Hillsborough disaster: The darkest chapter in English footballhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/football/hillsborough-disaster-the-darkest-chapter-in-english-football/

Hillsborough disaster: The darkest chapter in English football

The Hillsborough disaster case—after 26 years of inquests and inquiries, the longest in British jury history—reached its conclusion. A timeline on how it unfolded.

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The verdict was a moment of great joy for the friends and relatives of those who died or survived grave injuries in the tragedy. (Source: Reuters)

15 April, 1989: As many as 96 fans died and 766 injured during a human crush at the Hillsborough Stadium, where Liverpool were playing Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semifinal. The 53,000-capacity stadium, home to Sheffield United, was sold out. But Liverpool, which had a larger fan base, were allocated the smaller end of the stadium, which led to a bottleneck at the turnstiles. The funnel-shaped nature of the area meant that the congestion was hard to escape for those at the front.

May to August 1989: A public inquiry, headed by Lord Justice Taylor, was ordered. Poilice blamed drunken Liverpool fans for the chaos.

1 August, 1989: The official report blamed the ineptness of the police officials for the crisis.

30 August, 1990: The Crown Prosecution Service reckons the evidence is to justify criminal proceedings against anybody from any organisation. Later, the South Yorkshire police admitted their negligence.


19 November, 1990: Heard by local coroner Stefan Pooper, the first inquest opened its proceedings. Meanwhile, South Yorkshire police renewed their case that drunk supporters who arrived late and ticketless were to blame. Pooper ruled that that it was accidental death. Even sanctions and suspensions of certain police officers on duty were lifted.

5 November, 1993: A judicial review application by six families, who were affected by the incident, was quashed. The judge ruled that the inquest was conducted in a satisfactory manner.

August 1998: Raising funds with a concert, the Hillsborough Family Support Group demands a private prosecution of David Duckenfield, who was the in police in-charge at the stadium, and Bernand Murray, the police control box commander.

24 July, 2000: Murray is acquitted in the private prosecution; the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on Duckenfield. The judge ruled that Duckenfield should not face a retrial.

December 2009: The home secretary, Alan Johnson, formed a Hillsborough independent panel to oversee full public disclosure of all relevant information relating to the disaster.

12 September, 2012: The panel, after reviewing 450,000-odd documents, published a report in which police failings are highlighted. Home secretary Theresa May ordered a new criminal inquiry into the disaster, named Operation Resolve.

19 December, 2012: The chief justice quashed the verdict of the first inquest.

31 March, 2014: A jury was selected for a new inquest.

26 April, 2016: The inquest jury delivered its verdict. Among its findings were that the people were unlawfully killed, overturning the verdict of accidental death at the original inquest.