SIX people are to face criminal charges over the Hillsborough disaster and its aftermath — including former Chief Supt David Duckenfield, who faces 95 charges of manslaughter by gross negligence.
Mr Duckenfield was match commander at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15, 1989, when 96 football fans died.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it was unable to charge him with the manslaughter of Anthony (Tony) Bland, the 96th casualty, as he died almost four years later.
Former Chief Constable Norman Bettison has been charged with four offences of misconduct in public office, in relation to “alleged lies” about his involvement in the aftermath of Hillsborough and the culpability of fans.
Graham Mackrell, who was Sheffield Wednesday’s safety officer at the time, faces three health and safety offences.
Peter Metcalf, who was solicitor for South Yorkshire Police during the Taylor inquiry and first inquests is charged with intent to pervert the course of public justice.
Fomer Chief Superintendent Donald Denton and former Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster faces charges of involvement in making changes to witness statements.
All the defendants, apart from David Duckenfield, will appear at Warrington Magistrates' Court on August 9.
Sue Hemming, head of the CPS special crime and counter terrorism division, made the announcement to families of those killed at a private meeting in Warrington this morning.
She said: “Following our careful review of the evidence, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, I have decided that there is sufficient evidence to charge six individuals with criminal offences.
“Criminal proceedings have now commenced and the defendants have a right to a fair trial.
“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
Current South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Stephen Watson said: “Decisions concerning the bringing of criminal charges are rightly for the CPS. Given that criminal proceedings are now active, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further for fear of jeopardising this important process in any way.
"In all of this however, our thoughts are with the Hillsborough families as we reflect on the appalling tragedy that is Hillsborough with the loss of so many innocent lives."
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said the charges represented “another milestone in the long history of the Hillsborough investigations”.
He added: “The start of criminal proceedings against these individuals will hopefully lead to a measure of closure for the family members who have experienced a long and traumatic process in their quest for justice and those officers who have lived under the shadow of the disaster for 28 years.”