david ducknefield
David Duckenfield admitted his failure to close tunnel led to the deaths of 96 people Getty

The senior police officer in charge on the day of the Hillsborough disaster agreed his failure to act and close a tunnel led to the death of 96 people.

Speaking on the sixth day at the Hillsborough inquests in Cheshire, David Duckenfield said he did not think clearly about the impact when he opened the exit gate at the stadium to where crowds of Liverpool fans were waiting outside due to "the pressure he was under".

Paul Greaney QC, for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said a child of "average intelligence" would have known better. But Duckenfield told the jury he had "no idea" the supporters would go through the tunnel that led to the packed stadium.

When asked if his failure to take steps to close the tunnel entrance was the direct cause of the deaths of 96 people, Duckenfield replied: "Yes sir."

During the 1989 Taylor Inquiry, Duckenfield said he made the right decisions on the day but now accepts "grave" errors were made. He admitted to being confused when giving evidence at the original inquiry into the disaster, which happened at the beginning of the FA cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989.

Duckenfield, now 70, had only been promoted to Hillsborough commander just three weeks before the game after having policing experience only in criminal investigations.

He said in hindsight it was a "serious mistake" to have accepted a promotion to match commander. He previously said he suffered from post-traumatic stress. Hillsborough remains the worst stadium-related disaster in British history.