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Thursday, August 20, 1998 Published at 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK


Hillsborough private prosecution adjourned

Bob Murray (left) and David Duckenfield arrive at court

Relatives of victims of the Hillsborough disaster have come face to face in court with two senior police officers whom they accuse of unlawful killing.

BBC correspondent Mike McKay reports from Leeds magistrates court
The first private prosecution to be brought as a result of the disaster is underway with a hearing at Leeds Magistrates Court.

Former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield and former Superintendent Bob Murray appeared at the court, which was attended by more than 20 members of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

Their case has been adjourned until October.

[ image: Crush killed 96 people]
Crush killed 96 people
The first allegation the pair face is that on 15 April 1989 the two defendants unlawfully killed John Alfred Anderson and James Gary Aspinall.

It is also alleged that the former officers "wilfully neglected to carry out a public duty on that day", and that David Duckenfield "intended to pervert the course of justice when he lied about the circumstances in which Gate C became open".

BBC North of England Correspondent Mike McKay explains what the men are accused of
The case was adjourned until 30 October when the Director of Public Prosecutions is expected to have given advice on the release of witness statements currently held by South Yorkshire police.

Officers released on bail

Committal proceedings have been pencilled in for December. Stipendiary magistrate Nigel Cadbury told the court: "Clearly this is a very sensitive case. It happened a long time ago. It must not be allowed to drag on."

Mr Duckenfield, of West Parley, Bournemouth, and Mr Murray, of Pontefract, West Yorkshire, were both released on unconditional bail.

The chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, Trevor Hicks, who lost his two daughters in the disaster, said it was the first time the families had seen the two officers since the inquest in 1991.

He said: "The case went according to our expectations. "Obviously we're pleased two defendants are now bailed to appear and dates and pencilled in.

"We believe things are progressing."

Case will 'prolong the anguish'

Ian Daines, the Assistant Chief Constable of South Yorkshire police has warned that the action would prolong the distress of Hillsborough.

"So long after the tragedy and after so many enquiries, we fear that these developments will serve to prolong and extend the anguish of the Hillsborough disaster," he said.

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