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Hillsborough trial: ‘The scene was set for failure’

From BBC

Graham Mackrell and David Duckenfield

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Graham Mackrell (left) and David Duckenfield deny the charges against them

Jurors at the trial of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield have heard how “the scene was almost literally set” for failure.

Prosecutors said the ground’s safety certificate had not been updated or amended since it was granted in 1979 – a decade before the disaster.

Mr Duckenfield, 74, denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans.

Ex-Sheffield Wednesday secretary Graham Mackrell, 69, denies safety breaches.

Richard Matthews QC told Preston Crown Court: “Few of those involved with the safety certificate appear to have performed their function diligently”.

The jury was told the stadium safety certificate was “out of date” by 1989.

They were shown a video of an FA Cup semi final at Hillsborough in 1981 between Spurs and Wolves where the terraces became too full and the crowd was allowed to sit on the edge the pitch.

Earlier, the jury was given a virtual tour of the stadium and shown the view from inside the police control box.

Prosecutors showed what would have been on each of the television screens in front of Mr Duckenfield and his team on 15 April 1989.

Mr Duckenfield, of Ferndown in Dorset, is accused in relation to the deaths of 95 people who were in the crowd at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground for the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

The retired chief superintendent was South Yorkshire Police’s match commander for the game.

Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell is charged with contravening the stadium’s safety certificate and a health and safety offence.

Mr Mackrell was the club’s designated safety officer for the Hillsborough stadium.

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