Hillsborough prosecutions

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THE GROUP representing the families of victims of the Hillsborough disaster yesterday began legal proceedings against two former senior South Yorkshire police officers.

As part of a private prosecution, Ann Addlington, solicitor for the Hillsborough Family Support Group, laid information before South Sefton magistrates' court in Bootle, Merseyside, against former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield and former Superintendent Bernard Murray, alleging three offences.

The first allegation is that on 15 April, 1989, they unlawfully killed John Alfred Anderson and James Gary Aspinall, two of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

It is also alleged that the two men "wilfully neglected to carry out a public duty on that day", and that "David Duckenfield intended to pervert the course of justice when he lied about the circumstances in which Gate C [of the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield] became open".

Summonses issued in respect of the charges were understood to have been served yesterday.

The two former officers are obliged to appear in the magistrates' court to answer the charges on a date to be arranged.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said the force had no comment to make about the private prosecution.

Hillsborough Family Support Group chairman Trevor Hicks said no comment would be made about the proceedings at this stage.

It is the first private prosecution the group has brought as a result of the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough football ground in April 1989.

A total of 96 football fans died as a result of a crush on the terraces at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium.