Former chief constable Norman Bettison and four other men have arrived at court where they are due to appear charged with offences related to the Hillsborough disaster and its aftermath.
Bettison, 61, who was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police at the time of the tragedy, will appear at Warrington Magistrates’ Court along with fellow retired police officers Donald Denton and Alan Foster, former Sheffield Wednesday secretary Graham Mackrell and solicitor Peter Metcalf.
The defendants walked past family members of the 96 victims of the disaster who had gathered at the entrance of the court.
Speaking outside court, Evelyn Mills, whose brother Peter McDonnell, 21, died in the 1989 tragedy, said: “This is the beginning of another milestone in the history of Hillsborough.”
Christine Burke, whose father Henry, 47, was among the 96 victims, said: “There is still a long journey but we will see it through.”
Match commander David Duckenfield, 72, faces 95 counts of gross negligence manslaughter but will not be formally charged until an application to lift a stay imposed after a prosecution in 2000 has been approved by a High Court judge.
Bettison is charged with four offences of misconduct in a public office over alleged lies in accounts of his involvement.
Mackrell, who was the safety officer for the football club, is charged with two offences involving the stadium safety certificate and a health and safety offence.
Denton, Foster and Metcalf, who was the force’s solicitor, are each charged with two offences of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice relating to amendments made to police officers’ statements following the tragedy.
Ninety-six Liverpool fans were crushed to death in pens at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough Stadium on April 15 1989 as their FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest began.
Last month the Crown Prosecution Service said there would be no manslaughter prosecution over the death of the 96th casualty, Anthony Bland, as he died almost four years later, and under the law in 1989 his death is now “out of time” to be prosecuted.