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Hillsborough five to face trial

Filed: Friday, 29th June 2018
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United's former Company Secretary Graham Mackrell is to stand trial over historical offences relating to the Hillsborough disaster.

Mackrell, who was employed by West Ham during the mid-1990s was one of five individuals informed by the CPS this morning they will be facing charges relating to the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters in the 1989 tragedy.

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The other parties to be charged with various criminal offences relating to the incident are David Duckenfield, the South Yorkshire Police's former match day commander; Donald Denton, a former South Yorkshire Police chief superintendent; Alan Foster, a former chief inspector and Peter Metcalf, a one-time solicitor for SYP.

Further, charges relating to a sixth individual - ex Merseyside and South Yorkshire Police chief constable Norman Bettison - have been adjourned until August, following an application by Bettison to have four charges relating to misconduct dismissed.

Mackrell, who was Secretary of Sheffield Wednesday at the time of the Hillsborough disaster is charged on two counts relating to alleged breaches of safety legislation - although a third charge has been dropped by the CPS.

He was subsequently employed by West Ham, but quit his position at the club in 1999 after the "Mannygate" incident which cost the club a place in the Worthington Cup semi finals.

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West Ham were ordered to replay a 1999 quarter final tie against Aston Villa they had already won, after it was determined that substitute Manny Omoyinmi had featured for Gillingham in an earlier round during a short-term loan.

Mackrell, who was West Ham's Company Secretary shouldered the blame for the administrative error that had been attributed to secretary Alison O'Dowd, who also resigned in the wake of the furore.

Then-Chairman Terry Brown said: "We feel Graham has made an honourable decision but it seems a high price to pay for what was a small and genuine administration error."

Mackrell added: "I felt in the light of the circumstances regarding the decision to make the club replay that I am the person who is ultimately responsible for administration and it was the honourable thing for me to offer my resignation to the board.

"I'm conscious of the supporters' disappointment at the game having to be replayed and in the light of that, I felt that something along these lines was appropriate. Eventually you have to take some responsibility in life for the actions that go on and the people that work for you.

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"Obviously we would not have played the player unless we'd thought he was eligible to play. It has transpired that information was wrong and we are now paying a heavy price for that. It was a little error but unfortunately it has had large consequences for the club."

West Ham - who had already secured passage to the Worthington Cup semi finals - went on to lose the replayed game against Aston Villa. The trial of Mackrell and his four co-defendants is scheduled to begin in January 2019.

Related News

   arrow   Hillsborough five to face trial [29th Jun 2018]
   arrow   In brief - Thursday's news round-up [29th Jun 2017]
   arrow   'Mannygate' officer charged with Hillsborough crime [28th Jun 2017]
   arrow   City fans vote against being reinstated to the FA Cup  [4th Feb 2015]
   arrow   'Mannygate' officer back in court [16th Jun 2014]
   arrow   Sinclair signs new deal [6th Oct 1999]
   arrow   Charles Signs [6th Oct 1999]

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