Hillsborough stadium police chief admits to ‘terrible lie’
WARRINGTON, England (AP) — The police officer in charge of the Hillsborough soccer stadium on the day of the 1989 disaster apologized on Wednesday for telling a “terrible lie” and then misleading people.
At the FA Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, a crush in an overcrowded standing-only section in the stadium led to 96 deaths.
New inquests are currently being held after the original verdicts of accidental death were overturned, and former chief superintendent David Duckenfield gave evidence for a second day on Wednesday.
In meetings immediately after the April 1989 crush, Duckenfield admitted to saying that fans had “got in through gates” which he now says was a “terrible lie in that everybody knew the truth.”
“I did not say, ‘I have authorized opening of the gates,’” Duckenfield recalled of the meeting with then-Football Association chief executive Graham Kelly and club officials in the police control box.
“I made a dreadful mistake not realizing the consequences of what I was doing,” Duckenfield said.
Family members of some of the victims have been attending the inquest hearings since they started almost a year ago in Warrington, which is near Liverpool in northwest England.
Duckenfield issued a “very, very sincere apology” to families who have spent almost 26 years campaigning for the truth to be uncovered about the disaster.
“What I would like to say to the Liverpool families is this: I regret that omission and I shall regret it to my dying day,” the retired police officer said. “I said something rather hurriedly, without considering the position, without thinking of the consequence and the trauma, heartache and distress that the inference would have caused to those people who were already in a deep state of stock, who were distressed.”