PRESTON, England (AP) — The man who was in control of police operations at the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy in 1989 pleaded not guilty on Monday to a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.
David Duckenfield, who is now 74, appeared via video link at Preston Crown Court in northern England. The charge was put to him as the names of 95 men, women and children who died in the crush were read out.
Duckenfield was match commander for the game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semifinals in April 1989.
Ninety-six people — all Liverpool fans — died in Britain’s worst sports disaster. Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, because he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.
Also, Graham Mackrell pleaded not guilty to one charge of contravening a term or condition of the stadium’s safety certificate and one health and safety offense. Mackrell was club secretary at Sheffield Wednesday, whose home ground is Hillsborough, at the time of the tragedy.
A provisional date for the trials of Duckenfield and Mackrell has been set for Jan. 14.
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