Author Topic: * Inquests 2015/16 - News Only Updates *  (Read 67594 times)

Offline MichaelA

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* Inquests 2015/16 - News Only Updates *
« on: March 28, 2014, 11:38:38 AM »
This thread is for 'news only' updates. We will only allow updates from legitimate media sources who have carried out the necessary due diligence with regard to the Attorney General's directive on contempt of court. Please do not post speculative replies to anything in this thread, or indeed elsewhere on RAWK or on social media.


We want to see charges.


We want to see convictions.


We want to see Justice For The Ninety Six.
« Last Edit: April 6, 2016, 02:03:26 PM by 24/7 »

Offline MichaelA

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Re: Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2014, 11:40:10 AM »
Liverpool Echo 28th March:



A further nine people have been identified as suspects in the investigations into the Hillsborough disaster - taking the total number of suspects up to 22.
Criminal investigation Operation Resolve has revealed it has started interviews with 13 people under criminal caution.


Four of these were joint interviews with police watchdog the IPCC, which yesterday revealed officers in the process of interviewing 13 retired and serving police officers under criminal caution for offences including misconduct in public office, perverting the course of justice and manslaughter .
Operation Resolve has identified six retired police officers and seven people from other organisations as suspects and started interviews with them in the past two weeks.


In an update from the IPCC today the commission revealed it had received further correspondence concerning allegations of police surveillance on Hillsborough campaigners.
It said a specific allegation had been made concerning West Midlands Police officers and was being investigated.
A spokesman for the IPCC said: "It is alleged that an individual was followed during the original inquest by two people who identified themselves as West Midlands Police officers."
The commission has also prioritised investigative work into White's News Agency after a request by coroner Lord Justice Goldring.
Officers will look into suggestions the agency received information from senior police officers about the behaviour of Liverpool fans which led to negative reports in the press.
Deputy chair of the IPCC Rachel Cerfontyne said she expected more suspects to be identified as investigations continued.
She said: "We have moved into the phase of conducting suspect interviews.
"These are interviews under criminal caution of individuals who are suspected of committing offences such as perverting the course of justice, misconduct in a public office and manslaughter.
"These are the first tranche of individuals we have deemed suspects. I do not expect them to be the last."


Offline MichaelA

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Re: Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2014, 11:40:52 AM »
IPCC March 2014 Update - pdf download.

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 01:37:30 PM »
For those wishing to follow details in depth.

The Hillsborough Inquest website is found here. Over time it will have transcripts and evidence published on it.

There is also a twitter feed which updates when information becomes available on the website.

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Offline electricghost

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 03:02:41 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-inquests-jury-six-men-6897404

Jury of six men and five women appointed in first stage of fresh Hillsborough inquests

The 11 jurors responsible for deciding how 96 Liverpool fans died at Hillsborough were appointed today in the first stage of fresh inquests into the tragedy.

A jury of six men and five women were selected from more than 100 potential jurors at the landmark first day of the new inquests in Warrington.

Earlier relatives described the occasion as “historic” and spoke to the ECHO of their mixed emotions ahead of the hearings, expected to last up to 12 months.

Families and legal teams packed the specially converted courtroom in Birchwood Park as the jury selection took place.

Speaking on her way into the hearing this morning Amy McGlone, whose dad Alan died in the 1989 tragedy, said: “I don't really know how I’m feeling.

“We've waited for this for such a long time and now it's here it's a funny feeling.

“I had no sleep last night, I'm nervous, I'm shaking and I feel sick.”

Evelyn Mills, who lost son Peter McDonnell in the disaster, said: “I do feel apprehensive but this is what I've campaigned for for 25 years.

“I'm feeling optimistic and brighter this time.

“There's a different feel to it now and I'm really hopeful.”

Selection of a panel of 10 reserves also began, and jurors were told they would be formally sworn in tomorrow.

Any juror where a problem emerges overnight could be changed in the morning.

Potential jurors were asked to indicate if they were supporters of Liverpool, Nottingham Forest or Sheffield Wednesday football clubs.

Outside the hearing Louise Brookes, sister of victim Andrew Brookes, said: “I am really nervous and cautious but hopeful

.“We can't assume anything. We're keen to get things started, it's been a quarter of a century we've been waiting for it.”

Sandra Stringer, whose son Paul Carlile died at Hillsborough, added: “I'm just grateful we've got to this day because I never thought it would happen.

“I just thank God we're here.”

Steve Kelly, who lost brother Michael in the tragedy, said he was feeling nervous.

He added: “We hope it's the beginning of the end for us.

“It's a very stressful day.”

Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group Margaret Aspinall said the families had a sense of trepidation.

Mrs Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the disaster, said: “It’s nice to be able to get to the start of these inquests.“It has been a terribly long journey and hopefully this is the beginning of the end of it. I feel like I’ve given my whole life to this.”

She added: “The inquests are going to be very, very difficult – not just for the families but for the survivors who have suffered a lot.

“It is an awful thing to go through but it is something we have to go through to get the whole truth.

“The only thing I hope and pray is the families get some peace at the end of it and have truth, transparency and honesty.

“That’s all we’ve ever wanted and hopefully we will get peace for families and survivors.”

Sheila Coleman, from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said the start of the hearings was a “historic day.”

Ms Coleman said the inquests would be very difficult for the families.

She added: “It is like putting your head down and walking into the wind.

“You just get on with it, which is what we have done for so many years, and we really did face a gale force wind for many years.

“Every time we got blown back we would start walking again and we will continue walking.

“The families have suffered – they are battle scarred now.”Mrs Aspinall thanked the people of Liverpool for their support of the families.

She said: “I look at our city as a whole – not just the club, Everton fans as well, the whole city and everybody who has supported families for all these years.

“Without them families couldn’t have stood up and done this.

“No matter what transpires at the end of this journey with their support we know people will always remember the 96.”

She added: “People say to me, ‘honestly, do you think you’ll get what you want, do you think we’ll get the whole truth’?

“I can’t answer that.

“All I know is that’s what we’re fighting for, not just for our loved ones but for the 24,000 fans who were there – they deserve the truth, they all deserve the truth.”
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #5 on: April 1, 2014, 12:29:59 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-26826080

Hillsborough inquests: Coroner makes opening statement

Fresh inquests into the deaths of 96 football fans killed in the Hillsborough disaster will "consider the experiences of each", the coroner has told jurors.

Making an opening statement, Lord Justice Goldring said the tragedy was "the worst ever disaster at a British sports stadium".

The disaster unfolded on 15 April 1989 during Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

The hearing could last a year.

At the coroner's court in Warrington, Lord Justice Goldring said: "The disaster is seared into the memories of the very many people affected by it, most notably of course the families of the 96 people who died."

He told the jury panel of seven women and four men that the findings in the original inquests were quashed in December 2012.

"A new inquiry was needed, we are conducting the new or fresh inquiry.

"In doing so, we are not concerned with whether what was decided at the previous inquiries was right or wrong."

'Pressure in pens'
 
Outlining the events of the day, Lord Justice Goldring said: "Around the time of the kick-off, a terrible crush developed in two pens, within the... terrace at the west end of the stadium - the Leppings Lane end.

"That's where the Liverpool fans were standing."

"The pressure in the pens built up. Many of those in the pens suffered terrible crushing injuries."

He said that witnesses' memories "will inevitably have faded" in almost 25 years since the disaster.

Explaining the role of the jury, the coroner said: "As part of your task, you will, I anticipate, have to consider the underlying circumstances which contributed to the cause of these deaths, whether opportunities were lost which might have prevented the deaths or saved lives."

Earlier, the inquest listened for six minutes while the names of the 96 victims were read out by Christina Lambert QC, counsel to the inquests.

Verdicts of accidental death from the original Hillsborough inquest in March 1991 were quashed in December 2012, after the Hillsborough Independent Panel delivered its final report on the disaster earlier that year.

The coroner told the jury that a new inquest was ordered following a "campaign by bereaved families".

Over the course of the hearing, jurors are expected to hear evidence on themes including stadium safety, emergency planning, crowd management and the response of the emergency services.

The inquests are being held in a purpose-built courtroom, the biggest in England and Wales, in an office building in Birchwood Park, in Warrington.
Just clicked on the main board and my virus scanner came back with this

"When we visited this site, we found it exhibited one or more risky behaviors."


:lmao

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Offline electricghost

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #6 on: April 1, 2014, 06:46:20 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-disaster-inquests-should-duckenfield-6903180

Hillsborough Disaster inquests: 'Should Duckenfield have been in charge?', coroner asks newly sworn-in jury


The jury in the new Hillsborough disaster inquests were told they might be asked to consider if it was a "sensible decision" to appoint Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield as match commander of the 1989 game.

In his opening of the inquests coroner Lord Justice Goldring also told the jury the capacity of the Leppings Lane End of the Sheffield stadium, where the fatal crush happened, was "substantially too high".

He said Chief Supt Duckenfield had never commanded a match at the Hillsborough stadium before.

He said: "He certainly did not gave the wealth of experience of his immediate predecessor Chief Superintendent Mole."

The court heard Chief Supt Duckenfield had been promoted on March 27 1989, just weeks before the FA Cup semi final, and it was decided immediately he should take over from Chief Supt Mole as match commander.

Lord Justice Goldring told the jury: "Whether that was a sensible decision may be something for you to have to consider."

The court heard after the 1988 semi-final, also between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest, fans reported pressure and crushing within the pens.

But, the coroner said, there were no reports of serious injuries and senior officials within the police, the club and the Football Association regarded the match as a success - using it as a model for the 1989 game.

He said police drew up detailed plans for the supporters arriving at the match on April 15 1989 to ensure fans of the two teams were kept apart - in response to "concerns about hooliganism".
 

He said: "It may be said by some that was a reasonable concern given the extent of serious soccer hooliganism at the time.

"It may be said by others that police planning was too focused on problems of disorder and insufficiently focused on issues of crowd safety."

He also told the jury they would hear evidence that crush barriers did not meet with standards in stadium safety guide the Green Guide.

He said: "In 1986 one barrier,  barrier 144, was partly removed at the suggestion of South Yorkshire Police.

"Evidence will be heard that their heights were not all in accordance with the Green Guide and neither was their spacing.

"You will hear evidence of the effect removing part of barrier 144 had on forces generated elsewhere in the pens."








http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-disaster-inquest-families-distressed-6904364

Hillsborough families 'distressed and angry to this day' says coroner


The coroner in the new Hillsborough inquests told the jury relatives "remain distressed and angry to this day" about the way they were treated after the disaster.

Lord Justice Goldring summarised the case to the newly sworn in jury in his opening to the case today.

He told the jury the previous coroner Dr Stefan Popper had ordered the bodies of the victims were kept in the Sheffield Wednesday gymnasium rather than moved to hospital mortuaries.


The identification process began at 9.30pm and a boys club was turned into a reception centre for families.

LJ Goldring said most found the experience "dreadful".

He said: "Many of the bereaved remain distressed and angry to this day about the way in which they and the bodies of their loved ones were treated on that evening."

The court heard Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield had given the order to open the exit gates of the stadium before the fatal crush on April 15 1989.

But he later told the chief executive of the Football Association Graham Kelly the gate had been forced open by fans.

Mr Kelly repeated the information in a radio interview and it was picked up by other media outlets.

LJ Goldring said: "There is no question of Gate C having been forced at 2.52pm, when the main group of fans came in.

"As I have said, Chief Superintendent Duckenfield ordered that it be opened.

"This early account resulted in some seriously inaccurate reporting of events.

"You will want to consider why Chief Superintendent Duckenfield said what he did."

The jury was also told the first call from police to ambulance control, shortly after 3.06pm,  requested just a "few ambulances" after reporting "pushing and shoving".

The request was quickly changed to a "fleet of ambulances".

The first description of the event as a "major incident" was not until 3.21pm when an ambulance officer at the scene contacted control.

Lord Justice Goldring said: "Still the major incident procedures oft he emergency services, including the police, were not fully enacted."

The coroner told the jury that among the victims were a father and son, three pairs of brothers, a pair of sisters and friends who had gone to watch the football together.
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #7 on: April 2, 2014, 09:36:02 AM »

Police officer in charge at Hillsborough was inexperienced, coroner tells inquest
Lord Justice Goldring uses opening address to set out facts as to how 96 people died at football match

The South Yorkshire police officer in charge of the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough football ground, at which 96 Liverpool supporters died, had never commanded a match there before, the inquest jury has been told.

Ch Supt David Duckenfield was promoted less than three weeks earlier to take operational command of the match, replacing Ch Supt Brian Mole, an experienced Hillsborough match commander.

After the match was stopped at 3.06pm with people already dying in the terrible crush on the central pens of Hillsborough's Leppings Lane terrace, an off-duty assistant chief constable, Walter Jackson, went to ask Duckenfield what was happening.

"Duckenfield said that he could not explain," the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, told the jury.

Christina Lambert QC, for the coroner, had opened proceedings at the converted courtroom in a Warrington business park by reading out the names of each person who died in the crush at Hillsborough. In alphabetical order, from John Anderson, who was 62 when he died, to Graham Wright, who was 17, the 96 names took Lambert more than six minutes to read. About 300 relatives of those men, women and children sat listening in complete silence.

In his opening address to the inquest, Goldring set out some basic facts as to how the 96 men, women and children died. The jury heard that at 3.15pm on the day of the tragedy, Duckenfield told Graham Kelly, the chief executive of the Football Association, which commissioned the semi-final at Hillsborough, that Liverpool fans had forced a gate open to get into the match, when in fact he, Duckenfield, had ordered it to be opened to relieve a crush that had built up outside the ground.

"You will want to consider why Ch Supt Duckenfield said what he did," the coroner told the jury. As people staggered on to the pitch and dead bodies and injured people began to be pulled out of the pens, the police did not recognise the scale of the unfolding disaster for some time, Goldring explained.

The South Yorkshire metropolitan ambulance service (since reorganised into the Yorkshire ambulance service) did not implement the system of triage, under which, when a major incident is declared, control is taken and priority given to those most in need of treatment.

Even after 3.21pm, when Paul Eason, a station officer at Hillsborough, radioed the ambulance control centre to say he wanted to declare a major incident, "Still," the coroner said, "the major incident procedures of the emergency services (including the police) were not fully enacted."

Goldring explained that Sheffield Wednesday's ground was in breach of the official Home Office Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds, known as the Green Guide. The capacity officially designated as safe for the Leppings Lane terrace, to which Liverpool's supporters were allocated, was substantially too high, Goldring said. He explained that the jury will hear evidence as to whether 10,100 spectators, the capacity allowed, was ever the appropriate figure and whether it should have been retained despite changes to the standing area, particularly its division by metal fences into pens.

This began to be done after the 1981 semi-final, in which 38 Tottenham Hotspur supporters were injured in a crush on the Leppings Lane terrace. The safety certificate the club required for its ground was not amended with a new capacity figure to take account of the changes, Goldring said.

More significantly, the coroner explained, although 10,100 was set as the overall total for the Leppings Lane terracing, there was no means of counting how many supporters were in each individual pen.

From the police control box overlooking the Leppings Lane terrace, which Duckenfield commanded, the only ways to tell if the pens were full were by looking down or making use of the CCTV system and forming an impression of how crowded [the central] pens 3 and 4 seemed to be.

The crush barriers on the Leppings Lane terrace, designed to prevent too much force building up within a standing crowd, did not conform to the Green Guide, Goldring said. The barriers were not all as high, or spaced properly, as designated in the official guidance.

A particular barrier, number 144, in pen 3, in which most of the 96 people died, had been removed at the suggestion of the South Yorkshire police in 1986, Goldring said. He told the jury: "You will no doubt have to consider whether barrier 144 should have been removed."

The coroner outlined how the 96 Liverpool supporters came to die in the crush in those central pens. There were 23 turnstiles to process all 24,000 Liverpool supporters with standing and seating tickets for the west stand, including seven for the 10,100 with tickets to stand on the Leppings Lane terrace.

Explaining that the two clubs' supporters were given different ends of the ground and different transport arrangements for reaching the ground, Goldring said this was because of concerns over hooliganism and fighting.

"It may be said by some that this was a reasonable concern, given the extent of serious soccer hooliganism at the time," he pointed out. "It may be said by others that police planning was too focused on problems of disorder and insufficiently focused on issues of crowd safety."

As Liverpool supporters arrived at Hillsborough, they did not get through the turnstiles quickly, the police did not form a cordon to ensure there was an orderly queue, and a crush developed outside.

Duckenfield ordered the exit gate to be opened after Supt Roger Marshall, the officer in charge outside the Leppings Lane end, radioed to request it three times, saying that otherwise someone would be killed. When the order was given, the coroner said, "no instructions were given to anybody about managing the crowd which was about to enter".

Pens 3 and 4 were relatively full, but police officers were not instructed to, and did not direct people away from a wide, downward sloping tunnel which led directly into those central pens.

Goldring said the jury "will consider the actions of the officers in the police control room and elsewhere", including: "Could or should anything, or anything more, have been done to guard against a dangerous situation developing in pens 3 and 4, for example by preventing access to the tunnel."

An influx of supporters described by one policeman as "a river," came into the pens, and the crush was so great that one of the crush barriers at the front of pen 3, numbered 124A, broke under the pressure of the crowd behind it, Goldring said.

"The crush in the pens, particularly at the front, was intolerable," the coroner told the jury. "You will hear harrowing accounts from fans subjected to this pressure who survived."

The coroner for the first inquest, which was quashed in December 2012 after a campaign by the bereaved families, ordered the blood of those who died to be tested for alcohol. That, Goldring said, "is not normal". The measurements showed that more than half the victims had no or negligible alcohol in their blood, and most of the rest showed "modest social drinking associated with a sporting event".

Families anxious for news of their loved ones waited first in a damp, dismal local boys' club, where their experience was dreadful, Goldring said. When they finally went to the football club's gymnasium at the Hillsborough ground, where the bodies were ordered by the first coroner to be held, to identify the victims, the family members were asked about whether they had been drinking, or misbehaving.

"Many of the bereaved remain distressed and angry to this day about the way they and the bodies of their loved ones were treated," the coroner said.

Having explained that the South Yorkshire police, seven former senior officers including Duckenfield and Marshall, the Police Federation, the FA, Sheffield Wednesday and the Yorkshire ambulance service are all legally represented as "interested parties", Goldring promised that the inquest "will not degenerate into the adversarial battle which scarred the original inquest".

Over the next few days of the inquest, which is scheduled to last a year, bereaved family members will give personal accounts describing their relatives who died. "The accounts which their relatives will give about their lives, personalities, hopes and plans will be extremely moving," Goldring said. "There is no doubt that this one disaster encompasses very many individual human tragedies."

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/apr/01/police-officer-hillsborough-inexperienced-coroner-tells-inquest-jury?CMP=twt_gu
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Offline snez1

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #8 on: April 2, 2014, 10:46:51 AM »
Does anyone know of any of this is being televised?

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #9 on: April 2, 2014, 10:52:53 AM »
http://twitter.com/Fanxxxxtastic

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #10 on: April 2, 2014, 11:46:58 AM »
Ta mate.

