Hillsborough chief admits ‘flawed operational order’

Hillsborough police chief David Duckenfield has told the jury into the inquests of 96 Liverpool fans he was “a new and inexperienced match commander” faced with “unimaginably difficult and fast-moving circumstances”.

He added he was working to “a flawed operational [match] order” and had “not envisaged or wished for death or injury to a single football supporter” in the central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace at the fateful FA Cup semi-final on April 15, 1989 — Britain’s worst sporting disaster.

On Tuesday, Duckenfield, 70, agreed his failure to close the tunnel leading to certain pens was the “direct cause” of the tragedy after he had just ordered the opening of an exit gate at the ground to relieve congestion at the Leppings Lane turnstiles.

The circumstances of that failure were outlined by his barrister as the retired chief superintendent from South Yorkshire Police gave evidence for a seventh day at the hearing in Warrington.

Next to give evidence was retired chief superintendent Douglas Hopkins, who has been instructed by Coroner Lord Justice Goldring to provide expert reports and evidence on the background strategy and tactics of policing in the late 1980s.

The hearing continues today, when Hopkins will continue to give evidence.


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