Duckenfield: There was 'no conspiracy' about disaster

David Duckenfield Credit: PA

Andy Bonner - Hillsborough Correspondent

The police match commander at Hillsborough has said he thinks there was no conspiracy about the disaster.

Rajiv Menon QC, representing 75 of the bereaved families, suggested David Duckenfield's lie marked the start of a police cover-up.

Mr Duckenfield yesterday apologised unreservedly to relatives for telling FA boss Graham Kelly wrongly that Liverpool fans got in through a gate.

Credit: PA

The witness said that yesterday had been his first opportunity to apologise fully without fear of misrepresentation: "I have never spoken out of respect. I wanted to respect the dignity of the families and the deceased."

He said it never crossed his mind that some bereaved relatives had died before hearing his admissions.

Credit: PA

Asked if he thought late, drunken, ticketless Liverpool fans contributed to the disaster, the former Chief Superintendent told the court: "Many people on that day contributed to disaster and I hold a view that football fans played a part."

However, he admitted that, with hindsight, the mistakes he made on the day were a contributory factor to overcrowding, crushing, injury and death in the central pens.

Mr Duckenfield, who said he had post-traumatic stress disorder, added that he wouldn't say his "negligence" caused the disaster but that he would rather use the words "mistake" or "oversight."