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #11 on: April 2, 2014, 12:00:08 PM »
Hillsborough accounts doctored to remove criticism of police, inquest told
Jurors must decide if corrections were part of policy to blame fans after 96 died at FA Cup match in 1989, says coroner

police officers' accounts of the Hillsborough disaster were amended to remove comments criticising police leadership or abusive remarks about fans, an inquest has heard.

Jurors sitting on the inquest into the deaths of 96 football fans at the FA Cup semi-final on 15 April 1989 will have to consider whether the changes were part of a policy to blame fans and deflect criticism from the police, coroner Lord Justice Goldring said.

Senior ranks and lawyers at South Yorkshire police reviewed all self-taken statements by officers present at the disaster and amended some of them before forwarding them on to West Midlands police, which were investigating the tragedy the inquest jury was told.

The coroner said: "Over the years between 1989 and today it has become known that a large number of statements were amended in the review. The amendments vary in type and significance.

"Some simply involve corrections of language and factual error. Others involve removing expletives. A number involved the removal of comments criticising the police leadership on the day of the disaster. Others were of deletions of passages denouncing poor and defective radio communications.

"A small number were amended to remove comments which were critical or even abusive of the fans at the match."

Goldring said the jurors would have to consider whether the amendments affect their view of the reliability of early written statements given by officers.

He added they would have to ask why the were amended to decide whether they were innocent alterations or "part of a policy of blaming fans in order to deflect criticism from the police".

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/apr/02/hillsborough-inquest-police-accounts-criticism?CMP=twt_gu
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #12 on: April 2, 2014, 04:52:14 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-jury-hear-key-topics-6909992

Hillsborough jury hear key topics to consider during inquests

Lord Justice Goldring sets out for jury the issues anticipated to feature during Warrington hearings

 Jurors in the Hillsborough inquests were told the key topics they would have to consider before reaching a verdict.

As he finished his opening statements this morning, coroner Lord Justice Goldring set out the questions the jury might want to consider after they had heard all the evidence in the inquiry into the 96 deaths.

He said the issues which he “anticipated” would come up included the layout of the Hillsborough stadium in 1989 and the layout of the turnstiles which Liverpool fans entered the stadium through at the Leppings Lane end.

He said they would want to consider whether the layout contributed to the disaster or the deaths and if dangers should have been appreciated beforehand.

The coroner said the jury would have to consider the conduct of some fans, excluding those who died, and whether their behaviour played any part in the disaster.

He said: “I phrase it in that way because I do not believe that anyone will suggest that the conduct of those who died in any way contributed to their deaths.”

He said the jury would want to look at whether steps were taken to control the allocation and level of the crowd to stop the two central pens becoming overcrowded.

He said: “Could anything more have been done to prevent pens 3 and 4 becoming over-crowded? If so, by whom?”

The jury were also told to bear in mind how the approach of fans to the turnstiles was managed and whether a crush had developed outside the entrance.

LJ Goldring asked them to consider whether anything, or anything more, could have been done to minimise the risks.

He added: “When the exit gates were opened to relieve the crush at the turnstiles, should anything, or anything more, have been done to avoid the risk of a dangerous situation developing in pens 3 and 4?”

The jury were also told to consider the emergency response of the police, the ambulance service and the other services and whether they could have done anything more.
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #13 on: April 3, 2014, 03:40:35 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-disaster-inquests-hear-first-6914318?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Hillsborough disaster inquests hear first pen portraits of the 96 victims


Moving scenes as families remember those who died in the 1989 tragedy




THE  Hillsborough  inquests heard moving pen portraits of victims of the disaster this morning.

The first personal statements was for dad-of-two  Arthur Horrocks , 41, from Bebington, and was read by son Jon on behalf of Arthur's widow Susan.

The court heard his passions were sport and music and when he was in school he would visit the Cavern Club in his lunch breaks.

He attended all the Liverpool home and away games before sons Jon and Jamie were born.

He met wife Susan when she was 12 and they attended the same church.They began "courting" when she was 16 before being married when she was 18 and Arthur was 22, the court heard.

He worked for the Prudential insurance company and the court heard many of his customers rang Susan in tears when they heard of his death.

Jon recounted one incident where Arthur had brought home a poodle from a customer who wasn't able to pay her bills.

He paid the money off for her and the dog became "part of the family".

On behalf of his mum Jon said: "This has been hardest thing I've ever had to write but hope going some way to say what a wonderful husband and best friend he was to me."

The inquests also heard from Kathleen Thompson who read a statement for  Patrick Thompson , 35.

The dad-of-five had worked as a guard for British Rail in Garston for more than 15 years.

All of his children were under six when he died.

Kathleen said: "I thank God that I met Pat, loved him and had five beautiful children with him, who everyone says are a credit to him.

"Please listen to the evidence and let my children know their dad was not a hooligan but a hard working family man who just happened to love football."

Stephen Jones gave the court his pen portrait of wife  Christine Anne Jones , 27, from Preston.

He said she was a senior radiographer at the Royal Preston Hospital who loved animals and music as well as football.

He said: "We were very happy in the four years we spent as husband and wife and I speak for all the family and indeed myself when I say she is deeply missed today."

A statement on the life of 19-year-old  Ian Whelan  was read by his dad Wilf

The court heard on the morning of the disaster he had left two red roses on the doorstep of his girlfriend's house on his way to the match.

Wilf said: "Ian was a son any family would be proud of."

He added: "He wasn't a football hooligan, he even attended Mass of his own free will every Sunday without fail.

"My family feel we have had to defend his good name for the last 25 years."

Shirley Riley gave a statement about her brother  Roy Pemberton , 23, from Hunts Cross.

She said he was the youngest of the family and "extra special" because he was the only boy.

He studied computer sciences at university and had written and sold his first piece of computer software at just 14.

She said: "Now we are left thinking about Roy and what he would have achieved. A successful career, a family and many more dreams.

"Our parents were left devastated and never truly got over his loss. Gillian and I are left with only memories of our baby brother."

A lawyer read a statement on behalf of Walter Smith, whose sister  Paula Smith , 26, from Clubmoor, died at Hillsborough.

He said she was "quiet and shy by nature" and was a constant companion to their mum.

He said they would normally go to football matches together but had only been able to get one ticket for the semi-final in 1989 so he let her have it.

He said: "I often think if I had been there with her she would still be alive today.

"Kenny Dalglish was her hero so I guess it is fitting he was at her funeral."

He added: "My mother never got over Paula's death, she was heartbroken.

"I miss my baby sister Paula, we shared so many memories."

The final of the morning's statements was for Marian McCabe , 21, from Essex, and was read out by mum Christine McEvoy.

The court heard Marian was a member of the Liverpool FC supporters' branch in London.

Christine said Marian spent most of her money on the club, on going to matches and buying shirts, caps and posters.

She told the court: "I wish that I had had a chance to treat my daughter more.

"At the time of her death she was thinking of travelling to Italy to follow England in the 1990 World Cu.

"Her grandmother had left her some money and I suggested she should use it to go to the World Cup if that's what she wanted, to treat herself."

In the end, of course, she never got the chance.

"In the words of Peter (her brother), Marian was a "giver not a taker."

"She would do whatever her little brother asked and he wasn't exactly the nicest of teenagers.

"She was such a good and generous person that no words will ever do her justice."

Emotional tributes were also paid to a boyfriend and girlfriend who died in the Hillsborough disaster.

Personal statements to Tracey Cox and Richard Jones were read out this afternoon at the new inquests into the tragedy.

Stephanie Conning, Richard's sister, read the "pen portrait" for Tracey, whose mum died last year.

Stephanie was joined in the witness box by mum Doreen Jones who read Richard's statement.

Doreen said: "My pain is centred on what Richard and Tracey missed and what our lives would be like now if they had not been killed - after all, they only went to watch a game of football."

The court heard the pair had met while on a youth hostelling holiday in the Lake District.

Doreen said: "We all loved Tracey, this clever, vibrant, funny outgoing girl who came and stayed with our family on lots of occasions.

"Richard had moved from his home in Woolton to Sheffield where he studied chemistry at university and two years later Tracey joined him to study speech therapy.

Stephanie, who was with the couple at the match that day, told the court Tracey had spent the morning of April 15 proof reading her dissertation.

She was awarded her Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree posthumously.

Stephanie said: "Tracey was the funniest girl I knew, she was the sister I never had and it was a privilege to know her and to read her pen portrait today."

Doreen said Richard was the eldest of her three children.

She said: "Ours was a happy family. There was not much money but loads of love, music humour and laughter.

"My daughter Stephanie summed it up after Richard died when she said 'we had it all'."

She added: "Our lives changed forever that awful day.

"I could not imagine my life without my son, nor did I want a life without him."

She said she had received a message from a flatmate of the couple which said: "living with Rick and Tracey I knew they were in love, I believed they were very, very happy. They had the real thing".

Doreen added: "We as a family were so lucky to have had Richard for 25 years.

"The memory of the joy he brought me runs alongside the pain of his not being here."

Stephanie took over reading the end of the statement as her mum broke down in tears.
« Last Edit: April 3, 2014, 06:49:49 PM by electricghost »
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #14 on: April 7, 2014, 04:03:39 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-inquests-resume-more-family-6929309

Hillsborough inquests resume with more family tributes to victims



Hillsborough families have continued the painful process of paying tribute to their loved ones as the inquests resumed in Warrington this morning.

A representative of each of the 96 families will read out a personal statement about their relative who died to the court.

This process is expected to last until the end of the month.

So far today the court has heard updates about brothers Christopher James Traynor (26) and Kevin Traynor (16), 25-year-old Steven Brown and 17-year-old Henry Rogers.

Theresa Arrowsmith read the statement on behalf of her two brothers.

Elizabeth, Christopher’s wife and their other two brothers were also in witness box.

Theresa said Christopher was “full of life” and always saw fun side of things.

He was musical and enjoying singing Beatles songs as a child even though he didn't know all the words.

As a child used to bring dog food home when shopping with his mum even though they didn't have a dog.

He told her one day he would get a dog, and did, dressing Sheba as she became known in an LFC shirt.

He was an apprentice joiner at Cammell Laird, who worked on HMS Liverpool and married wife Lizzy in 1987.

Hillsborough “cut short” their hopes of a family.

Younger brother Kevin had been to Hillsborough in 1988 and when he heard the 1989 semi final would be held there said “oh no, not that stadium again”.

Christopher reassured him it would be OK but neither of them came home.

Theresa went on to say her 16-year-old brother Martin, who was known as Kevin, loved his sport.

He liked to take care of his appearance and, even though he was the youngest of five children, was a born leader.

Theresa says Kevin was "a brave boy", who in 1988 was stabbed above eye trying to stop an elderly neighbour from being burgled which left him with a scar.

She added: "He had a sense of adventure which never left him. He was hard working with had lots of drive and ambition.

"He had always wanted to learn to drive and own a yellow Lambourghini but died before he turned 17 in May 1989."

Theresa said when she heard of the disaster she was shopping for furniture but left some of the furniture in the shop after hearing the news.

She says she still has the same patio set with two missing chairs - a constant reminder of the two family members who never came back.

She said Christopher and Kevin’s nephews and nieces now only know their uncles as photos on the sideboard, adding: “Their names will live on in history, albeit for the wrong reasons.”

Steven's wife Sarah read movingly about her husband, telling the court how it was 'love at first sight' when they met at age 16.

She said: "I can honestly say he loved me with a passion which I never knew existed. The dedication and commitment he showed me made me giddy."

Steven desperately  wanted to start a family so he could be a daddy."

Sarah said Steven thought his world would be “complete” if he had a daughter.

Sarah: “When he found out I was pregnant and all his dreams were coming true he was over the moon.”

Sarah was six months pregnant when Steven died at Hillsborough, who had already decided on the baby's name if she was a girl, Samantha.

"He never got the chance to meet and greet his new baby, and there are no words to describe that void."

She said when daughter Samantha was born she grieved for both of them.

She said: “I have done my best to shower her with her daddy’s love, which I know would have flown in abundance.”

Henry's mum Veronica spoke about her son who was 17 when he died.

She told how he was an “entrepreneur in the making” who used to get out his copy of Financial Times when bored in French class, and wanted to study economics at either Liverpool University or the London School of Economics.

Henry was a goalkeeper who used little sister as a goalpost in her pushchair, but liked basketball, tennis and golf too.

She said: "He was straightforward, easygoing and natural. An affable soul by nature. Everyone loved Henry - teachers, adults and contemporaries.

"It was impossible to be cross with him, he was very good at losing things, he was a charmer."

Veronica also said how Henry’s older brother Adam died just months after Hillsborough.

She said the trauma of surviving Hillsborough, the loss of his younger brother and his diabetes together resulted in his death.

The absence of Henry and Adam has been “all too apparent” to her ever since.

Lynsey Hankin, who was just 12 when dad Eric, 33, died at Hillsborough, read his personal statement to the inquest.

She described her dad, who was a staff nurse at Moss Side Hospital in Maghull, as a "big friendly giant".

She said he spent hours teaching her how to ride a bike and taught her her how to swim at Crosby swimming baths.

She said when if her and younger brother David were in the car with him he would make them salute as they drove past Anfield.

She said: "A big giant-shaped hole had been left in my heart since the day he died."

She told the court she hoped the process would give the 96 victims "freedom to finally rest in peace".

an Collins read out a statement about brother Gary on behalf of their dad John.

The 22-year-old from Bootle was a quality control manager at a food factory.

Ian said: "He had his whole life ahead of him and he was excited at the prospects his future would hold."

The court heard Ian and Gary would “fight like cat and dog but if Ian was ever in trouble Gary would step in without hesitation”.

Ian said had he still been here Gary would have been uncle to three nephews and a niece.

He added: “It breaks our hearts that Gary never had the opportunity to become a father himself because he would have made such a fantastic dad.”

He told the court that to think the disaster could have been prevented was “excruciating” for the family.

Brother Mark told the court about his brother Francis, who was 27 when he died. He was a firefighter at Manchester Square station in London and played for their national football team.

Mark said told the the court that at the age of ten, "for some unknown reason", Francis decided to support Chelsea but he had later "seen the light" and started supporting Liverpool.

He added: "He could charm the birds out of the trees."

He said family and friends would describe Francis as "generous".

He added: "He was loved by his four young nieces and nephews who would look forward to his visits, which were always full of excitement.

“He would have been just as popular with the further nine nieces and nephews born too late to meet him in the flesh.”

Mark recounted a tale from their childhood of how, when on holiday in North Wales, Francis fell into a boating lake and only the fast action of their father saved him from drowning.

He added: “My father died nine years after Hillsborough, always regretting that he had not been on hand to save his son one more time."

Tributes to Nicholas Joynes, 27, from Knowsley Village, were read out by his brother Paul, with their parents and Nick's wife alongside.

Nick was a talented footballer and did at one point have trials for Liverpool, but 'didn't quite make it'.

Paul said, "Nick had a friend who was a hairdresser, meaning Nick would often come home with a variety of hairstyles, which our Dad passed comment on.

He told the inquests Nick loved music and would regularly borrow vinyl records from his brother.

He said: "After he died Nick's wife Gillian handed me some vinyl records from his collection, only to find that some of them were mine. This made us all laugh."

Nick married Gillian in September 1988, just months before Hillsborough.

Paul added: "They made such a lovely couple, they had so many dreams and a great future ahead of them.

"His death has left a massive void in our family.

"He was a wonderful son, beloved brother, adored uncle & devoted husband. All our family feel such a tremendous loss."

The final tribute of the day was to John Anderson, known as Jack, who at 62 years of age was the second oldest person to die at Hillsborough.

His voice cracking with emotion, son Brian said his dad loved nothing more than a weekend full of his grandchildren to look after.

Brian's happiest childhood memories are of going to New Brighton where John would teach him and sister Dorothy the “art of crabbing”.

He had just started to take his grandchildren there to teach them but “alas that was not to be”,

He and Brian had started to take Brian’s son to Liverpool matches where they would sit him on the wall of the Kop.

Brian says his dad had a motorbike, and he and his mum would go all over country on the bike to watch LFC.

He had been really looking forward to his retirement, Brian said.

Brian described him and his dad as "great friends" as well as father and son.

He said: "He was a family man with a romantic side to him, who married my mum on Valentine's Day."

He added: "My mum has been deprived of spending her later years with her husband. He is greatly missed."
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #15 on: April 8, 2014, 04:00:44 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-inquests-hear-more-tributes-6934913

Hillsborough inquests hear more tributes to victims of the disaster

The Hillsborough inquests resumed today with the jury expected to hear 10 more family tributes to the victims.

A moving personal statement has been written about each of the 96 people who died in the disaster and over the next few weeks the emotional tributes will be read out to the court by a representative from each family.

Earlier in the hearings, Coroner Lord Justice Goldring told the court the short biographies underlined the "individual tragedies" of the disaster.

So far today the court has heard about 18-year-old Gary Jones, 33-year-old Eric Hankin, 20-year-old Stephen Paul Copoc and 21-year-old Carl Rimmer.

Sister Julie Flannigan read a moving tribute to Gary who she described as "not only a brother, but a friend."

Gary, 18, from Maghull, was the youngest of four children and grew up in Liverpool.

Julie said her brother had a "full and happy life" and was hoping to pursue a career in electronics.

Despite his dad being an Evertonian, Gary was devoted to Liverpool FC and a season ticket holder.

But the only away game he ever went to was in Sheffield on April 15 1989, which Julie said was, "A fateful day for both Gary and us."

She told the court, he was a "handsome, funny, cheeky little brother who always put a smile on everyone's face. We miss that smile."

Julie explained that Gary had been saving up his 18th birthday money to buy a guitar, but died before he had the chance.

She broke down as she told the court he had been due to visit her in Spain, where she was studying. "It would have been the first time I had seen him since New Year 1989. He never made it."

Julie finished by saying her brother, "laughed more than he cried and brought happiness to all that knew him."

She added: "Gary was a very bright and extremely clever young man, very well liked and loved by all that knew him. He would have excelled in life at everything he did."

Yesterday Lynsey Hankin addressed the court to speak about her dad Eric, 33, from Maghull and today his dad Eric Hankin Snr gave an additional statement.

He said, "My son was a hard working lad. Married with two children until that fateful day."

He told of taking Eric to football matches as a boy, sitting him on his shoulders in the Kop and taking him to get chips on the way home. He said Eric had a "normal, happy upbringing."

When Eric was four he got his head stuck between railings looking at two kittens. His dad eventually got him out and when he returned home he told his sister Susan about what had happened, before taking her back to the railings to demonstrate.

This time the fire service had to be called to rescue him.

When Eric started his job at Ashworth Hospital, his dad joked he wouldn't last three weeks because he didn't think he would cope with changing bed pans and looking after sick people.

But Eric proved him wrong and "made his mark" on the team there.

It was with 12 colleagues he travelled to see Liverpool play on April 15 1989. All stayed to look for him after the disaster but Eric was the only one who didn't make it home.

Mr Hankin said, "I feel hurt and cheated to have lost my son at the young age of 33. I love my son and I miss him every day of my life.

