The trial of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield and Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell concluded today with the jury returning their conclusions following deliberations that began on March 25th and lasted more than a week.
In the case of Mackrell, the jury found him guilty of breaching health and safety regulations by not having undertaken reasonable efforts to have sufficient turnstiles available and in so doing contributing to the disaster that saw 96 Liverpool fans lose their lives.
In the case of Duckenfield, who was charged with manslaughter and gross negligence leading to 95 of the deaths at Hillsborough—the 96th death, coming as it did year after the disaster, was not included in the charge—the jury did not deliver a verdict.
The Crown Prosecution Service, or CPS, has said that they will seek a retrial of Duckenfield as a result of this, meaning that while one round has ended, the ongoing battle to find some measure of justice for Hillsborough’s many victims will yet continue.
“After lengthy deliberations, the jury has found Graham Mackrell guilty and has been unable to reach a verdict in respect of David Duckenfield,” noted CPS director of legal services Sue Hemming. “I can confirm the CPS will seek a retrial against Mr Duckenfield.”
“I recognise these developments will be difficult for families affected by the Hillsborough disaster. We have remained in regular contact with them throughout these proceedings, and spoke with those present before informing the court of our decision.”
At the trial, prosecution had argued Duckenfield’s role in ordering the stadium gates opened to relieve pressure at the turnstiles played a key role in the resulting crush that led to the 96 deaths, 766 non-fatal injuries, and countless others impacted.
In addition to a now expected retrial for Duckenfield, three others—then-South Yorkshire Police chief Donald Denton, chief detective Alan Foster, and police solicitor Peter Metcalf—are scheduled to stand trial on charges related to events on the day.