96 Liverpool fans were unlawfully killed concludes Hillsborough inquest jury

The  jury in the inquest into Britain's worst sporting disaster has concluded that 96 fans who died at Hillsborough in 1989 were unlawfully killed.

The jury of 9 consisting of six women and three men gave their decisions at a hearing on Tuesday in Warrington on a highly charged day for relatives of the 96, with many of those relatives appearing in court for the end of the longest jury proceedings in British legal history.
The Hillsborough disaster occured in April 15, 1986 during Liverpool's FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest as thousands of fans were crushed at Sheffield Wednesday's ground. Overall match commander chief superintendent David Duckenfield gave the order at 2:52 p.m. to open exit Gate C in Leppings Lane, allowing around 2,000 fans to flood into the already-packed central pens behind the goal.

The jury concluded it was unlawful killing by a 7-2 majority. The jurors answered 14 questions at the inquest, including question No. 6, which asks: "Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed?"

Before they were sent out on April 6 to start their deliberations, jurors were told they could decide it was an unlawful killing only if Duckenfield owed a duty of care to those who died in the disaster and was in breach of that duty of care. Third, they would need to be satisfied that his breach of duty caused the deaths and, fourth, that it amounted to gross negligence.

The conclusion on Tuesday was greeted with sobbing and cheers at the hearing as it was read out and the victims' families in acceptance with the verdict declared. The jury also ruled that fan behavior did not cause or contribute to the tragedy.

Jurors gave their conclusions having answered a general questionnaire of 14 questions as well as a record of the time and cause of death for each of the Liverpool fans, 27 years after the disaster on April 15, 1989.

These include questions about the police planning before the game, stadium safety, events on the day, the emergency services' response to the disaster and whether the fans were unlawfully killed. On Wednesday, the jury indicated to the court in Warrington that unanimous decisions had already been made on every question other than No. 6. They were given a majority direction on Monday and indicated they had reached a majority decision on the outstanding question.

About 1,000 witnesses has given evidence since the hearings began over two years ago.
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