"I have lovely memories of him but sadly that is all I have left - memories."

Natalie Tennant read a touching tribute to her uncle written by his siblings Angela Griffiths and Peter Copoc.

It said the 20-year-old from Speke was the baby of the family and "the apple of our mum's eye".

Natalie read, "Stephen's personality was such that people warmed to him instantly."

He was popular with teachers and had the ability to keep friends.

Stephen loved fishing and bird watching and became a gardener at Sudley House. Natalie read, "He loved the people he worked with and enjoyed meeting all the visitors and telling them about the gardens."

He met girlfriend Jackie when he was 15 and at the time he died the couple had been engaged.

Reading the tribute from his siblings, Natalie said: "He knew what he wanted from life and was very close to our mum. His main ambition was to save enough money to buy our parents a house."

Natalie said "family always came first" for Stephen. The family used to travel together to watch Liverpool FC play but haven't since 1989.

After Stephen died they gave their season tickets back and have never been to a match since.

Stephen's parents never got over his death or the way he died.

The statement from his siblings Angela and Peter said, "Our brother Stephen was one of life's genuine nice guys.

"We miss Stephen from our family and think about what might have been for all of us as a family if Stephen had not died on that awful day."

The brother of a Hillsborough victim told how his parents had tried for seven years to conceive him.

John Mather said brother David, 19, was the eldest brother and was "extra special" after his parents waited so long to have him.

He said David, who was also a grandson, nephew and cousin, had a quiet disposition but was a "typical joker" with his friends and family.

John recalled David passing his driving test and taking him to the McNasty's drive-thru.

He worked in the Post Office but wanted to become a police officer and at the time he died, he was waiting to be called up for his medical test.John said his brother wanted to "do good".

The year before David died his parents divorced and he became the "man of the house".

John said, "Losing David greatly affected us and life has never been the same since. We can only guess as to what his life would have held."

His mother wishing "more than anything" she had the chance to say goodbye to her son.

John finished by saying, "We wish that fateful day he had never left the house."

Kevin Rimmer read a touching tribute to his brother Carl, 21, written by his mum Doreen.

It said Carl was the baby of the family and people used to say his mum spoilt him rotten.

"I'm so glad I did now," Doreen wrote.

As a child Carl loved animals and would often come home with stray dogs, asking if they could keep them.

Reading the statement from Doreen, Kevin said, "As a family we had lots of fun and had parties at Christmas which were so enjoyable. The parties soon stopped after Carl."

Carl had been going out with girlfriend Alex for three years. He was saving his 21st birthday money to take her away to get engaged.

The inquests heard he had been looking forward to the wedding of his sister, due to take place six weeks after Hillsborough.

Kevin read, "She wanted to cancel the wedding but we all told her Carl wouldn't have wanted that."

Speaking on behalf of Doreen, he added: "He was special. I know all mums say this but he really was."
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #16 on: April 9, 2014, 06:02:55 PM »

Hillsborough disaster: sister of victim says police 'turned their backs' on him
South Yorkshire police accused by Louise Brookes of failing 'law-abiding' brother at new inquest into tragedy that killed 96




The sister of a 26-year-old man who was one of the 96 people killed at Hillsborough in April 1989 has accused South Yorkshire police at the new inquest into the disaster of "literally turning their backs" on her brother when he needed them most.

Louise Brookes described Andrew Brookes, who was nine years older than her, as "a lovely brother" she looked up to, a "reliable, trustworthy" man of integrity and morals.

"Andrew was brought up to respect the police and my parents always told us that if ever we were in trouble, they [the police] were always there to help us. When my brother most needed their help, they literally turned their backs on him," she said.

Both of their parents have now also died, Louise Brookes said, without being able to see this inquest take place:

"It makes me so angry that both of my parents have gone to their graves without knowing how or why their son died. No parent should be deprived of that right, especially for 25 years," she said.

"I do not have any other family left now and it is up to me alone. I am my brother's voice. I just want to do my brother proud and get him the justice he deserves."

Andrew, who worked at Land Rover on the Longbridge plant in the West Midlands, was always law-abiding, Louise said. The only time the police ever had cause to come to their family home was after Andrew had been killed at Hillsborough, and "West Midlands police brought some of his clothes back in a plastic bag."

Brookes' personal statement about Andrew, to the jury of seven women and four men, was one of nine further people remembered who died in what the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, has described as "the terrible crush" in the central "pens" of the Leppings Lane terrace at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough football ground. The victims remembered in the statements by family members on the seventh day of the new inquest included two teenage brothers, Carl and Nicholas Hewitt, two men, Alan McGlone and Joseph Clark, who were married and died leaving very young children, three men in their early twenties, David Birtle, Paul Brady and Colin Sefton, and a teenager, Stuart Thompson, who was 17 when he was killed.

Jennifer Birtle, the mother of David Birtle, her first-born son who died at Hillsborough aged 22, described having to fly back from Oman, where her husband was working, with her younger son Daniel, who was only four at the time.

"On the plane I had to listen to expats reading the local paper and saying: 'Oh, the police say it was hooligans.' As if that was OK then, that it was [the victims'] own fault," she told the jury.

Saying David, who had just gained his HGV licence and started a new job at the time, was "loved deeply" and "will always be special," Jennifer Birtle said:

"As a family, we are owed an explanation sooner rather than later, as to how and why David died that day. He became an ardent fan of Liverpool football club. Sadly, that decision was to cost him his life. None of us will ever be the same again."

Amy McGlone, who was five in April 1989, with her sister Claire, then two, alongside her in the witness box, read the statement written by their mother Irene about their father, Alan, who was 28 when he died at Hillsborough. The girls had been skipping with Alan before he left for the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, and they asked that he come and wake them up when he came back, so they could see him.

"I am still waiting to wake my girls up out of this nightmare and send their Daddy into them," Irene McGlone wrote.

Stephen Clark, now 30, who was five and whose sister, Jennifer, was a baby in April 1989, read the statement written by their mother, Jacqueline Gilchrist, about their father Joseph Clark, who was 29 when he was killed at Hillsborough.

"He gave us all a kiss and said 'see you later,' and off he went," Stephen read. "That was the last thing that he said to us, because he never came back."

Brenda Hewitt, the mother of Carl, 17 when he died, and Nicholas, 16, said her two sons, who were "very close," were both Liverpool season-ticket holders and had gone to Hillsborough on a supporters club bus.

"The bus left the stadium with those on board who were able to exit the ground," she wrote. "They left the ground with two young boys missing."

Stuart Thompson, 17 when he died, went to Hillsborough with his older brother Martin, who was in court to read a statement about him; their father, Michael, had also written a statement, which was read out by a legal representative, but he died earlier this year.

"He was my brother, and he was my friend," Martin said of Stuart, his voice quavering with grief. "He knew right from wrong, he believed in being fair and just. He did not have time to blossom."

Paul Brady's mother, Marian Brady, wrote in her statement that her son had a job he loved as a refrigeration engineer, loved football, was "extremely popular, fun-loving, the joker in our family," until he died at Hillsborough, aged 21.

Julie Fallon, the only sister of Colin Sefton, 23 when he died, was in court with her daughter, Maria, who was just ten weeks old at the time she lost her uncle at Hillsborough.

"The older I get the more I realise how ridiculously young he was when he died," Julie Fallon said of her brother. Describing the family's distress at "the distant, violent nature of his death," at Hillsborough which has dominated their lives since, she said:

"My brother's life was like a book, that had a title, an introduction, described the characters, set the scene - and then someone ripped out the rest of the pages."

The new inquest, in Warrington, was ordered after the high vourt quashed the original 1990-91 inquest in December 2012, following a long campaign against it by bereaved families.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/apr/09/hillsborough-disaster-inquest-police-accused?CMP=twt_gu
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #17 on: April 9, 2014, 06:13:01 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/tributes-hillsborough-victims-continue-inquests-6940397

Family members continue to pay tribute to Hillsborough victims

The emotional tributes to the Hillsborough victims continued at the inquests today.

One woman said it was as if her whole family had died the day her brother was killed in the disaster.

Another described her brother's life as like a book that had begun, but "the rest of pages had been ripped out".

Over the next few weeks, the jury will listen to personal portraits of all 96 victims of the disaster.

Today's first tribute to Paul Brady, 21, was read by his brother Michael on behalf of his mum Marian.

The court heard Paul was very bubbly, outgoing and very popular.

Brothers Michael and Paul would go to watch Liverpool FC together. Away matches were always considered "special days".

Paul worked as a refrigeration engineer and loved travelling abroad with friends.

In the February before his death he had been on a skiing holiday. He was also planning an extended holiday in Australia, when he died.

Reading the tribute from him mum, Michael said: "There are so so many special memories of Paul, it would be hard for me to pick out just one."

He said Paul was fun loving and the joker of the family, always smiling and a joy to be around."It goes without saying that we all miss him to this day," he said.

The jury listened a moving tribute about a dad who never got to see his girls grow up.

Wife Irene McGlone penned the tribute to her husband Alan and it was read in court by his daughter Amy.

The 28-year-old from Kirkby was dad to girls Amy and Claire and the court heard the look on his face when they were born was "unforgettable".

The family would go on holidays to Tenby and Butlins.

The court heard that on their last family holiday, Alan started crying while watching his daughters sleep. When Irene asked why he was upset, he said he wished his dad, who died when he was eight, could have seen them grow up.

The statement continued: "The sad thing is, he never got to see his own girls grow up and never got to see his beautiful grandchildren."

When Irene put her daughters to bed on April 15 1989, Amy asked for her dad to wake them when he got in.

Her mum's tribute said: "I am still waiting to wake my girls up from this nightmare and send their daddy in to them.

"Alan, we love and miss you so much."

The wife of Joseph Clark recalled her husband's last words as "see you later" on the day he left for Hillsborough.

Jacqueline Gilchrist's tribute was read out by Joseph's son Stephen Clark.

Joseph, 29 from Kirkby, also had a daughter Jennifer, who was born in 1989.

The court heard that on the morning of the match Joseph played football with Stephen outside their house and held Jennifer in his arms.

When he left he gave them all a kiss and said "see you later".

Reading the tribute, Stephen said: "That was the last thing he said to us because he never came back from that match."

Had he survived, Joseph would have met his three beautiful grandchildren, Joseph, Lee and baby Daisy, who died when she was just 12 days old.

Speaking for Jacqueline, Stephen said their lives changed after he died and "I never really got on with my own life."

He is missed by all of us who were lucky enough to know him."

The jury listened to two personal statements on the life of Stuart Thompson, 17, from Formby.

A legel representative read the first on behalf of his dad Michael Thompson, who recently died.

It said his son Stuart "always had a smile on his face".

He loved days out, especially going to the zoo.

On the morning of the match he had gone out to buy milk for his mum.

Stuart's brother Martin also read a tribute to the court. He said: "Stuart was my brother and my friend."

He liked exotic pets and once sent off for snakes in the post without telling him mum.

The court heard Stuart left school the year before Hillsborough and had become an apprentice joiner.

Martin said: "He was determined to be a success and I know he would have been. He was a practical person, creative and had good hand to eye coordination."

He tells the court Stuart believed in being fair and just, and was conscientious and never late for work.

Martin said when Stuart died, he was about to move on to the next stage in his life. He said: "He was no longer a child but he wasn't yet an adult. He didn't have time to blossom."

A sister paid a moving tribute to her brother who  died in the disaster.

Julie Fallon said she found it difficult to write the statement about Andrew Sefton and share it with strangers.

Andrew was 23 and originally from Skelmersdale. Julie said: "After 25 years I fear I won't be able to fully describe the essence of my brother," adding  that he has now been dead, longer than he was alive.

She said the older she gets, the more she realises how "ridiculously young" he was when he died.

Julie and her brother always gave their mum 'three rings' on the phone to say they were safe. She said on that fateful day her mum never got Andrew's three rings.

The court heard Andrew was a "homebird" like his niece, who was just 10 weeks old when her uncle died.

Andrew had a political awareness and attended rallies. He had just begun working as a security guard down south.

Julie read a letter to the court written by Andrew to his parents, in which he talked about his plans to work abroad and move in with friends.

She described Andrew's life as "like a book with a title and introduction, that describes the characters, sets the scene, and then someone has ripped out the rest of the pages."

Julie said her family "no longer have an inkling of what life without Hillsborough looks like and, ironically, neither did my brother."

A man who almost died as a baby was among the victims of the disaster.

Jennifer Birtle today paid tribute to her son David, 22, from Cannock in Staffordshire.

She said he had nearly lost his life to gastroenteritis when he just was eight months old, but thankfully survived.

Mrs Birtle said once her son could run, he always had a football attached to his foot.

In 1989 she was living in Oman and at 3.10pm on April 15 that year she tried to find the football match on the world service - something she'd never done before.

She then rang her dad who told her what was happening. At 4.40pm Oman time, her dad called and told her David had died.

It was three weeks before his 23rd birthday.

Mrs Birtle said: "No father should have to give his daughter that news."

On the way back to Britain, she said: "I had to listen to two ex-pats reading the local paper and saying 'The police say it was hooligans', as if it was their own fault."

Mrs Birtle said she told David's younger brother Daniel, who was only four at the time, that he had "gone to live in the clouds with the Care Bears."

She said as he was their first child, David was special and the family "are owed an explanation sooner rather than later" about how and why he died.

A woman whose parents didn't live to see the new inquests begin, has paid tribute to her older brother who died in the disaster.

Louise Brookes said her brother Andrew was from Bromsgrove, near Birmingham but loved everything about Liverpool.

She described the 26-year-old as a "very dignified man" who didn't like to draw attention to himself.

He worked for Land Rover with his dad and loved all things Liverpool, including the football, and TV shows Brookside, Boys from the Black Stuff and Bread.

He was very sporty and the manager of a local Sunday league team.

She said: "I can honestly say I never heard a bad word said about my brother. He never gossiped about anyone or fell out with other people."

Louise said Andrew was never in trouble with the police and had been brought up to go to them if he was in trouble.

"When my brother most wanted their help, they literally turned their backs on him," she said.

She told the court her mum once said the only time Andrew brought the police to her door, was when they came with his clothes in a plastic bag, after he died.

Louise told the court her brother died just a month before her 18th birthday, at a time when she felt he was just starting to take her seriously, and they were growing closer.

She said Andrew was the apple of her mum's eye and also very close to her dad.

"After he died, the whole dynamics of our family changed, Andy had been so important to us all."

Louise told the court her mum suffered a heart attack in 1996 and died from cancer in 2000.

She said: "My dad just shut himself away and never went back to work."

He died earlier this year and was buried 10 days before the inquests began.

Louise said: "It makes me so angry that both my parents have gone to their graves without knowing how or why their son died."

She said she didn't just lose her brother on April 15 1989, saying "the whole Brookes family died that day".

The final tributes of the day were to brothers Carl Hewitt, 17, and Nicholas Hewitt, 16, who were from Leicestershire.

A statement written by mum Brenda Hewitt was read out in court by the counsel to the inquests, Christina Lambert QC.

Before they died Carl was in college, training to be a cabinet maker and had been due to receive the best in class award. Nick was still in school studying for his exams.

They enjoyed the "usual family things" such as ten pin bowling, the cinema, swimming and going to the park.

The statement from their mum said: "The memories of Carl and Nick are too many to list."

They were both big Liverpool fans and had travelled to Hillsborough on the supporters' bus.

It left the ground later that day with the two young boys missing.

In the statement, Brenda said: "As my mum said, always together, together always."
“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2014, 04:34:43 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/tributes-hillsborough-victims-continue-inquests-6946726

Family tributes to Hillsborough victims continue at inquests

Sadness in court as memories of loved ones are read out

The jury at the Hillsborough inquests today listened emotional tributes to 10 more victims of the disaster.

Parents Trevor and Jenni Hicks spoke movingly about their teenage daughters Sarah and Victoria, who died together at Hillsborough.

The court also heard from Stephen Wright, who said he and brother Graham were like 'one pair' up until his death.

After today's hearing, the jury were told they would not need to return to court, until Tuesday, April 22. There will be a break to mark the 25th anniversary of the disaster next week, and the hearing will resume after Easter.

A mum read a moving tribute to her teenage son who died three days after the disaster.

As a school picture of Lee Nicol, 14, from Bootle was shown to the court on the screens, Patricia Donnelly told the jury her son had a "thirst for learning".

She said he had a particular interest in ancient civilisations and wanted to save up to go on a dig in New Jersey.

Lee was a huge fan of singer Jon Bon Jovi and would ask for his hair to be cut like his idol. Just before his life support machine was switched off, Lee was christened Lee Jon Bon Jovi, his mum told the jury.

After his death, many of Lee's friends came to visit him in the funeral parlour. Mrs Donnelly said it was "incredibly emotional" to see such a display of love shown to her son.

The court heard that Lee carried a donor card and Mrs Donnelly said she was "so very proud of him" when his organs were donated after his death.

She told the jury she received a letter from a little boy's grandmother thanking her, as Lee's donation of his liver allowed her grandson to walk for the first time and join the school's football team.

During his short life Lee had a passion for football and one of his first words was 'Liverpool'.

He worked hard to contribute towards the cost of his season ticket, doing a milk round in the mornings and a paper round twice a day.

Hillsborough was the first away game he went to.

Mrs Donnelly said she and Lee were very close, as they lived on their own after his older brother and sister moved out. They would often cook and bake together.

She said: "Lee was greatly loved by all his family and had a wonderful circle of friends."

A teenager born weighing just 4lbs 3oz was among the victims.

Janet Russell today paid tribute to her son Colin Ashcroft, from Warrington, who died aged 19.

She said her son was behind in his milestones and was two and a half before he started taking, but soon made up for lost time.

The jury heard Colin had learning difficulties and suffered from epilepsy, and attended a special school. He later got a job on a Government training scheme.

Mrs Russell said he was interested in politics and liked watching Question Time. She said:  "He thought Maggie Thatcher was the best thing since sliced bread."

Colin was a big Liverpool fan and when he was 18 he asked if he could go to watch them play at Anfield.

Mrs Russell tells the court she was worried but said if he could save up for a season ticket he could go, not thinking he would be able to. But Colin managed it and began going to home games.

When he told his mum he wanted to go to the semi-final in 1989, Mrs Russell said: "Again I was worried but I didn't want to stand in his way."

She said when the ticket arrived, he studied the diagram and decided he would have to go through the tunnel, because he wanted to be behind the goal.

Mrs Russell said: "My son was a well liked, mostly cheerful, well rounded young man who overcame his difficulties to be as independent as he was able."

He was becoming thoughtful about other people and much more level headed. He had a great future ahead of him and he is greatly missed by his family."

A sister read out a tribute to a promising cricketer, written by his father.

Simon Bell, 17, from Crosby was obsessed with the sport said Fiona Lyons.

He represented the Northern Cricket Club and Sefton, Merseyside and Lancashire Schoolboys.

Reading her dad Christopher Bell's statement, she said: "If Simon had the chance, he probably would have played pro cricket."

After Simon died, the Northern Cricket Club introduced the Simon Bell Memorial Cup, awarded to the player with the best individual performance.

