Police Commander Not Guilty in Hillsborough Soccer Disaster

“These families, I look at their faces. Please God, give them some peace,” she said. “They deserve it.”

The BBC reported that in the courtroom, Chrissie Burke, whose father, Henry, died at Hillsborough, stood in the public gallery and said to the judge, Sir Peter Openshaw: “I would like to know who is responsible for my father’s death, because someone is.”

Rob Beckley, the assistant police commissioner who led the most recent investigation into the case, did not find fault with the outcome, saying “it is right” that there was a thorough investigation and a trial.

“What is wrong is that it has taken 30 years to get to this point,” he said.

Supporters of the two teams that were to play that day, Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, were segregated in separate parts of the stadium to prevent conflicts — a standard practice, then and now.

Many of the fans did not have assigned seats, but had bought tickets for fenced areas, or terraces, where they would watch the game while standing. That configuration, also standard at the time, was prohibited in the upper echelons of British soccer after the Hillsborough tragedy.

More than 10,000 Liverpool fans had bought tickets for a set of standing terraces that could be reached through just seven turnstiles, so entry was slow, and a growing and restless crowd formed outside the stadium, waiting to get in.

The deadly crush took place when police commanders decided to open an exit gate rather than make people go through the turnstiles, and then failed to order officers inside the stadium to steer people away from areas that were already full. Thousands rushed forward at once, crushing those already in the crowded pens.