A solicitor is among six people who have been charged with criminal offences in relation to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and its aftermath, the Crown Prosecution Service announced today.
Peter Metcalf acted for South Yorkshire Police during the Taylor inquiry and the first inquests. He is charged with doing acts with intent to pervert the course of public justice relating to material changes made to witness statements.
The CPS says Metcalf was instructed by Municipal Mutual Insurance to represent the interests of the force at the Taylor Inquiry and in any civil litigation that might result from the Hillsborough disaster. According to the CPS statement, he reviewed the accounts provided by the officers and made suggestions for alterations, deletions and amendments. The CPS alleges these were directly relevant to the Salmon letter issued by the Taylor Inquiry and for which there appears to be no justification.
Also charged are:
- David Duckenfield, who was the Match Commander for South Yorkshire Police on the day of the disaster;
- Graham Henry Mackrell, who was Sheffield Wednesday Football Club’s company secretary and safety officer at the time of the disaster in 1989;
- Former Chief Superintendent Donald Denton of South Yorkshire Police;
- Former Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster of South Yorkshire Police;
- Norman Bettison, a former officer with South Yorkshire Police and subsequently Chief Constable of Merseyside and West Yorkshire Police.
All defendants except Duckenfield will appear at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on 9 August.
Sue Hemming, head of the CPS special crime and counter terrorism division, said: ‘Criminal proceedings have now commenced and the defendants have a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.’
According to the Law Society’s Find a Solicitor service, Metcalf was admitted as a solicitor in June 1977 and now works as a locum.
The Gazette called Metcalf’s office and was told he has no comment to make about Hillsborough.
An SRA spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of the CPS’s statement. We continue to work closely with other authorities involved in this matter. We will now await the conclusion of this case before deciding on appropriate action.’