Simon had a "happy go lucky personality". He was close to his brother and sister and protective of younger brother Duncan.

Reading the tribute, Mrs Lyons said: "He had a way with people and he could relate to them easily."

Simon went to Merchant Taylors' school and later worked for Sefton council in the finance department, where he was highly regarded.

Continuing her dad's tribute, Mrs Lyons said: "Simon packed a lot into his 17 years. He lived for the day and it would have been great to see what he would have become.

"As his family we all have special memories of Simon, but they are too numerous to condense into just a few sentences.

"He was loved and he is missed."

A son who was warned by his dad to always stand in front of the crush barrier, was among those to die in the Hillsborough disaster.

Margaret Godwin read out the tribute to her son Derrick, who was 24 when he lost his life.

She said: "Derrick was our first born and we were filled with joy when he was born."

He loved sports including cricket, football, snooker and darts. The jury heard Derrick, from Gloucester, did well at school and was "well behaved, polite and courteous".

He worked in the accounts for an insurance company and enjoyed his job.

Mrs Godwin said her son had a season ticket for Anfield. "His dad used to say to him 'always stand in front of the crush barrier'," she told the court.

Derrick did not drink or smoke and was "a regular young man with his whole life in front of him".

Mrs Godwin added: "He was our only son. From the moment of his birth to the moment of his death, he gave us untold joy. Every day we think about him and what might have been."

The court heard as Derrick left home for the match on the morning of April 15, 1989 his dad said to him: "I hope Liverpool win, Derrick."

He replied: "Oh they will win, dad."

Mrs Godwin said: "Little did we realise they would be the last words we would ever hear him say."

Brothers who were 'one pair' is how Stephen Wright described his relationship with 17-year-old Graham who died at Hillsborough.

Graham was a Roman Catholic and was an altar boy at St Aidan's church, along with his friend James Aspinall, who also died in the disaster.

Stephen, also an altar boy with them, underlined how close their relationship was by saying, "From my earliest memory my brother Graham was always with me. We were one pair. We shared a double bed until we were teenagers. It was a very close younger to older brother relationship.

"He smiled and laughed a lot.  He would sit there with his Mr Men books and it was no surprise Mr Tickle and Mr Happy were his favourites.

"We were both passionate about our football club, Liverpool. Another passion of his was full contact karate. After he took this sport up, I came to the conclusion not to argue with him anymore.

"He was completing his qualifications to gain a black belt when he died. He loved sketching, taking photos and music as well."

Stephen also spoke of how the family home was the focal point for Graham's friends, and was always filled with laughter, before telling the court about Graham's girlfriend, Janet.

"Graham and Janet were inseparable. They would often go down to the Albert Dock together. They wore two halves of the same locket... then came the 15th April 1989.

"She still puts flowers on his grave to this day."

Parents Trevor and Jenni Hicks paid tribute to the daughters Sarah and Victoria who died together at Hillsborough.

Trevor began by telling the court how today would have been his eldest daughter Sarah's 44th birthday.

He recalled how when she was born "she was beautiful and we were chuffed" before telling how they had travelled as a family to the 1988 semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough and were "full of hope and aspiration of another trip to Wembley".

Only he and his wife got to make the trip to Wembley however and he told how they divorced in 1991 'as a result of Hillsborough'.

Continuing about his eldest daughter Sarah, Trevor told how he was convinced she would have made a great contribution to the world had she not died at Hillsborough.

"She was loving life in Liverpool as an undergraduate, but of course she did not get to make career choices. In modern parlance Sarah was cool. Smart, streetwise but also gentle, principled and considerate."

Victoria Hicks wanted to be a sports reporter, her dad said. It was only after her death that they found a file full of match reports written on a typewriter after every trip they had made to Anfield.

"Vicky was more image, and fashion, conscious. She was also bright, and had good grades forecast in her O Levels. She had a bit of a tough guy image, but she dived behind the sofa at the sound of the Dr Who theme music.

"The two girls had their arguments", Trevor said, "but they would defend each other to the death, literally as it turned out."

He adds: "The loss of a child is one of the worst things that can happen to a loving parent. The loss of all your children is devastating.

"It's not that two is twice as bad, it's that you lose everything - the present, the future and any purpose.

"All our hopes and aspirations were in our children and our expectation was that they would do better, achieve more and build upon the start that we had striven hard to give them. Their deaths were a sheer waste."

Jenni Hicks told the inquests Sarah had turned down places at Oxford and Imperial College in London to study in Liverpool.

She says she remembers her having heated debates with her dad about unemployment, poverty and social justice.

She says: "I remember the way you looked after Vicky.

"You always, always looked after your little sister, even at the very end."

She remembers attending Sarah's baptism on the day of the World Cup final and Vicky standing at the back of the church with a radio held to her ear.

"Sarah and Vicki. You were two bright, beautiful, innocent young women.

"I left you as you went into a football ground and a few hours later you were dead."

Mum Joan Hope told the jury about her son John, who was a promising student due to start university the year he died.

John McBrien, 18, from Holywell in North Wales, had secured an unconditional offer to study social economic history at Liverpool University that Autumn.

Mrs Hope described her son as handsome and academically gifted. She said he also enjoyed golf, walking, cycling and football.

He was a member of the Liverpool supporters club in Deeside and a season ticket holder at Anfield.

Mrs Hope said: "John had so much going for him and was looking forward to university. His death wrecked all of our lives, we struggled to come to terms with what had happened.

"Even today the pain of losing John has not gone away. He was so very special to all of us.

"John's death was completely devastating to our family. He was such an amazing son and we miss him deeply."

Earlier this week the jury heard a tribute to Gerard Baron from his son, also called Gerard.

Today his other son Gordon Baron read his own tribute to his father, who was from Preston. At 67-years-old, Gerard was the oldest to die in the crush.

Gordon said: "Although nothing is certain in life, we feel our dad has been denied many more years with his family."

He described his dad as an intelligent, hard working family man.

He told the court that when he was in Preston last year, a man approached him and asked if he was related to Gerard Snr, describing his father as a "damn good bloke".

Gordon tells the court: "We think that sums our dad up, a damn good bloke.

"This is only a small amount of what we could say about our dad."

A man whose wife was expecting their first child was among those who lost their lives at Hillsborough.

Peter Thompson, 30, from Widnes was killed four months before his wife Linda gave birth to daughter Nikki.

Denis Thompson read out a tribute to his eldest brother. He said: "Even now we think of Peter as being older and more mature than us, but of course we are now 20 years older than he was when he died."

The court listened as Denis talked of Peter's successful career in engineering, which led him to work in Norway, Canada and other countries.

It was while working in Holland that he met wife Linda and they later moved to England together.

Denis said: "Peter had a warm, generous nature and a quick sense of humour. Above all he was completely without pretention."

He added: "He would, I'm sure, have been a wonderful father to Nikki. He was deeply loved by his family and friends and we cherish his memory still."
“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
― Steven Weinberg

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2014, 03:33:54 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/more-tributes-victims-hillsborough-inquests-7017086

A teenager who fell unconscious in his dad's arms was among Hillsborough victims, inquests hear

Jury listens to tributes to nine more people who died in the disaster


The Hillsborough inquests resumed today with the court hearing how a father struggled to forgive himself for not saving his son in the disaster.

A man also spoke of his sadness that he never got to buy his dad a pint.


Today the jury at the purpose built courtroom in Warrington listened to nine more personal portraits of the victims.

Tributes to all 96 Liverpool supporters who lost their lives are set to continue until the end of April.

A man told his wife he loved her before heading off to Hillsborough and never coming home.

The counsel to the inquests read out the tribute to Raymond Chapman, 50, from Prenton, written by his widow Joan.

Mr Chapman was a father to Karen and Andrew. He worked as a machine fitter for a company making spark plugs in Upton, Wirral.

Joan describes him as a “lovely man, a real gentleman”, who was a great father and husband.

The court heard Mr Chapman nearly didn’t go to the match on April 15, 1989, because he didn’t have enough vouchers to qualify for a ticket.

At the last minute he was given a ticket by a friend and headed off to the semi final with four pals. Only two came home.

In the written statement, Mrs Chapman told how she and her husband had arranged to meet friends the night he got back from the game.

She remembers his last words to her, “See you tonight, love you, bye”.

Mrs Chapman said her husband has three lovely grandchildren he “would have been proud of” if he had survived. She said: “They have kept me going”.

In her statement, Mrs Chapman said she told the ECHO she wouldn’t have been surprised if her husband had died going back in to help someone else.

In a statement from his children Andrew and Karen, Mr Chapman is described as a “devoted husband” and a considerate man who always put others first.

He and their mother had been looking forward to retirement together. The statement read: “All this was so tragically taken away, changing mum’s life forever - something she never came to terms with.”


A mum paid tribute to her son who died aged 21 in the Hillsborough disaster.

The court listened as Brenda Fox said she needed eyes in the back of her head, when her son Thomas Steven Fox - known to family and friends as Steve - was little.

Mrs Fox went on to describe her son as a well-liked student who loved sport. She said he was also a caring, funny and sensitive man, who loved animals.

The court heard Steve was a registered first aider and carried an organ donor card at all times, following an accident on his moped.

He told his mum, “I was lucky, but next time I might not be.”

Steve had the organ donor card in his pocket on the day he went to Hillsborough.

Mrs Fox told the court: “Had he been taken to hospital, many others would have benefitted. Sadly he never made it to hospital.”

She said on April 15 1989, a potential husband, father, uncle and friend died. She told the court her son is still greatly missed.


A boy who lost his life aged just 14 was among the victims.

Before making her statement, mum Hilda Hammond thanked the court for the opportunity to give an insight in the character of “our lovely son”.

Dad Phil and Philip's brother Graham were in court as Mrs Hammond described her son as a “typical 14 year old child of the 80s”.

He loved anything that involved a ball and was an active member of the Boys’ Brigade.

The court heard Philip was a keen golfer and due to take part in a tournament the day after Hillsborough.

On the Friday night before the game, he spent the evening cleaning his clubs and golf shoes in preparation.

When one of his friends rang on the Sunday morning to see why he wasn’t at the tournament, he had to be told the awful news.

Mrs Hammond said her son “loved to make people laugh”.

She said his English teacher told them she would put his book at the bottom of the pile, so she could end her marking with a smile on her face.

Mrs Hammond told the court Philip was also a typical teenager with “tantrums and foot stomping”.

She added: “We were certainly blessed to have such a lovely boy, even though it was only for 14 short years. We still miss him so much.”

A mum said her son was “just becoming a man” when he was taken away from her.


Valerie Thomas's tribute to son David Thomas, 23, from Tranmere, was read on her behalf by solicitor Tolu Agbelsi.

The court heard how Mrs Thomas still finds it difficult to talk about her son.

At the time of his death, David had started his own painting and decorating business and used money from his 21st birthday for a deposit on his first home.

A statement from David’s brother-in-law, written at the time of the disaster, was also read out.

It said: “David was quiet, predictable and the type of person who would take the shirt off his back to use as a bandage if it was needed.

“He will be deeply missed by all those fortunate enough to know him.”


Teenager Adam Spearritt died after falling unconscious in his dad’s arms.

A personal portrait of Adam, 14, from Runcorn, was read to the court by his mum Janet.

The court heard Adam’s dad Eddie woke up in hospital the day after the Hillsborough disaster, to find out his son had died.

She said Adam and Eddie were “friends as well as father and son” and Eddie struggled to forgive himself for not saving his son.

Eddie died three years ago, not knowing the work he had done in helping to fight for new inquests, was coming to fruition.

Mrs Spearritt said she could “write a book” about what Adam meant to the family and the heartache his death caused.

She said he was their first child and “opened our hearts to the joys of being parents.”

From the moment he could walk he had a ball at his feet, and when his younger brother Paul was born the announcement in the ECHO read, “Second beautiful son, brother and goalkeeper for Adam.”

Mrs Spearritt told the court her son loved school, especially sport, and played in the school football team, which had been due to go to the finals of the Cheshire Schools Cup. Sadly he never got to play.

She said he loved being on the Kop at Anfield and his heroes were Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen.

Mrs Spearritt said: “We all love Adam dearly and he loved us in return, but more than that, he loved life itself.”


A widow said it was “love at first sight” when she met her husband who died in the Hillsborough disaster.

Linda Kirby’s tribute to David Rimmer, 38, from Skelmersdale, was read to the court by children Paul Rimmer and Kate Scholes.

When their dad died, Paul was just nine years old and Kate just seven.

Mrs Kirby said David became the son her mum never had and was “totally integrated” into her family.

She said David had a “great, if stupid, sense of humour”.

Reading his mum’s statement, son Paul said: “He loved his children, he used to read them bedtime stories, especially to Kate.”

The court heard if David hadn’t been at Hillsborough that day, he would have been with Paul at a Cubs football match, where he was an active volunteer.

The year before David died, the family enjoyed their first holiday abroad to Spain. Reading his mum’s words, Paul said: “We were so happy, we told ourselves we’d finally made it. Then just like that it was gone. Everything was taken away from us.”

He added: “When I think of all the milestones he missed I can’t help but say it’s not fair.”

The court heard when Mrs Kirby received a copy of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report, she felt David’s soul was on the way to being at peace at long last.


An 18-year-old who was due to go to university lost his life in the Hillsborough disaster.

Mum Delia Evans-Brown, wrote a tribute to her son Carl Brown, from Leigh, which was read to the court by family friend Karen Aspinall.

Despite being four years younger, Carl was very close to older brother Mark and followed him round like a shadow.

The court heard Carl was an extrovert who embraced new crazes and was into skateboarding, CB radios and BMX bikes.

Reading his mother’s statement, Ms Aspinall, said: “Carl was really committed and put everything into it, his drive and complete enjoyment was infectious.”

Carl and his brother were interested in computers and spent hours collecting new software.

He was a passionate Liverpool FC supporter and never missed a game.

Carl had accepted a provisional place at Manchester University.

Reading his mum’s statement, Ms Aspinall continued: “Carl loved his family as much as we loved him.

“We only had 18 years and three weeks with him but he never caused us any problems.
“He only had a short life but he was very fulfilled and happy and we were very proud of him.”


A son who travelled all over the country with his dad to watch Liverpool play, paid an emotional tribute to him in court.

David Hughes, who was just 17 when his father Eric died, said: “I never even got to buy my dad a pint.”

The court heard Eric, who was 42 when he died, once turned down a trial at Tranmere Rovers because he wanted to watch Liverpool play.

Eric was a father to David and daughter Nicola. David told the court his dad started taking him to watch Liverpool when he was just six years old.

“Watching Liverpool was what my dad and I did together. It was like a religion to us, we loved it and we loved spending time together,” said David.

David had been to Wembley with his dad six times and 99% of his memories of his dad were Liverpool-related.

It was unusual his dad hadn’t managed to get David a ticket for the 1989 semi-final at Hillsborough.

He told the court he last saw his dad the week before, when they went to watch Liverpool play Sheffield Wednesday. He remembers waving to his dad as he walked back to his car.


A son who was just nine when his dad died at Hillsborough, said it’s left a “huge void” in his life.

Craig Fitzsimmons told the jury if he shuts his eyes, he can see his dad Vincent playing football.

Vincent, was 34 and from Ashton-in-Makerfield, when he died in the disaster.

Speaking to the court, Craig said after his mum and dad divorced in 1987, he spent weekends with his dad. They would enjoy trips to the cinema or go swimming.

He said: “My dad was larger than life as far as I was concerned. He could do no wrong in my eyes.”

Craig described Vincent as friendly, outgoing and full of fun.

He said he would take him to watch Liverpool and had tried to get him a ticket for the semi-final at Hillsborough, but wasn’t able to.

Craig told the court his dad has missed out on seeing him get married and have a child of his own.

He added: “I suppose I never really got over the fact I lost my dad so suddenly and in such an awful way.”
“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
― Steven Weinberg

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2014, 04:20:53 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/steven-gerrards-cousin-among-those-7022612

Steven Gerrard's cousin among those remembered at today's Hillsborough inquests

A mum told the Hillsborough inquests her son who died in the disaster would have been "very proud" of his cousin - the Liverpool FC and England captain Steven Gerrard.

At just 10-years-old, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, from Huyton, was the youngest to lose his life in the fatal crush.

Today the jury also heard about a father and son who both died at Hillsborough and a woman who had to be taken into care, along with her brother, after their mum never came home from the FA Cup semi-final in 1989.


A sister said the death of her brother at Hillsbrough left an “enormous chasm” which can never be healed.

Dr Dorothy Griffiths said some of the family were still unable to talk about her brother Vincent Fitzsimmons, who was 34 and from Aston in Makerfield, because it was too distressing.

Others had since died taking their memories with them, she added.

Dr Griffiths spoke the day after Vincent’s son Craig paid tribute to his father.

She described to the court how on the day of the disaster she switched on the TV and saw the events unfolding at Hillsborough.

She immediately rang her brother and a man answered the phone. When she heard the voice she said, “thank goodness you haven’t gone to the game”.

But when the man began to speak she realised she had dialled the wrong numnber.

Dr Griffiths told the court she was six when Vincent was born.

He was was popular and friendly, she said. “From day one he had a passion for living. He was full of bubbling energy and could talk the hind legs off a donkey”.

Dr Griffiths told the court her memory of the last time they met would be “etched on my soul” forever.

They had lunch and spoke about his plans for the future, including his hopes of moving to London and pursuing further education.

She mentioned his hair was going grey but he told her it was just “distinguished”.

She added: “He had his faults like everyone if us in the world, but his generosity always shone through.

“Most of all he was a wonderfully caring brother who I miss each and every day.

“If I was to be granted one wish it would be to have a few more minutes with him, to tell him I love him and he will never be grey, just distinguished.”

Dr Griffiths said if Vincent had survived the disaster, he would have been sad and angry about the media coverage.

“Overall he would have really wanted to understand why it had happened, who was to blame and what good could come from it,” she added.


A father who died alongside his son at Hillsborough was remembered at the inquests today.

Thomas Howard, 39, from Runcorn, was known as the “gentle giant” or Big Bird because of his height.

A personal tribute written by his sister Muriel Bellamy was read out to the jury by his children Alan and Gail Howard.

The court were told that Tommy Snr. served in the Merchant Navy before marrying his wife Linda.

He was a “loving and gentle father” to three children, including son Tommy who died with him at Hillsborough.

The family had enjoyed memorable holidays together at Pontins and Butlins.

Son Alan said: “To be sat down and told by our mother one spring morning that our father and brother had gone to heaven, when we were just 11 and eight years of age, is something we found exceedingly difficult to come to terms with and still do to this day.

“It is saddening that he isn’t with us to see his beautiful grandchildren, his grandson being given his first name in his and our brother’s memory - all because they went to watch a game of football.”


A mum paid an emotional tribute to her son who died with his dad at Hillsborough.

Thomas Anthony Howard was just 14 years old when he was killed in the disaster.

Mum Linda Garton told the jury as a baby, Tommy was “so happy and full of life”.

She said he made lots of friends at school and his hobbies included karate.

