Hillsborough police chief says it’s ‘wrong and unfair’ that he is blamed for disaster as tragedy was inevitable

Hillsborough police chief says it's 'wrong and unfair' that he is blamed for disaster as tragedy was inevitable

A South Yorkshire police chief believes it is “wrong and unfair” that he is personally taking the blame for the catalogue of failings that led to the Hillsborough disaster, a court heard yesterday.

The tragedy was already an inevitability “by virtue of bad stadium design, bad planning, some aspects of crowd behaviour, some aspects of police behaviour, mistakes by various individuals and genuine human error”, according to his defence QC, Ben Myers. 

As Duckenfield’s version of events for the first time since he was charged with the gross negligence manslaughter of 96 fans, Myers said the prosecution had become “personal” and was unfair.

“This or something like this was going to happen sooner or later,” Mr Myers said of the disaster in 1989. Duckenfield, who was brought in as match-day commander just three weeks before the tragedy, should not be judged by 2019 standards of policing at football events, the barrister told Preston Crown Court.

Mr Myers said “in no way” did he seek to insult Liverpool Football Club, its supporters or the city of Liverpool itself, but said Duckenfield was being “held responsible for everything that went wrong that day” and this is “factually unfair”.

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