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I caused Hillsborough deaths: police chief

By Kim Pilling

The Hillsborough police match commander has agreed that his failure to close a tunnel was the "direct cause" of the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans.

David Duckenfield (70) accepted he "froze" during the 1989 football disaster before he ordered the opening of an exit gate to relieve congestion outside the Leppings Lane turnstile.

The now retired police chief was responding to questions from Paul Greaney QC, representing the Police Federation, during his sixth day of evidence at the new Hillsborough inquests in Warrington.

Mr Greaney reminded Mr Duckenfield of his earlier evidence to Christina Lambert QC, counsel for the inquest, about his state of mind after the opening of Gate C when he told her: "It was a momentous decision and your decision is such that you do not think of the next step. My mind for a moment went blank."

Asked again if he had "froze", Mr Duckenfield said: "It appears to be a distinct possibility."

A series of questions were put to him by Mr Greaney before he was finally asked if his failures on the day were "the direct cause of the deaths of 96 persons in the Hillsborough tragedy."

Mr Duckenfield replied: "Yes sir."

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