Hillsborough inquests: David Duckenfield admits ‘mistakes’ caused disaster

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Hillsborough inquests: David Duckenfield admits 'mistakes' caused disaster

12 March 2015 :  The Hillsborough police match commander has agreed he was incompetent and his “mistakes” and “oversight” caused the deaths of 96 fans.

David Duckenfield said he had done his “best under very trying circumstances and sadly my best was not good enough”.

He agreed while he was not negligent, he “did not act as a competent match commander” and that “the risk of death was not obvious to me”.

He said he believed football fans contributed to the disaster.

He also said he told the then chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, Peter Wright, that he had lied about Liverpool fans’ behaviour to the FA chief executive Graham Kelly in the hours after the disaster.

The former chief superintendent said the revelation had left Mr Wright “very unhappy”.

Mr Duckenfield was in charge when a crush developed in terraced pens during a FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium on 15 April 1989.

“I wouldn’t use the word negligence, sir,” Mr Duckenfield said.

“What word would you like to use?” Mr Menon asked.

“Mistake. Oversight. Sir, I did not foresee the consequence,” he replied.

He agreed with the coroner Lord Justice Goldring’s assertion that a “reasonable, competent match commander would have foreseen where fans should go [and would have closed the tunnel to the pens]”.

“Does it therefore follow that on the day you did not act as a reasonable, competent match commander?” the coroner asked.

“Yes, sir,” Mr Duckenfield replied.

He also said he “cannot deny” his failure to give an order to close the tunnel leading to the Leppings Lane terrace’s central pens was what Mr Menon called a “blunder of the first magnitude”.

“Do you accept that those mistakes led to overcrowding, serious injury and death in the central pens?” Mr Menon asked.

“Today sir, 26 years on and with hindsight, the mistakes I made that day were a contributory factor,” he replied.

Source : BBC Sport

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