Hillsborough inquests jury to resume deliberations


The jury in the inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the 1989 Hillsborough disaster will return to court today to resume deliberations for the first full day.

The seven women and three men of the jury retired at 2.05pm yesterday afternoon to consider 14 key questions set out by the Coroner Sir John Goldring, in a 33 page questionnaire, including determining if match commander David Duckenfield is responsible for the unlawful killing of the fans by gross negligence manslaughter.

The hearings into Britain's worst sporting disaster first began on March 31 2014, at a specially built courtroom in Warrington, Cheshire, with dozens of relatives of the 96 attending each of the more than 300 days the court has sat at Bridgewater Place at the town's Birchwood Park business park.

Sir John concluded his summing-up of the evidence which he first began in January, before making his final remarks to the jury, telling them to put emotion aside and consider the case dispassionately on the evidence.

The Hillsborough tragedy unfolded on April 15 1989 during Liverpool's FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest as thousands of fans were crushed on Sheffield Wednesday's Leppings Lane terrace.

Mr Duckenfield gave the order at 2.52pm to open exit Gate C in Leppings Lane, allowing around 2,000 fans to flood into the already packed central pens behind the goal.

Jurors have heard months of evidence from more than 800 witnesses on topics including stadium safety, match planning, the events of the day, the emergency response and evidence gathering by police after the disaster.

Sir John told the jurors they would have to resolve "conflicts" of evidence they have heard between what Liverpool fans said and the accounts of police officers critical of them.

The coroner also told them they would have to consider the way police statements were taken, reviewed and sometimes amended in what families claim was an attempt to mould the evidence and protect the South Yorkshire force.

The 1991 verdicts from the original inquests were quashed following the 2012 Hillsborough Independent Panel report.

Court resumes at 10am.