Former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, who was South Yorkshire Police’s match commander during the ill-fated 1989 match, faces being charged with the manslaughter of 95 of the 96 people who died in the tragedy.
Ninety-six Liverpool fans were crushed to death in pens at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough Stadium on April 15, 1989, as their FA Cup semi-final cup tie began against Nottingham Forest.
Former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, who was the Hillsborough match commander on the day of the disaster, faces the most serious charge: manslaughter by gross negligence.
There will be no manslaughter prosecution over the death of the 96th casualty, Anthony Bland, because he died nearly four years after the disaster, prosecutors said.
Then past year, a new inquest concluded the 96 had been “unlawfully killed” – setting up potential cases against authorities for possible security lapses and other charges.
The attorney for the South Yorkshire Police was charged with acting “with intent to pervert the course of public justice” relating to changes in witness statements during an inquiry into the tragedy.
Loved ones of the 96 victims had met with senior figures from CPS.
For Bettison’s role, the CPS’ charges were of misconduct based on a perceived “abuse of the public’s trust”.
Asked what the reaction in the room was, Barry Devonside, whose 18-year-old son Christopher died in the disaster, said: ‘Everybody applauded’.
“I didn’t think anything could be as stressful as the feelings of that day, but actually, this is just as important”.
The defendants will appear at Warrington Magistrates’ Court in August, with the exception of Duckenfield who will not appear at this stage for legal reasons.
Current South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Stephen Watson said: “Decisions concerning the bringing of criminal charges are rightly for the CPS”.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) passed files of evidence relating to 23 suspects to prosecutors earlier this year.
Three other former South Yorkshire police officers will also face prosecution.
Relatives of the victims were told of the decision privately in Warrington yesterday morning before the CPS announced the charges. W e will announce our decisions in due course.
Prior to the news, Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: “It is going to be a day of mixed emotions for the families and we have had so many of them”.
A spokesman for Sheffield Wednesday said the club had no comment to make.
There may be organisations or individuals charged, which will lead us on to the next road of criminal prosecutions.
“These criminal investigations into the circumstances surrounding the Hillsborough disaster are the largest investigations into alleged police wrongdoing ever undertaken in England and Wales”.