Hillsborough safety officer Graham Mackrell fined £6,500 over turnstile arrangements

Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell has been fined for a health and safety offence relating to the day of the Hillsborough disaster

Mr Mackrell was safety officer for the club at the time of the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

During an 11 week trial, the court heard that Mr Mackrell failed to make sure there were enough turnstiles to prevent large crowds building up outside the ground.

He has been fined £6,500 and ordered to pay £5,000 towards prosecution costs.

Graham Mackrell was safety officer for the club at the time of the 1989 FA Cup semi-final. Credit: PA

During the trial, stadium safety expert John Cutlack told the court there were not sufficient turnstiles for fans on the day.

But Jason Beer QC, defending Mackrell, argued the build-up outside was caused by other factors, including a lack of police cordons and the unusual arrival pattern of fans.

Eight character references for Mackrell were read to the jury, including statements from former England caretaker boss Howard Wilkinson.

In his statement, Mr Wilkinson, chairman of the League Managers Association, said he had worked with Mackrell when he was manager of Sheffield Wednesday between 1983 and 1988, and described him as "competent, proficient and trustworthy".

96 Liverpool fans died following the crush on April 15, 1989. Credit: PA

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died following the crush in the central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace at the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, after exit gates to the ground were opened to relieve a build up of crowds outside.

About half a dozen family members sat in the public gallery and nine members of the press were in court for the hearing, with others watching from an annexe.