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The BBC's John Thorne
"David Duckenfield will be told on Wednesday whether he faces re-trial"
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The BBC's Joshua Rozenburg
"There may be a fresh prosecution"
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Monday, 24 July, 2000, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Hillsborough jury discharged
Almost 100 people died in the Hillsborough disaster
The jury in the Hillsborough disaster trial has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict on charges against former chief superintendent David Duckenfield.

Mr Duckenfield, 55, of Bournemouth, Dorset, denied two specimen charges of manslaughter which were brought by the Hillsborough Family Support Group in a private prosecution.

The families, who have campaigned to have the case heard for several years, have now been given two days to decide whether they want a retrial.

David Duckenfield
David Duckenfield: Denied the charges
They will appear before Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday morning with their decision.

In total 96 Liverpool supporters died at the FA Cup semi-final between their team and Nottingham Forest in April, 1989.

Former superintendent Bernard Murray, 58, of Pontefract, West Yorkshire, was cleared of the same charges by the jury at Leeds Crown Court on Friday after four days of deliberation.

Following the verdicts on Mr Murray, who was Mr Duckenfield's second-in-command on the day of the tragedy, the jury of four women and eight men retired to deliberate over the weekend.

But on Monday morning they told the judge they had been unable to reach a verdict.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Hooper, told the jury: "Not withstanding your very best efforts I understand you are not going to be able to reach a verdict in this case.

"In these circumstances I will discharge you. That will be the end of your involvement in the matter."

Death toll

He thanked the jury for the care they had given to considering the case and added: "You have approached the case with obvious interest and enthusiasm.

"Sadly you have not been able to reach a verdict but these things happen."

The private prosecution brought by the Hillsborough Family Support Group was based on the officers' decision not to close a tunnel leading to two pens.

The prosecution said the tragedy occurred after exit Gate C was opened to relieve pressure on the turnstiles, causing hundreds of people to flood into the pens.

The 96 victims of the tragedy were crushed to death in pens three and four.

The two men have since retired from South Yorkshire Police.

Families of the relatives who died in the disaster have packed the public gallery every day of the trial.

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