Hillsborough police commander: My failure took lives of 96 Liverpool fans

David Duckenfield was the police match commander in charge of Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest in 1989 – an event that turned into a tragedy that took lives of 96 innocent Liverpool fans. 

During an inquest into the deaths, he has admitted that his failure to close a tunnel caused the deaths to 96 fans at the Hillsborough disaster. 


Deckenfield admitted that it was a momentous decision and that he ‘froze’ resulting into such a tragic disaster. 

Mr Greaney said: ‘You know what was in your mind and I will ask just one last time. Will you accept that in fact you froze?’ Mr Duckenfield responded: ‘Yes sir.’

Mr Greaney went on: ‘Do you agree with the following, that people died in a crush in the central pens?’ Mr Duckenfield said: ‘Yes sir.’

Mr Greaney said: ‘That if they had not been permitted to flow down the tunnel into those central pens that would not have occurred?’ The witness repeated: ‘Yes sir.’ 

The barrister continued: ‘That closing the tunnel would have prevented that and therefore would have prevented the tragedy.’ Mr Duckenfield said again: ‘Yes sir.’

Mr Greaney said: ‘That you failed to recognise that there was a need to close that tunnel.’ Mr Duckenfield said: ‘I did fail to recognise that sir.’

Mr Greaney said: ‘And therefore failed to take steps to achieve that.’ Mr Duckenfield replied: ‘I did sir.’

Mr Greaney said: ‘That failure was the direct cause of the deaths of 96 persons in the Hillsborough tragedy.’ Mr Duckenfield said: ‘Yes sir.’

Mr Deckenfield told the 1989 Taylor inqury the that he took the right decision on that day but now admits that he had made an error – possibly the gravest error he made that took so many innocent lives on that day.

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