The jury at the new inquest into those who died at the Hillsborough disaster have ruled all 96 Liverpool fans were unlawfully killed, more than 27 years after the tragedy took place and four years since the original accidental death verdicts were quashed.
In what has become the longest legal case in British history, a jury of six women and three men have deliberated since 6 April after hearing evidence for two years heard regarding the deaths of supporters who were crushed during the FA Cup semi-final game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield.
The jury will now give their verdicts on the time and reasons for deaths for each of the 96 victims, aged between 10 and 67.
The coroner at the inquest, Lord Justice Goldring, told the jury they must "put to one side any personal issues which can sometimes arise" and answer 14 questions about the tragedy before reaching their verdict.
After unanimously answering yes on 13 of the questions, including if there were errors regarding the police's planning for the match that led to the deaths of the supporters, and if the response of the police and ambulance services also contributed to the deaths, Goldring told the jury he would accept a majority verdict on question six, which asked: Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed?
The jury also answered 'No' to the question "Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?", clearing the fans of any blame – which South Yorkshire Police attempted to pass onto in the wake of the tragedy.
Goldring previously told the jury that in order to return a verdict of unlawful killings for the 96 people who died, they would have to unanimously agree that South Yorkshire police chief superintendent David Duckenfield, who was in charge of the match that day, was responsible for their manslaughters as a result of gross negligence.
The original inquest's verdicts of accidental deaths was quashed in 2012 following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report. The report, published after the panel reviewed more than 450,000 pages of documents relating to the disaster, revealed that police and ambulance services altered statements in a bid to pass the blame for what happened onto "drunken Liverpool fans".
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have said they will now work closely with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body in response to the verdicts and will make a decision by the end of the year.
IPCC Deputy Chair, Rachel Cerfontyne, said: "The conclusion of the inquests is another milestone and a day when my thoughts are with the families and friends of those who died as a result of the disaster. Now the inquests have ended our role in providing documents and other material to support the Coroner is over.
"However the end of the inquests does not mark the end of the process. Our attention now focuses on concluding our criminal investigation into the aftermath of the disaster. This is by far the biggest and most complex investigation ever undertaken by the IPCC."
The Officer in Overall Command of Operation Resolve, Assistant Commissioner Jon Stoddart, said: "Today is a day for the families. They have fought hard for many years for these new inquests and today brings an end to this particular part of their journey. My thoughts and those of my team are with the families and friends of the 96 as they take stock of what has happened over the past two years at the court in Warrington and begin to understand the determinations of the jury.