The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dropped criminal charges brought against former chief constable Norman Bettison for his statements in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster.
The decision was made due to insufficient evidence and confirmed at a hearing at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday.
Bettison, who at the time was an officer with South Yorkshire Police, was charged last year with four offences of misconduct in public office.
The 62-year-old was alleged to have told lies about the "culpability of fans" in the 1989 tragedy, which saw 96 Liverpool supporters killed in a crush during their team's abandoned FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.
CPS director of legal services Sue Hemming said: "The CPS has a duty to keep all cases under continuing review. Since the original decision to charge Norman Bettison in June 2017 there have been a number of significant developments, which have affected the available evidence.
"These include changes in the evidence of two witnesses and the death of a third witness.
"Our latest review of the evidence has concluded the collective impact of these developments means there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.
"I appreciate this news will be disappointing for the families and the CPS will meet with them in person to explain the decision.
"I would remind all concerned that although criminal proceedings are no longer active against Norman Bettison, there are five other defendants facing charges relating to Hillsborough and each has the right to a fair trial.
"It is therefore extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information which could in any way prejudice those proceedings."
Speaking to reporters outside the court, Bettison said: "Such a devastating loss is deserving of all our sympathies and has always included mine.
"Nothing in my experience of the past six years has done anything to diminish that sympathy. My involvement in the events around Hillsborough has often been misrepresented, even in parliament.
"Since then I have been forced to deny strenuously that I have done anything wrong in the aftermath of the disaster. Today's outcome vindicates that position."
Five other men, including former South Yorkshire Police chief superintendent David Duckenfield, are due to stand trial next year for the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 people.
In a statement following the decision to drop charges against Bettison, Magaret Aspinall of the Hillsborough Family Support Group said: "We have grave concerns about the handling of this case by the CPS and can confirm that we will be exercising our right to an independent review under the Right to Review scheme.
"It is our view that the wrong charge was brought in the first place and we will be using the review process to argue this point strongly.
"We know how our supporters will feel about this decision and, of course, we all share all of those feelings."
18. November 2018
|Howell ends 11-year title drought to deny record-breaking Rodgers|
|Robben dismisses Bayern title talk|
|Huge blow for Redskins as QB Smith breaks tibia and fibula|
|Switzerland 5 Belgium 2: Seferovic treble crowns incredible comeback|
|Titans DC Pees taken to hospital during Colts game|
|Spain 1 Bosnia-Herzegovina 0: Debutant Mendez spares Morata´s blushes|
|Peterson goes sixth on rushing touchdowns list|
|Titans QB Mariota suffers elbow injury|
|Djokovic hails much-improved Zverev|
|Arnautovic refuses to discuss West Ham future after Austria win|
|Redskins QB Smith carted off after gruesome ankle injury|
|Jaguars shut down Jalen Ramsey trade rumours|
|Classy Zverev revels in victory, hails defeated Djokovic|
|Forget the Nations League was ever invented, jokes Northern Ireland boss O´Neill|
|Magnificent Zverev claims ATP Finals title|
|Mahrez double fires Algeria to 2019 AFCON|
|Mbappe hoping for French winner of Ballon d´Or|
|Northern Ireland 1 Austria 2: Last-gasp winner denies hosts maiden Nations League point|
|Teenager admits assaulting Wales great Thomas|
|Browns deny Condoleezza Rice is candidate for head coaching job|
|Koeman: Netherlands not favourites for Germany clash|
|Dalic ´not sad´ but blames fatigue for Croatia relegation|
|Proud Southgate hails England hero Kane as world´s best goalscorer|
|Last-gasp Exeter penalty try shatters Bristol|
|Mbappe dismisses talk of Cavani-Neymar rift|
|Keita will do ´great things´ for Liverpool – Mane|
|Mourinho needs time to fix Manchester United - Veron|
|Southgate sees progress as England reward loyal support|
|Miller hungry to ´knock out a Brit´ after Dinu demolition|
|Yasir, Hasan put Pakistan in control with five-wicket hauls|
|England´s resilience delights Kane as Three Lions secure Nations League Finals spot|
|Kane proves Nations League importance to England in Wembley decider|
|Muller, Hummels still important for Germany, says Low|
|Tevez in line for start in Copa Libertadores final second leg|
|England 2 Croatia 1: Kane able to secure Nations League Finals spot|
|It doesn´t sound real - Molinari stunned by 2018 exploits|
|Wales legend Thomas victim of alleged homophobic attack|
|Marquez crashes again as Dovizioso wins rain-interrupted Valencia GP|
|Warriors owner denies taking sides following Green-Durant spat|
|Alisson can become a global great, says Dida|
|The Sunday Seven - 7 Key Opta facts for NFL Week 11|
|Teen driver ´fine´ after sustaining spinal fracture in F3 crash|
|Willett wins first title since Masters triumph, Molinari tops Race to Dubai standings|
|Southgate overcomes ´stigma´ of being sacked to thrive with England|
|Anthony to Lakers ´not a question for myself´, says LeBron James|
|Warriors´ Stephen Curry staying ´cautious´ with injury recovery|
|Gunter hopes Bale can help family jet in to witness Wales record|
|Root pleased to practice what he preached|
|Tianjin Quanjian threaten action after Modeste returns to Cologne|
|I had to stop Kemba getting 70! – Jimmy Butler reflects on dramatic game-winner|
|Molinari wins Race to Dubai|
|Rooney: Some ex-players can´t come to terms with England doing well|
|In a spin: England´s win against Sri Lanka sets new record|
|Ogier wins sixth straight WRC title|
|Rogic, Kruse to miss Socceroos´ Lebanon friendly|
|Joerger has Kings´ ´full support´, says GM Divac|
|England seal series win over Sri Lanka|
|Butler´s heroics spoil Walker´s 60-point game as 76ers beat Hornets|
|He´s an honest guy – Djokovic defends Zverev after Finals controversy|
|Bonucci boos a ´mistake´ by fans, says Mancinima|
|Ronaldo still part of Portugal squad – Santos|
|Santos satisfied as Portugal reach Nations League Finals|
|Howell holds onto RSM Classic lead|
|McLeish optimistic as Scotland zero in on Nations League promotion|
|Luis Enrique rejects criticism of Spain star De Gea|
|Schmidt dismisses Hansen´s Ireland World Cup favourites claim as ´banter´|
|There are always imbeciles – Bonucci hits back at fans after frosty San Siro reception|
17. November 2018
|Portugal draw ´a step forward´ despite poor finishing – Mancini|
|Ireland were just too good - Read|
|Thomas at the double as France end losing streak|