May 13, 2019

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Hillsborough: Safety Officer fined

The CPS has announced that Graham Mackrell, former Sheffield Wednesday Club Secretary, has been sentenced to a fine of £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000 for his role in the Hillsborough disaster 30 years ago.

HillsboroughIn April he was convicted of failing to discharge his duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

He was accused of failing to take reasonable care to ensure that the turnstile allocation and ticketing arrangements for the Leppings Lane end of the Hillsborough stadium did not result in large crowds building up.

Sue Hemming, CPS Legal Director, said: “The events at Hillsborough 30 years ago have caused unimaginable suffering to the families of those who lost their lives and of everybody affected by the tragic events of that day.

“I recognise Graham Mackrell’s sentencing is an important milestone. This has been a complex and harrowing case and the team would like to commend the ongoing bravery and dignity that the families have shown throughout proceedings.”

Judge Sir Peter Openshaw said that Mr Mackrell: “Should have realised there was an obvious risk that so many spectators could not pass through seven turnstiles in time for kick-off.”

But he added that his offence did not directly cause the disaster inside the ground.

He said: “The defendant’s offence was at least one of the direct causes of the crush at the turnstiles outside the ground but it was not a direct cause of the crush on the terraces inside the ground that resulted in the deaths of 96 spectators and injury to many more, to which the crush outside the ground did no more than set the scene.”

During the sentencing, Judge Openshaw also pointed out that: “30 years ago, the role of Safety Officer at football clubs was not defined, indeed it was scarcely even recognised; no other club in the country then had a dedicated professional Safety Officer.

“Before the disaster at Hillsborough there was no national training for such a role; there was no professional organisation for Safety Officers to identify and to spread best practice”, he added.

Mr Mackrell was formally appointed to be the club’s Safety Officer, shortly after commencing his role as Club Secretary.

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