Mrs Garton said Tommy’s dad Thomas Howard Snr, was “someone to look up to in more ways that one” and her son would ask her if he would grow to be just as tall.

She said: “Life father, like son”.

Tommy always wanted to be like his dad and loved going to matches with him, she told the court.

He pestered his dad to get him a ticket to the semi-final at Hillsborough.

Mrs Garton said she was reluctant but Tommy Snr told her “he’ll be alright, he’ll be with me”.

She let him go because she knew it would break his heart if she didn’t.

Mrs Garton said she remembers everything that happened on the morning of the match and recalls waving to him from the kitchen window and wanting him to turn and wave again.

She said: “I felt my heart would break if he didn’t. I don’t know why I felt that way, but my Tommy, true to form, turned and gave me his final loving wave.

“I didn’t know that would be the last time I would see him.”


A sister spoke tearfully of her younger brother who the family always called “our baby” until he died aged 21 at Hillsborougn.

Evelyn Mills said Peter McDonnell, from Garston, was the youngest of four and spoilt by his parents and siblings.

She said as a child he was a “dinosaurs and fossils fanatic” and played with tools instead of toys, because he loved fixing things.

Peter also loved sports, including swimming and football and played for Vale FC.

The court heard he supported Everton up until the age of 11, when he switched allegiances to Liverpool FC.

Peter went to Old Swan Technical College and had been working in the building trade, but had travelled to London to look for work because of the recession.

Mrs Mills said her brother would get homesick and often come back to visit, regaling them with stories of life in London.

She said he once took old coats back to the capital, to give to homeless people on his way through Euston station.

Peter had lots of friends and enjoyed socialising, going to the cinema and music.

Mrs Mills said when it was his 21st birthday, she gave him an ‘IOU’ for driving lessons, but he never got to use it.

She said: “He was always lively and full of fun.”

The court heard Peter was very close to his nieces and nephews and Mrs Mills daughter Gemma took his death very badly. She said: “After his death, Peter has gone on to have nephews and a great nephew. He is loved and severely missed.”


A daughter broke down in the witness box as she paid tribute to “The best mum anyone could hope for”.

Becky Shah was 17 when her mum Inger Shah, originally from Denmark, died aged 38 in ‘pen three’ at Hillsborough.

She told the court, “I viewed her as a friend, a very special friend that can never be replaced.

“As I was growing up, mum stood up to those bullying me and confronted them when they threatened to burn me with matches."

Miss Shah told the court she was upset that she hadn’t been able to get a ticket for the semi-final at Hillsborough, but her mum and brother Daniel, then 13, went to the game.

After her mum’s death, Miss Shah said her and Daniel’s lives “tumbled” and they were taken into care.

She said the “continued need” to defend her mum’s name has been overwhelming.

Miss Shah said she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor guilt after Hillsborough, which has blighted her life. She has also struggled with the responsibility of looking after her younger brother.

She said Inger was, “A loving, caring and devoted mum and a warm-hearted, kind, generous, funny, brave, intelligent human being. She is still so badly missed, much loved and always will be.

“I’d like to end this statement by saying that my mum was neither a drunken hooligan nor a bad mother.”


A man paid tribute to his stepfather who died at Hillsborough, saying he considered him his ‘real dad’.

Stuart Hamilton, said Roy, 34, from Waterloo was a father figure and genuine blue collar man.

“He would work a hard day’s physical labour and then come home to his family for tea,” he said.

“Mum said sometimes she had to pinch herself as she had a husband who adored both her, and her children.”

Mr Hamilton said he didn’t realise he needed a father figure before Roy. “Now I realise I had better than a father figure - I had a real dad.”

Roy was also step-father to Joanne, who was extremely close to him. She doesn’t have a single memory of him that doesn’t involve him smiling.

Mr Hamilton said: “Although he was my stepfather he was like any doting father. Joanne and I called him dad. He was very special.

“Given more time together we would have been able to create so many more memories of him and got to tell him just how special he was to us.

"It would have been lovely to see dad as a grandad, and to see him and mum to grow old together."


A father told the jury of his son who died in the Hillsborough disaster aged 29.

As their first born, Christopher Edwards, from Great Sutton, was the “apple of his mum’s eye”, said his dad Sydney.

He told the inquests Chris was a former church choir boy and religion was important to him.
Mr Edwards introduced Chris to football and the father and son enjoyed playing golf together every Monday.

“It was our time, memories that I will cherish,” said Mr Edwards.

Chris worked as a lab technician and Mr Edwards said he would ask his son when he was getting married, but Chris would say “not yet”. Mr Edwards said he often wonders about the family Chris could have had.

He told the jury: “The only comfort I have is that Chris experienced what it was like to be loved and lived his life to the full."


Tug-boat worker Barry Bennett from Aintree was remembered lovingly by his brother Philip, with Philip's daughter Kirsten alongside.

His brother says Barry was a caring person who was loyal and loving to family and friends at all times. He added that he would have been a fantastic uncle.

Talking about losing his brother, Philip said: "We all feel in our family if we had lost him at sea, there would have been an acceptance.

"Barry is missed by all those who were lucky enough to know him and I hope this new inquest will do him justice."


The final tribute of the day was written by mum Jacqui Gilhooley for her son Jon-Paul, and read by cousin Paula Kadiri.

Jon-Paul, from Huyton, was the youngest of the 96 to die at Hillsborough. He was 10-years-old.

Jacqui told the court how Jon-Paul would be very proud of his cousin, the Liverpool FC and England captain Steven Gerrard who has played over 600 games for the club and led them to numerous triumphs.

She also told how Jon-Paul was an animal lover, who once brought home six abandoned kittens and also insisted the family adopt a deaf albino dog.

She said: "He loved all his family and loved parties. He went to a lot of football matches, always with the same group that travelled to Hillsborough. At 3.30pm I knew he was gone and wasn't coming back.

"But I think back and remember how lucky I was to have Jon-Paul. I have no regrets at all, you don't appreciate what you have. I would go back and take those 10 years any time.

"He has been denied a chance of fulfilling his life, making new friends, getting married, carving out a career, having children.

"To the world he was a football fan, but to us he was our world. Forever loved and missed."
“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
― Steven Weinberg

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2014, 05:03:03 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-inquests-continue-warrington-more-7027816

My son's life ended unnecessarily because of the failures of others, dad tells Hillsborough inquests


A father whose son had strong views on the poor condition of football stadiums today told the Hillsborough inquests about the boy he lost.

Barry Devonside, spoke proudly of his son Christopher, from Formby, who was one of the 96 to die in the disaster on April 15, 1989.

A woman also paid tribute to her childhood sweetheart, who she had four young children with when he lost his life at Hillsborough.

Today personal statements about eight victims were read out to the jury at the specially designed courtroom in Warrington.

The first statement of the day was written by solicitor to the inquests Timothy Suter, in the absence of a statement from the family.

It was taken from statements given to the police and read out by the counsel to the inquests.

The jury heard Martin, a lifelong Liverpool FC supporter, was 29 and from New Mills in Derbyshire. He was an older brother to Nigel and had grown up with his grandmother.

After leaving school, he worked for a fabrics factory before he was made redundant and got a job as a print worker.

Martin had travelled to Hillsborough on April 15, 1989 with friend John Murray.

After his death on Leppings Lane, his stepmother identified his Wrangler denim jacket, with two lapel badges of Liverpool FC and Speedway.


A mum paid tribute to her son who struggled to survive when he was born.

Betty Almond’s statement about her son Anthony Kelly, 29, from Rock Ferry, was read to the court by a legal representative.

The jury heard Anthony was born prematurely and weighing less than 2lb.

In her statement, Mrs Almond said when he finally came home from hospital, “It was a day we thought we’d never see”.

She said Anthony grew into a “grand lad” who liked football and had a flair for drawing cartoons.

He was an only child and loved going to school and being around other children.

He liked helping his dad fix motorbikes and even built his own bike from spare parts found in a scrap yard.

Mrs Almond said she was very proud of her son when he enlisted in the Army at 18 and he went on to have a variety of jobs after leaving.

She said: “I miss him so much. Anthony was our only child. Hillsborough should never have happened.”


A father told the court about his son who died at Hillsborough shortly after turning 18.

Ken Clark said Paul, an apprentice electrician from Derbyshire, was a lovely young man - good natured, fun loving and caring with a great personality, sense of humour and wonderful smile.

Mr Clark shared his memories of Christmases as a family and remembers one year when they bought Paul a gold BMX.

He said: “We still have the bike, we never felt able to let it go."

The court heard the father and son shared a passion for football and Mr Clark passed on his love of Liverpool FC to Paul.

One year when Paul was asked what he wanted for Christmas, he requested LFC curtains, an LFC rug, an LFC lamp and an LFC bedspread.

He even named his two goldfish after his favourite players Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush.

Mr Clark said his son was popular and his friends still meet in the village to remember him and lay flowers on his grave on April 15, every year.

He said: “Paul celebrated his 18th birthday just a month before Hillsborough. He was dearly loved by his family and friends.

“He was happy and full of life and had a bright future ahead of him.”


A mum paid an emotional tribute to her son who died the day after finishing his plastering apprenticeship.

Paul Carlile, 19, from Kirkby, was due to start his new job on the Monday after the Hillsborough disaster.

Mum Sandra Stringer wrote a touching portrait of her son, which was read to the court by his sister Donna Miller.

Reading her mum’s words, Mrs Miller said: “Paul was brought up to be a law abiding citizen. He was not a hooligan and he was not a drunk.”

The court heard Paul’s mum and nan were the most important people in his life and after his granddad died, he divided his time between both houses.

Paul loved treating his mum and every Friday would come home with her favourite sweets and pay for her to get her hair done.

Speaking about Paul’s new job, which he was due to start on Monday, 17th April, Mrs Miller said: “That day never came. On April 15th our world fell apart.”

The court heard Paul’s body was brought home on his sister Michelle’s 21st birthday.

“She no longer celebrates that day,” said Mrs Miller.

Following Paul’s death, the road his nan lived on was renamed Carlile Way, at the request of the neighbours.

Continuing her mum’s statement, Mrs Miller said: “We don’t know what Paul’s dreams were, I guess he thought he had a lifetime to fulfill them.

“He was 19. His life was only just beginning.

“He didn’t get a chance to fall in love or hold his own child in his arms.

“People say time heals. It does not. We haven’t been allowed to heal.

“We just want some answers that may give us some peace.

“Paul did nothing wrong that day. He went to watch the team he loved and came home to me in a coffin.

“Our pain will go when we see Paul again and hold him in our arms.”


A mum spoke lovingly of her son who died alongside his friend at Hillsborough.

Patricia Owens, said Jonathon was 18 and a popular member of staff at Royal Life Assurance, where he had worked since leaving school at 16.

One of the friends he made there was Paul Burkett, who Jonathon travelled to Sheffield with on April 15, 1989. Neither came home.

Remembering when her son was born, Mrs Owens said: “He was a beautiful, healthy baby boy and his father John and I fell instantly in love with our son. It was a love we knew would last forever.”

Jonathon was born in St Helens, but moved with his parents to Cardiff, Southport and the Chester.

He loved sports and was a talented snooker player.

Mrs Owens told the court: “He was very down to earth and realistic. When asked what he wanted to do in life he said 'to be as happy as I am now in the future', to have a good relationship with a woman who he loved and who loved him back, possibly a couple of children, a good job and a second hand BMW."

Mrs Owens said she, Jonathon and his dad were “the best of pals”. She remembers dancing in the kitchen with him to Paul Simon’s Graceland on Sunday Mornings.

The court heard Jonathon had been thrilled to get a ticket to the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough. The day before the game he phoned his mum to ask if she thought his dad would lend him his car to drive to Sheffield.

Mrs Owens said: “At that time, I did not want him to go. I was concerned about him driving so far on what would be a very busy day.”

She told the court: “He was the love of our lives.”


A wife paid tribute to her childhood sweetheart who died at Hillsborough.

Stephen Harrison was 31 and had four children with his wife Susan, whom he met at the tender age of 14.

Daughter Joanne read out a statement from her mum, in which she said: “Stephen was my rock and soulmate, and for our children he was their world.”

The couple married at 18 and Stephen was described as a “devoted family man” who did everything with his family’s best interests in mind.

Stephen went to Hillsborough with his brother Gary, who also died in the disaster.

Reading her mum’s statement Joanne said: “The day Stephen left our lives, our world fell apart - not just as a family but as individuals.

"We have struggled to come to terms with the fact that he left for a match and never came back home.”

Joanne also read a statement from Stephen and Gary’s mum Anne Wright.

In it she told of sitting at home after the disaster and waiting for a knock at the door, hoping her sons would come back.

She wrote: “My two boys were good sons, brothers and fathers. They can never be replaced and our lives can never and will never be the same without them."


A proud dad told the inquests how he received a letter from a teacher who couldn't remember coaching finer sporting all-rounders than his son and former Liverpool and England star Rob Jones.

Christopher Devonside from Formby was 18 when he died at Hillsborough. He had gone to the match with a group of 10 close friends, two of whom - Gary Church and Simon Bell - never returned home.

In a statement written by mum Jacqueline and read by dad Barry, a prominent member of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, the jury heard how Chris was doing A Levels in history, politics and economics at Hugh Baird College and had hopes of taking a year out to travel before attending university.

Barry spoke proudly of how his son was a very good sportsman but was very laid-back and had lots of friends.

Chris was interested in current affairs and had strong views on football grounds, believing most of them to be in an unacceptably poor condition.

Mr Devonside said: "He would argue passionately that the circumstances surrounding the Heysel stadium disaster warranted greater transparency and honesty on the part of the officialdom."

Mr Devonside read a statement from Chris's friend Tim Knowles, who said he was "fortunate to be Chris's friend", before adding himself: "Our son went to a football game on a sunny Saturday in England and never came home.

"His life was ended abruptly, prematurely and unnecessarily because of the failures of others, preventing Chris from fulfilling his dreams of travel and university."


The final statement of the day was about Joseph McCarthy, a talented sportsman and academic.

His cousin Anthony Goggins read out the tribute to the 21-year-old from Ealing.

Mr Goggins said Joe had captained his school football team and led them to victory in the local cup.

He also won the Sunday Times British Amateur Gymnastics award for his age group.

Mr Goggins said Joe did well at school and was popular with other students.

As well as being on the cricket and football teams, he was a school prefect and chairman of the debating society.

He loved to travel and also loved fasion, taking an interest in French and Italian fashion houses.

After leaving school, Joe went to Sheffield University to study for a degree in Business Studies.

Mr Goggins, who’s from Ireland, told the court about going to live with Joe’s family for a time when he was 17. During that period they became firm friends, sharing interests in football and music.

He said: “Joe was one of life’s good guys.

“He was a genuinely lovely human being, full of joy with a zest for life. We all miss him.”
“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
― Steven Weinberg

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2014, 06:11:02 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-inquests-continue-more-personal-7033111


Margaret Aspinall speaks of son James at Hillsborough inquests


Margaret Aspinall, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, was among the family members reading tributes to their loved ones in court today.

In her statement she said being allowed to speak about her son James at the inquests had given the family a shard of light in the darkness that followed his death.

A father also paid tribute to his football-mad son Kevin Tyrrell, who had been undergoing trials at Tranmere Rovers FC before he died in the disaster.

The court heard about 12 of the 96 victims and more will be read out when the inquests resume on Monday.


A sister spoke lovingly of her brother who died aged 19 at Hillsborough.

Karen Staniford said Gary Church, a joiner from Seaforth, was one of four siblings and a “lovely child” who never caused their mum and dad trouble.

As a child he was a typical young boy who loved to play and watch football.

Mrs Staniford said Gary was very close to his parents and had a “very special father and son relationship” with his dad, who he enjoyed making things with.

Shortly before his death they made a coffee table, which still takes pride of place in his dad’s house.

The court heard Gary loved to play and watch football and was popular at school, with Mrs Staniford describing her brother as a “real little charmer” with the girls.

She continued: "As well as being the best brother I could ever have wished for Gary was a loving uncle to my three children.”

She told the court of a memory she has of seeing him with her twins when they were six, carrying Christopher on his shoulders and holding Claire's hand.

She said: "It was such a lovely sight to see how much he loved them and the children equally adored him."

Mrs Staniford said her brother was “one in a million" with a wonderful smile.

He died at Hillsborough along with his friend Christopher Devonside.

Mrs Staniford said Gary’s death “devastated many people”. She said: "It's hard to put into words just how much Gary was loved and is missed every day."

She added: "To this day I live just a few doors away from the family home I shared with Gary as we were growing up and each day I look out of my window expecting Gary to come home."


A mum who struggled to cope with the heartbreak of losing her son at Hillsborough, died 18 years later on the anniversary of the disaster.

Paul Hewiston, 26, from Crosby, was remembered in court today by his sisters Tracy and Debbie.

Reading their statement to the jury, Tracy Phelan said: “Paul was a handsome, witty, charismatic young man.”

She said he completed trials for Everton, but his loyalty to Liverpool FC affected his commitment to the team.

Shortly before Hillsborough he had started his own roofing business and was in a relationship with a “wonderful woman”, Bernadette.

Mrs Phelan said: “That Saturday morning I watched our Paul singing as he ironed his shirt and pants, excited at the prospect of going to the semi final, but equally looking forward to meeting his girlfriend after the game as they had planned to go for a meal."

He never got to fulfill dreams of having a family.

Mrs Phelen said Paul brought laughter, fun and love into the family and they were blessed to have him in their lives.

She said Paul was the light of his mum's life: "Each year, as April 15 drew closer, we would see our mum and dads’ sadness increase and the grief that was so clearly etched onto our little mum's face would become more apparent.

"Her heart was broken and it remained broken for the rest of her life.

"On 15 April 1989, we not only lost a wonderful brother, we also lost a mother and 18 years later to the day, she too passed away."


A teenager who died at Hillsborough told his mum he loved her everyday.

Patricia Harrison said something died in her family, the day Peter was killed in the disaster.

In her statement, which was read to the court by a legal representative, Mrs Harrison said when Peter was born, he was the longest baby she’d ever seen. He was just 15 when he died but had already reached 6ft 4ins.

“I wonder how tall he would have ended up,” she said.

The court heard Mrs Harrison was not married when she had Peter and for seven years it was just the two of them.

She said: “This meant he was my friend.”

Mrs Harrison later married husband John, who adopted Peter and had two other sons.

Peter, from Page Moss, was also close to his grandparents and Mrs Hewitson said her parents had not been the same he died.

In her statement, Mrs Harrison said: “Peter was lovely and loved his family, especially his brothers.

"He told me he loved me every day and was at the heart of the house and our lives, we loved and worshipped him."

Shortly before Hillsborough, Peter left school and had planned to go to college in Jersey and stay with his uncle.

Mrs Harrison said: “I think he would have made his fortune there.

"It feels very strange that I did not get to see him grow up.”

The family bought Peter a season ticket the Christmas before he died and he was buried with it.

Mrs Harrison said the family still meet every year on Peter's birthday to look at photos and tell stories about him.

"Something died in the family when Peter died.

