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No charges to be brought against two former officers in Hillsborough investigation

UK News | Published:

The Crown Prosecution Service said there was ‘some cause for concern’ in the actions of the suspects

The CPS said there was some cause for concern in the investigation, but the evidential threshold had not been met (Peter Byrne/PA)

No charges will be brought against two former West Midlands Police officers who were being investigated for their role in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said.

The two suspects, from the force which investigated the disaster in 1989, had been referred to the prosecutor by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), previously known as the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and were alleged to have failed to investigate the causes of the disaster properly, either deliberately or negligently.

It was alleged that a misleading or incomplete file was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions in 1990.

Liverpool v Watford – Barclays Premier League – Anfield
A memorial plaque to those who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster, outside Anfield (Nick Potts/PA)

He said that “whilst there was found to be some cause for concern in the actions of both suspects”, the evidence was “insufficient to reach the high threshold required to prove a criminal offence”.

The spokesman said there was evidence that some aspects of the investigation were not carried out to a high standard, but there was a lack of evidence showing a deliberate plan of action by the suspects.

In a letter sent to families of the 96 victims this week, Sue Hemming, Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division at the CPS, said: “I appreciate that my decision will be disappointing to you, but I would like to reassure you that in reaching this conclusion, we have spent a significant amount of time reviewing and considering the evidence that was submitted to us.”

The spokesman said no other files were being considered in relation to the disaster.

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Six men, including match commander David Duckenfield, already face charges relating to the disaster and its aftermath.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died in the crush at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough stadium on April 15 1989, as the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest began.

An IOPC spokesman said following an investigation into three former senior South Yorkshire Police (SYP) officers, a decision had been made not to refer their cases to the CPS.

It was alleged the officers sought to mislead a public inquiry into the disaster led by Lord Justice Taylor, a contributions hearing and the original inquests.

The spokesman said there was some indication that two of the former officers may have committed a criminal offence, but the CPS had already rejected the possibility of bringing criminal charges based on evidence reviewed in 2016.

Strategic lead for Hillsborough Rachel Cerfontyne said: “At the core of my decision not to refer these SYP officers for formal charging decisions is the CPS’s clear view that charges would not be brought and the risk that a referral could cause disruption to the forthcoming Hillsborough trials.”

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