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  1. ITV Report

Hillsborough trials to be held at Preston Crown Court

Clockwise from top: Sir Norman Bettison, Peter Metcalf, Graham Mackrell, Alan Foster and Donald Denton Credit: PA

Six men charged following an investigation into the Hillsborough disaster can go on trial at Preston Crown Court, a judge has ruled.

Sir Norman Bettison, 61, the former West Yorkshire and Merseyside chief constable, appeared at the court today along with fellow retired police officers Donald Denton, 79, and Alan Foster, 70.

Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, 67, and solicitor Peter Metcalf, 67, who acted for South Yorkshire Police following the 1989 disaster, were also in court.

Mr Justice William Davis heard discussions about whether any trial should take place outside the North West of England to ensure the defendants get a fair hearing.

Alternatives proposed were either Leeds, Birmingham or London.

But the judge ruled the cases could remain at Preston.

Bettison, who was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police at the time of the tragedy, is charged with four offences of misconduct in a public office over alleged lies in accounts of his involvement in the disaster.

Mackrell, who was the safety officer for the football club, is charged with two offences involving the stadium safety certificate and a health and safety offence.

Denton, Foster and Metcalf are each charged with two offences of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice relating to amendments made to police officers' statements following the tragedy.

Match commander David Duckenfield, 72, also faces 95 counts of gross negligence manslaughter but will not be formally charged and appear in court with the other five until an application to lift a stay on prosecution at the High Court has been heard.