HILLSBOROUGH: Manslaughter charges could be brought against police, FA, council and club (From Wirral Globe)
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HILLSBOROUGH: Manslaughter charges could be brought against police, FA, council and club
1:21pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Wednesday football club, Sheffield City Council and the Football Association are being investigated for possible criminal culpability over the Hillsborough disaster.
The disclosure was made by the senior detective leading an investigation into the tragedy, when 96 people died at the stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989.
Twelve people from Wirral lost their lives in the disaster.
Jon Stoddart, former chief constable of the Durham force, told the Guardian newspaper that all four organisations were being investigated for possible gross negligence manslaughter.
He said: "We are exploring all liability, both public and individual.
We are looking at unlawful killing; who is responsible for the deaths."
His comments came a year since the Hillsborough independent panel published its devastating report into the disaster.
The panel report, based on more than 450,000 documents disclosed by South Yorkshire police, Sheffield Wednesday, the FA and other organisations, highlighted serious safety failings in the stadium, on the day and in the years following the disaster, and a failure of the emergency services to provide prompt medical care.
Yet the original investigation by West Midlands police resulted in no prosecutions of any organisation or individual for any offence.
Addressing the House of Commons on September 12 last year, Prime Minister David Cameron issued a profound apology to Hillsborough families who had suffered "the double injustice of the failure of the State to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth.”
Mr Stoddart said more was being looked at than command and control of the crowd. "It is about the safety of the stadium, certification, the planning and preparation, the engineering and design that went into the Leppings Lane end.
The club offered to host the match despite serial breaches of the Home Office guide to ground safety and a safety certificate ten years out of date, the newspaper said.
The council was statutorily responsible for licensing the stadium as safe, and the FA commissioned the ground for the FA Cup semi-final - despite Hillsborough's safety breaches and previous crushes at semi finals there in 1981, 1987 and 1988.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that more than 90 police pocket notebooks that could contain crucial new information about the disaster have been recovered by investigators.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which revealed last month that it was looking for the notebooks, said 90 had been handed in to South Yorkshire Police by retired and serving officers.
The force has also found boxes of notebooks and other documents that cover the period of the disaster, which could contain vital details.
Deputy chairwoman of the IPCC, Deborah Glass, said: "This is an ongoing criminal investigation the like of which has never been seen before in this country.
"Already we are uncovering more about the disaster and its aftermath. Hillsborough has had a history of inquiries by the police and others, many completed quickly, coming to flawed conclusions.
"Our investigations need to deliver the last, definitive account."
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