"What happened was terrible, but we all try to remember the good times.

"I often go to his room, which still has his bed and bedside table."


A man who died in the Hillsborough disaster would have celebrated his 50th birthday next month.

Sue Roberts, secretary of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, told the court about her brother Graham, 24, from Wallasey.

Speaking on behalf of her mum and dad, who have since passed away, Ms Roberts said: “It is my belief that they are looking down on us all from heaven along with my brother Graham, the other 95 victims of this awful day, and also the other parents, family members, friends and survivors who have passed away prematurely due to their torment caused by the loss and trauma of the last 25 years."

Ms Roberts said Graham left school at 16 and got an apprenticeship with British Gas. By the time of his death, he had a senior role at the company.

He was engaged to Sandra Hattersley and their wedding was booked for the summer of 1990.

They had already chosen their first home and Ms Roberts recalls on the morning of the Hillsborough disaster, they had a letter to say the contract on the house was ready.

Sandra asked him to miss the game so they could go and sign the documents, but Graham just laughed.

Ms Roberts told the court: "He said it was the semi final and they could sign for the house on Monday instead."

She said Sandra's relatives were looking forward to welcoming him into their family.

“I am sure you will agree with me that Graham had so much to live for and an exciting future ahead of him,” she added.

"Both my parents are now reunited with their beloved son, which sadly, since his death, was all they wanted."


Margaret Aspinall, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said being allowed to speak about her son James in court has finally given the family a shard of light amongst the darkness.

Her statement was read to the court by James’s brother David.

The court heard the 18-year-old from Huyton fell in love with football when he went to a Liverpool FC match in 1978 and saw the Reds beat Tottenham Hotspur 7-0.

He loved going on family holidays to Wales, so he could spend time with nature.

David recounted a story about James being taught to swim by his dad on holiday in Spain, and realising when his dad stepped back into the deep end that his dad was unable to swim himself.

He said: “Many years later dad could only watch from the side pen of Leppings Lane terrace as his eldest son's future disappeared in such harrowing circumstances, powerless to help his son when it was most needed."

His dad has not attended a football match since that day.

The court heard James left school at 16 and worked at a car dealership before getting a job as a shipping clerk.

He loved singer Chris de Burgh and played his song Sailing Away so often that mum Margaret could often be heard in the house shouting, "I wish Chris de Burgh would sail away".

David described his eldest brother as "selfless".

Reading his mum’s statement he said: "A darkness fell over our family on April 15, 1989 and it is only being here now, being allowed to describe what a decent human James was, that has given our family a shard of light into that darkness.

"James has been carried in our hearts every day for the past 25 years. He will always be loved for who he was and what he meant to each and every one of his family."


The court listened to two statements about Michael Kelly, 39, from Old Swan.

The first was written by daughter Joanna Kelly and read by Anna Morris.

Joanna was 13 when her dad Michael died.

When she was young he moved away from her and her mum in Torquay after their marriage broke down, but he still visited.

She said she associates her dad with fun and laughter and still feels his loss profoundly.

In her statement, Joanna said: "I only have lovely, tender memories of my dad.

"I still feel the loss of my dad profoundly. He and I were robbed of a relationship, from my growing into a teenager, a woman, a mother and welcoming him and meeting my two children, his grandchildren, and watching them grow."

Michael’s brother Steve Kelly also read a personal statement he’d written.

He said: "Hillsborough victim, one of the 96. In death he became body number 72, also the last Hillsborough victim to be claimed by his family.

"Yet another statistic. All descriptions that identify body number 72."

He added: "I want to remove that sequence of numbers from him. I am here today to reclaim my brother."

Mr Kelly said Mike was quiet and a loner. He was happy reading his book and also loved music and football.

When he was 19 he joined the Navy.

Mr Kelly would write to Mike every week and he would promise to bring him back a parrot from Africa.

After leaving the Navy Mike travelled the country in seach of work.

He married and had daughter Joanna but later divorced and moved to Bristol in 1985, where he got a permanent job.

Mr Kelly said he is not in contact with his niece Joanna.

He said: "I think of her often and always wonder does she think of her dad."

He added: "I hope by the end of these proceedings she will learn the truth about what happened to her dad. She needs to know Mike, her dad, was not a hooligan.

"He got caught up in something out of his control, something he could not have envisaged and therefore was not prepared for.

"He was such an experienced football fan I still torment myself wondering how Mike became a victim of the dreadful events of April 15, 1989."

He added: "Mike was a real man, father, son, brother, friend.

"In some ways I did not realise how close we were until he was gone. I still miss him.

"He was not just one of the 96, not just body number 72 - he was our Mike and he is much loved and much missed.

"I said earlier I came here to reclaim him. I hope the decision of this inquest allows me that. Only then can Mike rest in peace."


A teenager who died at Hillsborough said it was the best day of his life when he got tickets for the game.

Mum Edna Murray today told the jury her son Paul, 14, leapt into the air with joy when the tickets arrived by post on his birthday three days before the disaster.

Paul, from Stoke-on-Trent, was an avid Liverpool fan and excited about going to watch the match with his dad.

Mrs Murray said Paul was very popular in school and enjoyed swimming, cooking and was in the church choir.

After he died the elderly lady who lived next door told his parents how he would often run down the hill to help carry her shopping bags and sit on her garden wall describing the plants to her, because she was almost blind.

After his death his two schools organised special awards in his memory.

Mrs Murray said they agreed to them as long as they were given to the pupil who was the most helpful, reliable, always smiling and a pleasure to have in school - just like Paul.

The awards are still given to this day.

Mrs Murray said: "Paul often said he wanted to be famous. In a strange way his wish was granted in a part of Stoke-on-Trent."


A dad paid tribute to his football-mad son who died at Hillsborough.

Frank Tyrrell’s statement about his son Kevin, 15, from Runcorn, was read by uncle Gerard Tyrrell.

The court heard Kevin was a polite young man who never got into trouble, in or out of school.

His dad said he could always be found on the field at the back of his house playing football.

He played for his school teams and three months before Hillsborough began playing for Tranmere Rovers under-15s.

At the time of the disaster he was undergoing trials for Tranmere and was hoping to be signed for their training scheme.

Kevin’s younger brother Gary looked up to him and went on to be a semi-professional footballer.

When Kevin started going to Anfield at the age of 13, his dad said they never worried he wouldn't be safe.

Hillsborough was his first away game.

Mr Tyrrell said: "We never expected our son to go to a football match and never come home, but sadly that is what happened.

"In the early hours of April 16, after identifying Kevin I went to touch my son only to be told that I couldn't as he now belonged to the coroner.

"He didn't. He belonged to me and my wife and he was Gary and Donna's brother."


A man died at Hillsborough shortly before his 25th wedding anniversary.

Reading a personal statement about her father Henry, who died aged 47, Christine Burke said a surprise party had been planned and a holiday to Rome booked for her parents who met aged 21.

Miss Burke said: "Our dad was my mum's rock and life and they used to do everything together."

She said he was also a devoted father to his three children.

"I used to confide in my dad and there have been many occasions since his passing that I have wanted to turn to him for advice,” she added.

Miss Burke said she was a "real daddy's girl".

She said: "He used to always say that one day he'd give me a big white wedding that every daughter dreamed of, but that day never came and I have never been able to get married as it's something I will never be able to do without my dad."

Henry also spent a lot of time with his son Ian who worked with him as an apprentice in the building trade, when he turned 16.

Miss Burke said they used to call the family home the ‘mad house’, with everyone running round in the mornings trying to get ready.

"But that madhouse was full of all the fun, love and laughter you could ever wish for as young children growing up,” she added.

"We never loved anyone as much as we loved our dad. He was always there for us, to protect us, guide us and advise us.

"I wanted just that one time to be there for him, when he was lying on that pitch on his own, to hold his hand like he held my hand through my life, and we weren't, none of his family were, and we have to live with that every single day."

Miss Burke told the court her dad is not a number. “He is Henry Thomas Burke who went to watch his beloved Liverpool and never came home.”


A mum said her first thought every morning is still her son, who died 25 years ago at Hillsborough.

Dolores Steele told the inquests she and her husband Les had travelled to Hillsborough with Philip, 15, from Southport, but came home alone.

She said: "We did a lot of things together as a family and on April 15, 1989 we awoke to a beautiful, bright, sunny day to attend the match together.

"Les was never the same since we lost Philip. He could not come to terms with the fact we were at Hillsborough and he was unable to save his son. It was all too much for him. He died in September 2001.”

Mrs Steele told the court Philip had followed in his father’s footsteps as a Liverpool supporter and knew everything there was to know about the club.

As a youngster he joined the Cubs and was an alter boy in the local church.

Mrs Steele said: “Philip loved his life, his school work and play, but there was something that came top of his list and that was football."

He was very close to his younger brother Brian, who was always by his side.

She added: "From the minute he was born until he died he filled our family with love and joy.

"I never heard Philip say anything negative about anyone.

"My first thought each morning is of Philip, as well as the last thought at night. He is always with is.

"Thank you for your love and beautiful smile. That smile could light up the world and I am very proud of you, Philip."


A sister spoke lovingly of her brother who died in the Hillsborough disaster.

Lesley Roberts said Peter Burkett, a 24-year-old insurance worker from Rock Ferry, was inseparable from his brother Terry as children.

When their parents divorced Peter moved to Anglesey with his mum, but later came back to Rock Ferry to live with his dad.

Ms Roberts said her brother was “bright and intelligent” with so much potential.

Ms Roberts read out some comments from younger brother Michael, who was eight when Peter died.

He said: “I think of my brother every day and I only wish I had more memories of him."

Ms Roberts told the court: "In November, 1988, five months before the Hillsborough disaster both my big brothers Peter and Terry walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.

"Without a doubt Peter was the star of the day."

She said if you searched the world a million times over you would never find anyone quite like Peter. “To us, he was unique,” she added.

"Shortly before Christmas five months ago, our mum passed away, aged just 66, just before she was able to complete this statement.

"She loved Peter with all her heart and said he was such a loving child and he was born smiling."


A man who died at Hillsborough would now be a grandfather the inquests heard.

Gloria Benson spoke about her son David, who was 22 when he died at the Sheffield Wednesday stadium.

Mrs Benson said David got on well with his twin brother Paul, but the pair could be very competitive.

After school he started work at a timber company where he met his partner Lesley.

Their daughter Kirsty was just two when David died.

Mrs Benson told the court that when Kirsty got married, Paul gave her away and they danced to Luther Vandross’s Dance With My Father Again at the reception.

She said: "Kirsty is now 27 and has two children of her own."

Mrs Benson said David’s two grandchildren were being "brought up to know about Hillsborough and their grandad who was so cruelly taken away before they even got a chance to meet and know him."
“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2014, 04:00:14 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-inquests-resume-warrington-more-7040332


Hillsborough inquests hear of more victims, including Tony Bland who died after four years in a coma


Another emotional day in court as more family members tell of loved ones they lost in the football stadium disaster


The last person to die as a result of the Hillsborough disaster was remembered in court today.

Tony Bland suffered severe brain damage in the fatal crush, which left him in a coma from which he never awoke.

He died four years after disaster on March 3, 1993.

A total of 10 victims were remembered at the inquests in Warrington today.

It was the penultimate day of the family tributes, with the final six being read to the jury tomorrow.


The first statements of the day remembered James Hennessy, 29, from Ellesmere Port.

His sister Karen Gooding told the court he was known to the family as “our Jimmy”.

She said he was extremely close to his mum, who also lost her first son Steven when he was a baby: "Her love for him is endless and 25 years on, she still grieves for him with a broken heart that will never mend, all because he went to watch a game of football,” Mrs Gooding added.

The court heard James and his dad raced homing pigeons together, winning many trophies.

He also loved fishing, was popular at school and did well academically.

After leaving education, he became a plastering apprentice and went on to set up his own business shortly before Hillsborough.

He had also just started a new relationship and, Mrs Gooding added, “had everything to look forward to”, when his life was cut short.

"He had a lot going for him and I was proud of him,” she added.

Mrs Gooding described James as tall, dark and handsome and said she sees his smile in her daughter Victoria.

The court heard James married in 1981 and had a daughter Charlotte, but the marriage didn't work out and he moved back home.

She added: "He was a quiet and extremely private person. I would like to think that he wouldn't mind me writing all this about him.

"I would hope he understands that I had to talk about him because, you see, he was not body number seven to me. He was our Jimmy."

James’s daughter Charlotte Hennessy then spoke about her dad, telling the court her heart broke the day he died.

She said: "Jimmy Hennessy is my dad. I had only six little years with him but they were the best years of my life."

Miss Hennessy described her dad as a “beautiful person” who never had a bad word to say about anyone.

He loved clothes and was a mod, with a green Lambretta.

She said LFC was his passion but when she was born "little Charlotte Hennessy and Liverpool FC equalised".

Miss Hennessy said she would play with her dad’s hair, paint his nails and play in her wendy house with him - something his friends didn’t know.

She told the court she has missed out on 9,145 days with him, 25 Christmases, 25 of her birthdays and 25 of his birthdays.

Had he survived he would be granddad to her three sons.

Miss Hennessy said since her dad died it has been like a part of her is missing and she feels incomplete.

"Losing my dad at Hillsborough stole my childhood from me and took away my best friend.

"It left me in a life of anger, bitterness and depression.

"I don't want to live in the shadow of Hillsborough anymore and when all this is over, may my dad rest in peace."


A man paid tribute to his brother who died aged 19 at Hillsborough.

"I was only nine years old when James died but I remember he was a fantastic older brother and always had time for me,” said Nick Delaney.

James, from Ellesmere Port, was a qualified mechanic and played football and basketball.

Mr Delaney also told the court about his love for animals.

“He once found a hedgehog with a broken leg and brought it into the house, using lollipop sticks and elastic bands to try and make it a splint.

He also kept pigeons and ferrets, one of which he smuggled into school.

Recalling the events of April 15, 1989, Mr Delaney said on the day he’d asked James if he could go to the game with him, as he had a spare ticket.

Mr Delaney said he was upset when James said no, but as he was leaving he promised to take him to the final.

He said at 4.15pm that day, his mum called him inside and cuddled him "like there was no tomorrow".

Mr Delaney said he believed her mother's instinct meant she knew something was wrong.

He said his family was never the same after Hillsborough.

"Even though I was only nine years old on that dreadful day, I still miss my big brother, as much as if it was yesterday,” he added.


A woman who was just one year old when her dad died at Hillsborough today spoke about the “wonderful father” she never got the chance to know.

Leanne Hawley said her mum, brother, sister and family have shared their memories of her dad David Hawley, 39, from St Helens.

She said: "I know my dad was a wonderful father and a much loved husband, a kind and thoughtful uncle and a sincere friend.

"How I wish I could have known him for myself. How different our lives could have been. He was a great man.”

Miss Hawley told the court that although her parents went to the same school, they only met when they were both staying on the Isle of Man.

She said her dad sold his Polaroid camera so he could stay an extra week and pluck up the courage to ask her mum out.

The couple went on to have three children; Claire, who was 16 when David died, John, who was 12 and Leanne who was just one.

Miss Hawley read out some comments from Claire, which said: "My dad missed out on all the important days of my life: the birth of my daughter, my wedding day, my graduation.

"He would have made all those wondrous days so much more wonderful with his humour and his love."

David died at Hillsborough along with his nephew Stephen O’Neill, who he’d gone to the game with. Miss Hawley said: "My dad and Stephen's loss has left a huge void in our family."


The parents of a teenager who died at Hillsborough with his uncle, paid tribute to their son.

Patricia and Kevin O’Neill’s statement about their son Stephen was read to the court by his cousin Clare Roper.

The jury heard Stephen followed his dad as an avid Liverpool fan and even had a pair of football boots on his pram instead of a teddy.

He had a younger sister, Lisa, but his parents wanted more children and were undergoing fertility treatment when Stephen died.

The court heard that when Mr O’Neill worked away in the week, he would tell Stephen to look after his mum and sister - a responsibility he took seriously.

Stephen loved children and was good with his cousins, who he would babysit.

Prior to his death, he was studying at college and hoped to go to university to do electrical engineering. The court heard Stephen and his dad often talked about setting up a business together, once he’d graduated.

Stephen attended church and the Thursday before he died, the pastor had asked the congregation to close their eyes, and instructed anyone who wanted to make their peace with God to raise their hand.

When one of Stephen’s friends opened his eyes, he saw that Stephen was the only one to have put his hand up.

On the morning of Hillsborough, Stephen gave his sister Lisa £20 for her birthday.

Reading his parents statement, Claire said: "Ironically he would not be there to share her birthday, as she became a teenager, or to see what she had bought with the money."

The court heard Stephen had never been in any kind of trouble and had been excited about going to the semi-final with his dad, his uncle, cousin and a family friend.

Continuing the statement, Claire said: “Five left the house that day and only three returned. What a waste of a lovely life."


A mum whose son died at Hillsborough spoke of her sadness that he never got to fulfill his dreams.

Brenda Ball read part of a school project Kester did when he was 11, where he described his future hopes.

In it, he said he wanted to go to university, get a job in banking, get married and have two children.

He also said he wanted a big party for his 18th birthday and to take his driving test when he was 17.

Mrs Ball said: "Kester never achieved these future hopes. He died aged 16 years."

Kester was born in Maghull, but the family later moved to St Albans.

Mrs Ball said her son was on his school football team and a keen cross country runner.

He did well in school, taking his O Level maths a year early and achieving a grade A.

Mrs Ball said Kester’s headmaster spoke of him as being one of the most popular, respected and influential members of his year group.

The court heard Kester’s dad Roger was also a Liverpool supporter and they would attend matches together. In 1981, aged just nine, he saw Liverpool win the European Cup in Paris.

Kester was was given a Kop season ticket for his birthday and had gone to Hillsborough with his dad and two friends Craig and Andrew, who survived.

His dad was carried out of the stadium unconscious and Mrs Ball told the court he died four years ago.


A man who died four years after he was injured in the Hillsborough disaster was today remembered in court.

Tony Bland, 22, from Keighley in West Yorkshire, loved Liverpool FC and would save up his money to go to matches, said Andrew Duncan, husband of Tony’s sister Angela.

Reading a statement from Tony’s parents Barbara and Allan, who were also in court, Mr Duncan said Tony was a "pleasant and well liked boy" who was at his happiest while outdoors.

The court heard he had been a healthy child, apart from a couple of incidents, including one when he spent six weeks in hospital after being run over.

On another occasion, when he was three, his sister fed him medicine while his parents were in bed. The medicine turned out to be sherry.

After leaving school Tony worked at a paper mill.

He loved pool and snooker and made many friends while enjoying a pre-match pint before the games at Anfield.

Tony was the last of the 96 victims to die, after being in a coma for four years.

Mr Duncan said: "The young man we knew lost his life on April 15, 1989 and died in hospital four years later on March 3, 1993.

"Tony is remembered by many and will always be loved and missed.”


A man who died at Hillsborough had an “inseparable relationship” with his brother, who today paid tribute to him in court.

In a statement read by a lawyer, Ken Johnston told the court his brother Alan, 29, from Walton, was: “Handsome, articulate, well educated and healthy.

