The jury at the Hillsborough inquests has returned a determination of unlawful killing in the deaths of 96 supporters as a result of the events at the disaster on April 15, 1989.
Six women and three men delivered their landmark conclusions on Tuesday afternoon following more than two years of proceedings at the court in Warrington.
A 7-2 majority answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed?’, prompting cheers from the families gathered at Birchwood Park.
There was further applause inside the court as the jury answered ‘no’ to the question ‘Was there any behaviour on the part of the football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?’
In answering 14 general questions laid out by the coroner, Sir John Goldring, the jury decided there was error or omission by police in planning and preparation for the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, and in policing on the day of the match, which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation.
The jury’s determinations stated that the police’s delay in calling a major incident, lack of communication, co-ordination and command and control, caused or contributed to the loss of lives in the disaster.
It was also found that there was error or omission by Sheffield Wednesday and its staff, Eastwood and Partners – the stadium’s structural engineers – and the ambulance service (SYMAS).
The design and layout of the crush barriers at the Leppings Lane end did not fully comply with regulations, the ground’s safety certificate had not been suitably amended and capacity figures were incorrectly calculated.
Following a short break, the jury also delivered its findings in the case of each individual, recording a time and cause of death for every victim of the tragedy, bringing an historic conclusion to the longest-running inquests in UK legal history.