Sunderland Hillsborough disaster witness says collapse of latest court case is 'devastating'

A Sunderland football fan who witnessed the Hillsborough disaster has spoken to his disappointment after the latest court case collapsed.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 2:50 pm

Ray Matthews was speaking after former chief superintendent Donald Denton, 83, retired detective chief inspector Alan Foster, 74, and Peter Metcalf 71, who was solicitor for the force in 1989, were acquitted after judge Mr Justice William Davis ruled there was no case to answer.

The three were each accused of two counts of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice and it was alleged they amended officers’ statements to minimise the blame on South Yorkshire Police following the disaster at the FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989, in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

The judge said the amended statements were intended for a public inquiry into safety at sports grounds, but that was not a course of public justice.

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Ray Matthews

Ray Matthews was a member of the Northern League Management Committee when he managed to secure tickets for the FA Cup semi-final clash between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

"I just think it is devastating – it is so unfair for the families who have lost people,” he said.

"I feel as if the families of the people who passed away have been let down. There have been so many years fighting for justice.

"I am very disappointed but the decision has been taken – the families have to live with it now.”

The only person to be convicted as a result of the probes is former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, who was found guilty of failing to ensure the health and safety of fans arriving at the ground.

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Match commander David Duckenfield was charged with gross negligence manslaughter but at a retrial, while charges of misconduct in a public office against Sir Norman Bettison, a chief inspector in 1989 who went on to become chief constable of Merseyside and West Yorkshire, were dropped in August 2018.Ray is still haunted by memories of the terrible day: “I will never forget it,” he said.

"We were at the corner flag, me and my brother and they were bringing victims down to us.

“My brother said ‘There is a woman turning blue’ and the next thing we knew the blanket was put over her – she was gone.”

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