's Anfield stadium for the 96 victims was held this month, 27 years to the day since the disaster took place.

Families of the deceased unanimously agreed this year's service would be the last public event at Anfield in memory of the supporters who died.

Read more on:    liverpool  |  hillsborough disaster  |  soccer

 

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