“He was a wonderful young man in the prime of his life and with an exciting future ahead of him,” said Mr Johnston.

The court heard Alan got a scholarship to the Liverpool Institute and started his career as an accountant at Walton Hospital.

He was very sociable at work and frequently gave blood.

He was engaged to be married when he died at Hillsborough.

Mr Johnston said: "He shall be missed with infinity. Alan's close family is desperate for the justice he deserves. He was an amazing guy."


A mum whose son died at Hillsborough said the grief of losing him tore the family apart.

Margaret Lewis, paid tribute to her son Carl, 18, from Kirkby, in a statement read to the court by Carl’s daughter Chantelle.

Referring to the words 'widow' and 'widower', she said: "When a mother loses a child there are no words for this. This is because it's not the natural order of things.

"No parent should ever have the grief and the emotion that comes with losing a child, a child that you created and cherished unconditionally since the day you first set eyes on them."

Carl was one of three brothers and never caused the family any trouble.

After leaving school he found a job he loved in a chicken factory.

Carl was made redundant and found work in scaffolding, but then received a letter from the factory offering him his old job back. He was due to start on April 17.

The teenager was in a relationship with girlfriend Paula and they had daughter Chantelle, who was 11 months old when he died.

Mrs Lewis’s statement continued: "Carl would come into the house and Chantelle's smile would light up the room."

Carl had gone to Hillsborough with friend Paul Carlile, who also died in the disaster.

The court heard Carl’s unexpected death deeply affected the family and his dad never recovered from the loss. He died four years ago.


The sister of a man who died at Hillsborough spoke proudly of her brother.

Denise Hough, told the court Gordon Horn, 20, from West Derby "didn't have the easiest start in life" and was taken into the care system.

He lived in a children's home before moving in with Mrs Hough and her husband when he was 14.

She said they decorated his bedroom in Liverpool colours and treated him like one of their own children.

Mrs Hough said: "When he first came to live with us he was quiet, but he grew with us almost like a seed."

The court heard Gordon was a big Liverpool fan, liked music and loved watching Home and Away.

He was known as ‘gopher’ because he would queue up for other people to get their match tickets, earning some money to go towards his ticket.

Gordon moved out of his sister's home when he was 17 and worked in a number of jobs but was unemployed at the time of his death.

Mrs Hough said her children saw him as an elder brother.

She told the court her son Andrew wanted to go to Hillsborough with Gordon, but she wouldn't let him.

He later blamed her for Gordon's death, saying if he had been there he could have saved him.

Mrs Hough said she often wonders what would have become of Gordon if he hadn't died at Hillsborough and whether he would have had children.

She said: "It's hard to swallow that so many years later we still haven't been able to put him to rest.

"We stopped him from going to the Heysel football match to keep him safe, it's a shame we couldn't stop him going to Hillsborough.

"He had so much life left to live."


A woman whose husband died at Hillsborough told the inquests he was “the great love of my life”.

Margie Matthews, spoke movingly of her husband Brian, 38, from Knowsley Village.

“He took great delight in telling me I only made it to number five,” she said, adding that he joked she came behind his sheepskin coat, Diana Ross, his mother Dora and his number one love - Liverpool FC.

She said: "I was happy being number five and I was happy being Brian's wife."

The pair met in a pub when Mrs Matthews was 19 and Brian was 21, but later split up.

They met again by accident three years, three months and three days after they had broken up. Just eight days later, Brian asked her to marry him.

The court heard the couple bought a home in Knowsley Village where Mrs Matthews still lives, and some of Brian’s DIY is still in place.

She said he "always lived for today", preferring to spend money on foreign holidays than save it.

Six months before Hillsborough Brian quit his job and became self-employed, working in financial services.

She said she is grateful that he spent the Thursday before he died with his dad, as he was close to his family.

On the morning of Hillsborough, Mrs Matthews went food shopping to make him sandwiches for the day.

She also made a flask of coffee and thought about putting two Kit Kats in but decided not to in case they melted.

Mrs Matthews said: "I think back and I wish I'd put the Kit Kats in so he would have enjoyed his last meal more."

She said she watched him leave and he waved for a long time.

Later, when he didn't return, she went to Sheffield and the gymnasium, to try and find him.

She said an officer told her he had bad news and she expected to be told he was seriously injured.

“In my head I was wondering whether I would have to make changes to the house. It did not occur to me that he could have died and I refused to believe it even when I was told,” she added.

Mrs Matthews said she wanted to take her husband’s body home and try to warm it up, to bring him back to life.

She said: "I could not comprehend that my funny, loving, artistic, generous, larger-than-life-husband could go to a football match and never come home."

She added: "I was so lonely without Brian. I would not wish the experience of those early years following his death on my worst enemy.

"I took comfort in the thought that God must have had a major project he needed Brian to take on up there and I know that Brian would have done a fine job of it."
“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
― Steven Weinberg

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2014, 03:34:52 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-inquests-hear-final-tributes-7048212


Hillsborough inquests hear final tributes to victims of the disaster


Coroner thanked for giving families the opportunity to talk about their loved ones who died


 The final personal tributes to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster were read out at the inquests today.

The jury has now listened to background information about each of the 96 people who died as a result of the football stadium crush on April 15, 1989.

After today’s final reading, Michael Mansfield QC thanked the coroner on behalf of the families, for being given the opportunity to give the statements.

He said they have provided a permanent testament to the dignity of human spirit.

The proceedings have now been adjourned for three weeks for legal teams to examine pathology evidence.

The jury will return on May 20 and a stadium visit will take place on May 23.


A man who went to his first Liverpool game aged just 18 months old was among those who died at Hillsborough.

Peter Tootle, 21, from Everton, was today remembered in court in a statement written by his mum Joan and read by cousin Tracy Tomlinson.

In the personal biography, Mrs Tootle described her son as “our lad” and said he was much loved by all his friends and family.

The court heard Peter was very protective of his younger brother and sister.

Mrs Tootle said after attending his first Liverpool game at such a young age, he was hooked. “I think Liverpool was his first word,” she said.

Peter didn't drink or smoke and he hated his mum smoking. In the statement Joan said: "If he was still here I probably would have given up."

The court heard Peter’s local pub used to get crates of Lucozade in, especially for him.

The jury heard Peter was very shy but had started "courting" his girlfriend Nicola shortly before Hillsborough.

They had booked to go to Spain in the summer of 1989 and it was to be his first holiday abroad.

Mrs Tootle said: “He bought a load of new clothes for his holiday but it was never meant to be."

“Peter was a lovely lad, he was our lad.”


A sister today spoke lovingly of her brother who died at Hillsborough.

Ian Glover, 20, from Walton was one of six children and sister Lorraine said they had a happy childhood, shouting goodnight to each other every evening, “just like the Waltons.”

Miss Glover told the court that two days after the Hillsborough disaster, mum Theresa had her 50th birthday. She received a delivery of flowers from Ian, who had ordered them before he died.

The court heard that when Ian died, he was engaged to childhood sweetheart Nicky, who still visits his grave.

Just before Hillsborough, Ian had an interview with Yorkshire Metal. After his death the family received a letter saying he would have got the job.

Miss Glover told the court Ian’s clothes still hang in his bedroom, including the ones he wore on the day he died. Every so often his mum washes and irons them.

The court heard brother Joe was with Ian in the Leppings Lane end at Hillsborough and tried desperately to resuscitate him. Miss Glover said he never really recovered from what happened and died 10 years later.

Ian’s dad John was a leading Hillsborough campaigner but died in 2013 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Miss Glover said: “After the disaster Ian became one of the victims, number 37, which we found heartbreaking because to us he was our lad and our life."


A woman spoke of the impact her step-son’s death had on her family.

Anne Burkett, said Peter, 24, from Rock Ferry was inseparable from his younger brother Terry. “The gap that has been left is impossible to fill,” she added.

Mrs Burkett read to the court a dedication from Peter’s dad Terry, that said: "The world is a better place for your having been here son, you are my legacy."

Mrs Burkett said of Peter and her husband Terry: "They were both true gentlemen.

“They were good mates as well as dad and lad.”

The court heard Peter’s younger sister Jenny was just four when he died. He had been thrilled when Jenny was born and kept a photo of her on his desk at work.

Mrs Burkett also read a statement from Peter’s then girlfriend Debbie, who lost two people at Hillsborough - Peter and friend Jonathon Owens.

It read: “As young friends we shared the most traumatic experience of having to attend two funerals in one day of the lads we loved."

She said when she spent New Year's Eve 1988 with Peter, he was full of optimism and told her it would be a special year.

"Little did we know what was ahead of us."


A teenager who dreamed of working for the police was amongst those who died at Hillsborough.

Steven Robinson, 17, from Crosby was remembered in a statement read by his siblings Peter, Paul, Tracey and Claire.

They told the court Steven was working as apprentice electrician for a bus firm in Bootle, but his ambition was to work for Merseyside Police.

Brother Paul said Steven was "certainly no stranger to the mirror" and modelled his look on The Fonze.

The jury heard Steven was never short of a joke - most of which were rude - and loved music, particularly Human League.

Brother Peter broke down in tears as he told the court that when he was 12, Steven bought him the present he’d always wanted and took him to Anfield.

He still has a picture he cherishes of the two of them together by the This is Anfield sign.

Younger sister Claire was just 12 when Steven died. She said: "He was such a character.”

Claire said every Saturday morning Steven, who worked in a newsagents, would leave a copy of Jackie and a packet of Hubba Bubba under her pillow.

"Even though he was horrible to me most of the time, that really showed me he did love me,” she added.

The night before Hillsborough he picked Claire up. "He was just so excited. I went to bed that night and that was the last time I saw him."


A doting mum told the inquests of her sadness that her son was “brutally taken away”.

Mary Corrigan spoke of her “beautiful son Keith”, who was 17 and from Wavertree.

She said: “I really do not have the words to express how much I loved and treasured my son, my first born."

The court heard Keith McGrath loved football and snooker but refused to play rugby because he didn't want a flat nose.

Mrs Corrigan said it was inevitable he would be a Liverpool supporter as his dad and six uncles were.

At the time of Hillsborough, he was working as an apprentice painter and decorator and had plans to start a business with a workmate once he qualified.

His parents were planning to get him driving lessons for his 17th birthday but he asked for an LFC season ticket instead.

Mrs Corrigan said: "All these years I have been saying, if we had not got him that ticket he would be home safe."

"He was the shining star of my life.

"If I could have, I would have stretched my arms to where you were on that disastrous day to cuddle you like when you were first born and brought you home,” she said.


Three sisters paid a moving tribute to their brother who died at Hillsborough, calling him their “inspiration”.

Brian Matthews, 38, from Knowsley Village was remembered in a statement by Deborah, Brenda and Dianne.

The court heard Brian was the first born in the family and had been an alter boy and head prefect at St Francis Xavier School.

He worked as a quantity surveyor and later became the manager of a building society in St Helens.

The court heard Brian did lots of charity work, raising hundreds of pounds for Children in Need in 1988 by dressing as a clown and walking from Liverpool to Manchester.

Sister Dianne said: "He was larger than life itself and his winning smile would literally light up a room."

She said he and wife Margie, who paid tribute to Brian in court yesterday, were ready to start a family but Brian was robbed of his life before it happened.

“He was a man of great integrity, who should have been safe when he went to that match on that fateful day. He was not safe,” she added.

Dianne said the family have fought to defend Brian’s good character for the last 25 years. They are grateful to the anonymous people who helped him on the day he died.

Sister Deborah added: "Our parents never got over the loss of Brian.

"It breaks our hearts that they went to their graves with their well-brought-up, impeccably mannered, articulate son being called a beast."

“He was our big brother, our mentor, our inspiration. He will always be our inspiration."
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2014, 03:36:06 PM »
Full transcripts of proceedings so far

http://hillsboroughinquests.independent.gov.uk/hearings/
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2014, 06:24:33 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-inquests-hear-two-tapes-7147183

Hillsborough inquests hear two tapes of video footage were stolen from club room

Jury also told Liverpool fans could only use 20 out of 83 available turnstiles at stadium   


Two tapes of video footage from the day of the Hillsborough disaster were stolen from a club room, the new inquests into the disaster were told.

The jury also heard how Liverpool supporters had to enter the stadium through 23 turnstiles compared to 60 for Nottingham Forest supporters.

The new proceedings in Warrington resumed today with evidence from Detective Superintendent Neil Malkin, senior investigation manager for Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation into events on the day and the planning and preparation beforehand.

DS Malkin told the court how video footage from the day of disaster, which where possible had been put into digital format for use in the inquests, was missing two tapes that had been stolen from a club room at Hillsborough.


It is believed one tape was blank and the other had footage of the West Stand or its entrance.

The footage was believed to be of differing quality and the DS Malkin said the investigation into the stolen tapes was ongoing.

He told of the 'painstaking' work investigators have done to identify the victims through thousands of videos and photographs.

DS Malkin said the 191 officers working for Operation Resolve have trawled through 2,000 videos, including extensive BBC footage, and 7,000 photos to identify victims.

He also said his team had looked at 500,000 documents as well as speaking to 1,500 people, including Hillsborough families which he said had been 'extremely beneficial' for the investigative process.


The inquests were told that the evidence DS Malkin was presenting was 'uncontroversial'.

He detailed the staffing and procedures of the various emergency services on the day along with Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and the local councils.

He also explained the role of Eastwood and Partners, the consulting engineers who worked with Sheffield Wednesday over safety certificate dealings, and added that the local authority was responsible for the supervision of that safety certificate.

The operations and traffic divisions of South Yorkshire Police were also examined, along with the modes of transport supporters would have used to travel to the match and segregation methods used to keep rival fans apart.

Moving onto the Hillsborough stadium itself, the jury was shown photographs of the Leppings Lane End of the ground, including the turnstiles, inner concourse and tunnels, pens, perimeter fences and crush barriers, but none from the actual day of the disaster.

Of the 93 turnstiles at the ground, 83 were operational on the day of the disaster with all Liverpool supporters in attendance having to enter the ground through the 23 at the Leppings Lane end. The other 60 were used for Nottingham Forest supporters.

Views of, and from, the police matchday control box were also shown to the court along with the positions and capabilities of the 20 Sheffield Wednesday CCTV cameras and 10 BBC Television cameras on the ground.

The jury were also played a 10 minute video "virtual tour" of Hillsborough, including 3D model of scenes where no footage was available.
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2014, 11:00:40 PM »
Watch: Hillsborough inquests jury members given extensive 'virtual tour' of how ground looked in 1989 using latest technology

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/hillsborough-inquests-jury-members-given-7148476?
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2014, 05:45:44 PM »
Watch: Hillsborough inquests shown video footage of how disaster unfolded on 15 April 1989

You can watch the 32 minute video presentation (no audio) that was shown to the jury below - please be aware some of the footage is distressing

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/watch-hillsborough-inquests-shown-video-7153670
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2014, 06:45:33 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/unusual-position-hillsborough-stadium-led-7157743

Unusual position of Hillsborough Stadium led to build up of fans approaching Leppings Lane end, inquests hear

Experienced structural engineer has been giving evidence at Day 17 of the inquests


The jury at the Hillsborough inquests were told that the unusual position of the stadium contributed to a build up of supporters approaching the ground from the Leppings Lane end, where the fatal crush occurred.

John Cutlack, a structural engineer with more than 34 years experience, took the jury through an extensive collection of diagrams and images of how the Hillsborough Stadium looked in 1989, ahead of their visit to the Sheffield Wednesday ground tomorrow.

Mr Cutlack, who has designed stands at football clubs including Newcastle United and Arsenal, said while it wasn’t unusual for the Hillsborough Stadium to be in a residential area, he did find it unusual that the stadium is surrounded by “quite large lengths of residential property”.

He added: “The orientation of the stadium was not the same as the orientation of the roads around it, so it goes at sort of 45 degree angle across the site on which it occupies.

“This meant that because of the constriction of the houses along Vere Road and along part of Penistone Road, and also with the presence of the River Don, a large proportion of spectators had to approach from the Leppings Lane end."

The jury was also shown photographs taken in 1989 of the turnstiles at Hillsborough, and of the service roads and exit gates.

They were told that the area has since changed dramatically and tomorrow Mr Cutlack will use traffic cones, tape and poles to indicate exactly where the features were positioned in 1989.

The jury were once again taken on a “virtual tour” of the Leppings Lane end using laser technology and 3D modelling, to show the journey fans would have made on April 15, 1989.

They also heard that some of the crush barriers in pens three and four of the West End were up to 60 years old and differed in style to the ones at the back of the same pens, which were inserted around 1978.
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2014, 02:22:55 PM »
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/watch-update-hillsborough-inquests-jury-7164578

Update from Hillsborough as inquests jury make poignant visit to Sheffield

The Hillsborough inquests jury have today been shown the route many Liverpool fans took on April 15 1989 as they arrived in Sheffield to visit the scene of Britain's worst ever sporting disaster.

Earlier this morning the twelve jury members along with the coroner Lord Justice Goldring,legal representatives and members of the press left the court in Warrington where the new inquests began at the end of March and were accompanied on their journey by an escort from Cheshire Police.

Arriving in Sheffield via the A61, they passed various key points from the day of the tragedy including the green-roofed White Horse pub which some fans visited before the match along with Wadsley Bridge railway station.

The jury got off the coaches at the entrance to Leppings Lane, which was blocked off for the purposes of their visit, and were walked down to the entrance to the West Stand, with Lord Goldring using a speaker to narrate to the jury and press who were all given individual headphones. Cones and tape were used to mark out to show how the outer walls, exit gates and concourse area of the Leppings Land end, which has changed fundamentally since the disaster, would have looked back in 1989.

The jury have been also given a brief tour of the inside of the stadium, including where the locations of the police control box and pen entrances would have been.
Before breaking for lunch, the jury also had the opportunity to walk through the tunnel that led into pens three and four and will be given a more detailed tour of the inside of the stadium when the tour resumes

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-27530596

Hillsborough inquests jury visits stadium

The jury at the Hillsborough inquests has been taken to the Sheffield stadium for a site visit.

Jurors walked down the tunnel of the Leppings Lane stand, where a crush led to the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans. Since the 1989 disaster, the ground has seen substantial changes, including the removal of terraces and metal fencing.

The eleven jurors also visited other places relevant to the inquests as set out by the coroner, including a pub and a railway station.
A bus carrying the jury stopped on Leppings Lane, a road adjacent to the stadium. The jurors then walked towards Hillsborough.

The coroner Lord Justice Goldring told them: "This is where supporters would have walked." He reminded the jury that the layout of the entrance had changed, with former exit gates and other features marked off with cones.  Cones were used to mark out the former features of Hillsborough stadium

Those present carried photographs of the stadium in 1989 to help visualise the old layout. Jurors were taken to two locations en route to the stadium - the White Horse Inn, where Lord Justice Goldring said "some Liverpool fans" went before the match, and Wadsley Bride railway station, from which he said Reds supporters "were accompanied by police as they went to the stadium".

