Jury retires in trial of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield

The jury in the trial of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield hasretired to consider its verdicts.

The seven women and three men on the jury were sent out at Preston Crown Court on Monday after hearing more than six weeks of evidence in the case.

The retired chief superintendent, 75, denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool supporters at the FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989.

Ninety-six men, women and children died following the crush on the terrace but, under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of the 96th victim Tony Bland as he died more than a year and a day after the disaster.

The court has heard Duckenfield ordered exit gates to the stadium be opened after crowds built up outside the turnstiles, allowing fans to head through exit gate C and down the tunnel to the central pens where the fatal crush happened.

A memorial at Liverpool FC's Anfield ground for the Hillsborough disaster Credit: PA Images

Richard Matthews QC, prosecuting, said the match commander's personalresponsibility lay at "the heart" of the case.

But, Benjamin Myers QC, defending, said the former South Yorkshire Police officer had become a "target of blame" and the prosecution was unfair.

The jury were warned by judge Sir Peter Openshaw to put aside the emotion as they considered the case.

He said: "The deaths of 96 spectators, many of whom were very young, is, of course, a profound human tragedy attended by much anguish and anger which for many has not passed with time.

"But, as both counsel have advised you and I will now direct you, as you goabout your duty you must put aside your emotions and sympathies, either for the bereaved families or indeed for Mr Duckenfield, and decide the case with a cold, calm and dispassionate review of the evidence that you have heard in court."

Duckenfield stood trial in January but the jury was discharged after failing toreach a verdict.