Earlier this week the inquests heard a minute-by-minute countdown of how the disaster unfolded. The hearing was told of key events and viewed rarely seen footage of the day taken by police and BBC cameras as well as stadium CCTV.

The fresh inquests into the deaths were ordered when a panel of three High Court judges quashed the accidental death verdicts.


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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #31 on: June 9, 2014, 07:23:39 PM »
Hillsborough inquest told Sheffield Wednesday breached safety rules
Club admits safety certificate was not valid and risked potential criminal liability in years before 1989 disaster in which 96 died


A former secretary of Sheffield Wednesday has admitted the football club was in breach of its officially required safety certificate in the years before 96 people were killed in a lethal crush at its Hillsborough ground on 15 April 1989.

Richard Chester, secretary from January 1984 to October 1986, a position then similar to chief executive, told the inquest into the disaster he was aware that the lack of up-to-date, drawn plans meant the safety certificate was not valid, and that breaching the certificate's conditions was a matter of potential criminal liability.

Chester said that when he took over from the previous secretary, Eric England, he was aware that "radial" fences, built in the 1980s to divide the Leppings Lane terrace, had reduced its capacity for fans to less than the maximum 10,100 stated on the 1979 safety certificate. Despite that, the certificate and plans of the ground attached to it were never updated.

Questioned by Christina Lambert QC, Chester acknowledged that Sheffield Wednesday was in breach of the terms and conditions of its safety certificate because the club had no system for counting the number of supporters entering each part of the ground.

The certificate stated that 7,200 was the maximum capacity on the west terrace, Leppings Lane, and 2,900 on the north-west terrace in the corner. However, the club's turnstile counting system could not track which part of the ground supporters entered after coming through the turnstiles numbered 7-23, and therefore could not count how many were in those parts of the ground.

Explaining the purpose of a football club safety certificate, Chester said: "It is to ensure that the paying public are catered for and are hosted in a ground safe in the knowledge that the ground is safe for them."

Lambert asked him whether he knew that a breach of a condition of the safety certificate at least exposed an individual to a criminal liability. He replied: "Yes."

Chester told the inquest that he had never previously revealed that, independently of the capacity stated on the safety certificate and the club's safety policy, he used to withhold 250 tickets from sale for the Leppings Lane end when a large crowd was expected.

He said he took the tickets out of circulation because: "If you have taken a section of terracing out which is not available for people, then there is less capacity."

The inquest jury were told about two matches at Hillsborough in the 1980s at which police closed the tunnel leading to the central area of the Leppings Lane terrace, and directed incoming supporters to the areas at the sides. The jury has already heard that the tunnel was not closed, or fans redirected to the sides, at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, when 96 people were killed in the two central "pens" behind the goal on the Leppings Lane terrace.

At Sheffield Wednesday's home match against Barnsley on 7 January 1984, the inquest heard, some Barnsley supporters were delayed due to a traffic incident on the M1. Following discussion with the South Yorkshire police officer in command, Chief Superintendent Brian Mole, the decision was taken to delay the kickoff to allow more time for fans to be accommodated. When the late-coming supporters arrived, Chester said he and Mole ordered the tunnel leading to the Leppings Lane central area to be closed with two gates, and police and stewards were also stationed in front of the gates to direct supporters to the side areas.

Chester said he and Mole had judged the terrace's central area to be "fairly well packed" by then. He said they had assessed this by "visualising" the number of people in the crowd behind the goal. The total crowd for that match was 29,000, Lambert said. The crowd at the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest semi-final in 1989 was 54,000.

Chester said that Mole was the police officer in command of every match at Hillsborough during his time working for Sheffield Wednesday. The coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, told the jury in his opening address that Mole was replaced less than three weeks before the 1989 semi-final by Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, who had never commanded a match at Hillsborough before.

Questioned by Pete Weatherby QC, for 22 families whose relatives died in the Hillsborough crush, Chester accepted there was a problem with the central area of the Leppings Lane end becoming overcrowded. Asked how Sheffield Wednesday managed that problem, Chester agreed it was based on him and chief superintendent Mole "wandering around and having a look" at how many fans were in there.

"Did you not ask anybody at the club or police: 'What is the method, the policy, by which we manage this enclosed area, this cage in effect?'" Weatherby asked. "It was a bit hit and miss, wasn't it, Mr Chester."

"Yes I think it would be fair to describe it as that," Chester replied – adding, however, that the system worked while he was at the club.

When Chester left Sheffield Wednesday in October 1986, Weatherby asked: "Was this ad hoc, hit or miss arrangement passed on" as a policy to those who would succeed him.

Chester replied that he had made the club director responsible for stadium safety, Keith Addy, aware of his concerns about the overcrowding problem at the Leppings Lane end, and that he had informed the chairman, Bert McGee, that Leppings Lane needed "undivided attention."

The Leppings Lane was, Chester told the inquest, a "serious pinch point, a bottleneck," which had fans arriving in large numbers with tickets for different parts of that end of the ground. There were only 23 turnstiles to allow entry, for a stand whose capacity allowed on the safety certificate was 10,100. Chester had himself conducted a survey at a match starting at 3pm, attracting a 30,000 crowd, which found that 72% of people arrived after 2:40pm.

"There were not enough turnstiles for these very large crowds, were there?" Weatherby asked.

"I would have to concede and say no, there wasn't," Chester replied.

He was then taken through a scheme drawn up in 1985 which would have increased the number of turnstiles to 34, and allowed them to be dedicated to particular parts of the Leppings Lane end, so supporters could be accurately counted in. The board, Chester acknowledged under persistent questioning, did not proceed with that scheme because they baulked at the cost of £127,000. Lesser works were carried out instead at half that cost, leaving the number of turnstiles at 23, not dedicated to specific parts of the ground. Chester agreed that Sheffield Wednesday could attract grants of up to 75% for any works on Hillsborough, from the Football Grounds Improvement Trust.

Weatherby then asked Chester about a series of players Sheffield Wednesday had signed between March 1984 and August 1985, including Simon Stainrod, bought from Queens Park Rangers for £260,000, Nigel Worthington, £130,000 from Notts County and Garry Thompson, £425,000 from West Bromwich Albion. Players were also sold for similar sums, and a board minute dated 7 March 1985 showed a credit balance of £689,000.

"It puts into perspective the £120,000-£130,000 for this [rejected Leppings Lane improvement] scheme, doesn't it?" Weatherby asked.

"Yes," Chester agreed.

Chester said he was at home watching on television the 1988 FA Cup semi-final, which like 1989 was between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough. He had, he said, been "aghast" to see that Liverpool had been allocated the Leppings Lane end. As the club with a bigger following, coming to Sheffield from the north, down the M1, Liverpool should have been given the larger standing area, the Spion Kop, he said. He referred to a League Cup match between Sunderland and Norwich City, when he had asked Graham Kelly, then the Football League's secretary, for the allocated ends to be switched, and Sunderland, the bigger, northern club, given the Kop. This was agreed within 48 hours, he said.

Asked whether he realised that Graham Kelly had become the secretary of the Football Association in 1989, who had allocated the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final to Hillsborough with Liverpool allocated the Leppings Lane end, Chester said he did not.

The inquest, in Warrington, continues.

David Conn, Guardian
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #32 on: June 26, 2014, 10:08:58 AM »
http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/latest-news/165307-hillsborough-inquests-june-24
Courtesy of Press Association - June 25

Almost double the safe number of fans were packed into one terrace pen when disaster struck at Hillsborough resulting in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans, the inquests heard.

Pen three on the Leppings Lane terrace had an estimated 1,296 fans inside when the safe capacity was just 678, the jury was told.

Structural engineer John Cutlack, a stadium expert, told the inquest that photos had been used to estimate the number of fans inside that pen on April 15 1989 before Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans were crushed to death in pens three and four on the day of the disaster at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday FC's ground.

Mr Cutlack has been instructed by the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, to give his expert opinion, following weeks of evidence from witnesses from Sheffield Wednesday, fire, police and the local authority, responsible for safety on the day.

Mr Cutlack said he estimated the actual correct safe capacity for the whole Leppings Lane terrace to be 5,426, with a safe maximum for pen three of 678 fans and 778 for pen four.

But when the ground was first designated as needing a safety certificate in 1979 due to its size and status, the total capacity for the Leppings Lane terrace in the certificate was given as 7,200, including, for pens three and four, 1,000 and 1,200.

Christina Lambert QC, counsel for the inquests, asked the witness: "Those were effectively 50% more than the safe capacity of those pens? That's before you add in an influx over that capacity?"

Mr Cutlack replied: "Yes."

He said some of the "seeds of the disaster were sown in 1979" when the capacities were estimated higher than he believed were safe.

And there was no system in place for ensuring that the safe numbers for each pen were not exceeded - assuming they had been calculated accurately in the first place.

In practice, the jury has heard, there was no way of ensuring that fans accessed any of the pens in equal numbers so they were distributed across the terrace instead of excessive numbers cramming into individual pens.

No records were kept by Sheffield Wednesday FC of the numbers going into each section or pen at the ground for each football match and there was a failure to limit the numbers going into each pen from breaching the safe capacity - both in breach of the government's safety advice, called the Green Guide, for football stadiums.

In fact, any of the 7,200 fans with cup tickets for that part of the ground could have gone into any of the pens - and it was assumed supporters would then safely disperse themselves on the terraces.

Mr Cutlack also said the perimeter fence to stop fans getting on the pitch was a "pretty dreadful arrangement".

It had a trough at the bottom, struts jutting into the terraces which were trip hazards and uneven steps up to the gates in the fence - which were themselves too narrow.

Mr Cutlack added: "They could be said to be more of a hindrance than a help."

The jury was told that 10,100 Liverpool fans had tickets for seven turnstiles, or 1,443 per turnstile - far more than in the guidelines of a "flow rate" of 750 fans per turnstile per hour.

Mr Cutlack added: "It would have taken two hours for everyone to pass through those seven turnstiles to get access to the West Terrace and North West Terrace."

Ms Lambert said: "Is two hours too long?"

Mr Cutlack replied: "In my view it is - by about an hour. I think there should have been another seven turnstiles."

The hearing, in Warrington, continues.

Author: Press Association
Tagged: hillsborough , inquests
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2014, 05:41:00 PM »
From David Conn in The Guardian:

A "real danger" was posed to people who went to watch football at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground in the 1980s, the inquest into the 1989 disaster has heard.

The number of spectators allowed on to the terrace at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium greatly exceeded safety limits, a structural engineer, John Cutlack, told the inquest. In addition, the club had no dedicated system to monitor the numbers of people admitted to the pens, created in 1981 and 1985 by building fences up the terrace.

Cutlack said that on 15 April 1989, when 96 Liverpool supporters were killed by the crush in central pens 3 and 4, the pens were full far beyond their safe capacity. Giving expert evidence, Cutlack calculated 678 to be the safe limit of the number of people for pen 3, but on the day of the disaster 1,296 – almost double – were admitted.

The total capacity for the Leppings Lane terrace had been calculated for Sheffield Wednesday's safety certificate in 1979 at 10,100, which Cutlack said was itself "substantially" excessive, yet it was never changed, even after the construction of pens and other structural changes including the removal of crush barriers in the 1980s that reduced safe capacity.

Cutlack told the inquest the correct safe figure should have been 7,247 people – 2,853 fewer.

Asked by Michael Mansfield QC, representing 75 of the families whose relatives died at Hillsborough, whether the overstated safe capacity, and lack of system to monitor numbers in each pen, was "in itself creating a real danger on the Leppings Lane terrace", Cutlack answered: "Yes."

He added: "If you are consciously admitting [the permitted number of] 1,000 people into pen 3, and the figure which should have been calculated is 678, then that must mean the level of safety is less than it should have been and risks could occur to people's safety."

Cutlack agreed that the safe capacity figure of 10,100 for the Leppings Lane terrace stated by the club in 1979 was "a substantial miscalculation". Then, throughout the 1980s, there was "a failure to identify that error" and recalculate the figure, he said.

Together with the absence of a dedicated system for counting the numbers admitted to the individual pens, Cutlack agreed with Mansfield that this created "a serious risk of danger on the Leppings Lane terraces at Hillsborough".

The inquest heard that at 2.40pm on the day of the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, which kicked off at 3pm, just over 5,000 supporters had been counted in to the Leppings Lane terrace in total, with a further 5,000 building up outside awaiting admission. Only seven turnstiles were in operation to admit them, which Cutlack said was "insufficient".

The jury has already heard evidence from club and police witnesses that the majority of football supporters arrived to matches in the last 20 minutes before kickoff.

The inquest continues.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/27/hillsborough-inquest-real-danger-1980s-fans

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #34 on: June 29, 2014, 03:35:27 PM »
Hillsborough: evidence 'does not support claims that fans had no tickets'
Structural engineer tells inquest that number of spectators in stadium did not exceed limit on safety certificate

David Conn
theguardian.com, Sunday 29 June 2014 12.46 BST

The suggestion that many people without tickets entered the Hillsborough football ground when 96 Liverpool supporters died there in 1989 is not borne out by the evidence, the inquest into the disaster has heard.

John Cutlack, a structural engineer appearing as an expert witness on stadium safety, calculated the number of spectators in the ground, and said it did not exceed the number who should have been there according to Sheffield Wednesday's safety certificate.

Pete Weatherby QC, representing 22 families whose relatives died at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989, asked Cutlack: "From your best estimates, there is no objective basis to say that a large number of people without tickets got into the ground?"

Cutlack replied: "It definitely does show to me there certainly were not more people in the ground than were on the safety certificate."

The jury of seven women and four men were told, however, that the number of spectators legitimately allowed by Sheffield Wednesday's safety certificate on to the Leppings Lane terrace exceeded a safe capacity limit. The club also had no dedicated system to monitor the number of people admitted to the enclosed pens created in 1981 and 1985 by building metal railing fences up the terrace. This meant, Cutlack said, that supporters who had tickets for that part of the ground in the 1980s were in "real danger".

On the day the 96 Liverpool supporters were killed by the crush in central pens 3 and 4, Cutlack has said the pens were full far beyond their safe capacity. He has calculated 678 as the safe limit of people for pen 3, but on the day of the disaster, 1,296 were in there.

The total capacity for the Leppings Lane terrace had been calculated for Sheffield Wednesday's safety certificate in 1979 at 10,100, which Cutlack said was itself "substantially" excessive, yet it was never changed, even after the construction of pens and other changes to that end of the ground in the 80s that reduced safe capacity. Cutlack has told the inquest the correct safe figure should have been 7,247 people, 2,853 fewer.

He said he considered the overstating of the safe capacity to have been "a remarkable failure" by Sheffield Wednesday's consultant engineer, Dr Wilfred Eastwood, who was also a shareholder in the club and represented it on safety matters.

Asked by Michael Mansfield QC, representing 75 of the families whose relatives died at Hillsborough, whether the overstated safe capacity, and lack of system to monitor numbers in each pen, was "in itself creating a real danger on the Leppings Lane terrace", Cutlack answered: "Yes."

He said: "If you are consciously admitting [the permitted number of] 1,000 people into pen 3, and the figure which should have been calculated is 678, then that must mean the level of safety is less than it should have been and risks could occur to people's safety."

Cutlack agreed that the safe capacity figure of 10,100 for the Leppings Lane terrace stated by Sheffield Wednesday in 1979 was "a substantial miscalculation". Then, throughout the 1980s, there was "a failure to identify that error" and recalculate the figure, he said. The error remained uncorrected, and the 10,100 figure unchanged, despite the division of the terrace into pens and other structural changes, including the removal of crush barriers, which did not comply with the official "Green Guide" on safety at sports grounds.

Together with the absence of a dedicated system for counting the numbers admitted to the individual pens, Cutlack agreed with Mansfield that this created "a serious risk of danger on the Leppings Lane terraces at Hillsborough".

Weatherby asked Cutlack whether allowing in crowds that exceeded the ground's safe capacity meant "you are creating the conditions for a calamity such as happened in April 1989".

"Potentially, yes," Cutlack replied.

Weatherby asked if it was acceptable, on the part of those responsible, to respond to that danger by considering that it was safe because no disaster had yet happened.

"'We got away with it last time' is not an answer to the safety concerns?" Weatherby asked.

"No," Cutlack replied, "because it could have been happenstance that you did get away with it."

The inquest heard that at 2.40pm on the day of the match, which kicked off at 3pm, just over 5,000 supporters had been counted in to the Leppings Lane terrace, so about 5,000 were building up outside, still awaiting admission. Only seven turnstiles were in operation to admit them, which Cutlack said was insufficient. The jury has already heard evidence from club and police witnesses that the majority of football supporters arrived to matches in the last 20 minutes.

The Leppings Lane terrace had a 3-metre-high reinforced mesh fence at the front, to prevent supporters getting on to the pitch; Cutlack said these were not mandatory and some football clubs took the view that they should not have perimeter fences because they were "inherently unsafe".

Pens 3 and 4 had gates within the fences, which Eastwood had judged could be opened, only from the outside, to enable spectators to be evacuated quickly in an emergency. Cutlack said he disagreed with that view. Both gates were narrower than the minimum 1.1-metre width recommended by the official Home Office Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds, known as the Green Guide. Both fences had steps in front of them; the one in pen 4 was 76% higher than the recommended height of steps in the Green Guide, which Cutlack said made it "more of a hindrance than a help" for fans to get through the gate.

"People on the terrace, whether in pen 3 or 4, faced very considerable difficulties using these gates to get out of there, didn't they?" Cutlack was asked by Stephen Simblet, another barrister representing 75 of the families.

"Yes," Cutlack said, "they did."

After the disaster, in May 1989, the jury were told, Eastwood backdated safety inspection certificates for 1986 and 1987 that he had previously failed to produce, and sent these to the club. Eastwood wrote to the club's secretary that he had not realised it was a condition of the club's safety certificate for a structural engineer to carry out a safety inspection every year with a council representative, then send a certificate to the council.

Eastwood therefore produced "retrospective" safety inspection certificates for 1986 and 1987, which were "simply backdated", and included them with his letter, said Terry Munyard, representing three families.

"I have to say that is a fairly horrifying letter, from a professional perspective," Cutlack said.

The inquest continues.
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #35 on: June 30, 2014, 09:20:34 AM »
After the disaster, in May 1989, the jury were told, Eastwood backdated safety inspection certificates for 1986 and 1987 that he had previously failed to produce, and sent these to the club. Eastwood wrote to the club's secretary that he had not realised it was a condition of the club's safety certificate for a structural engineer to carry out a safety inspection every year with a council representative, then send a certificate to the council.

Eastwood therefore produced "retrospective" safety inspection certificates for 1986 and 1987, which were "simply backdated", and included them with his letter, said Terry Munyard, representing three families.

"I have to say that is a fairly horrifying letter, from a professional perspective," Cutlack said.

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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2014, 07:11:41 PM »
The Guardian, 30th June 2014.



The South Yorkshire police officer in charge of the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough when 96 Liverpool supporters died did not "know what he was looking for" when assessing whether the ground was overcrowded, his own barrister has suggested.

John Beggs QC said that it is "valid" to ask whether Ch Supt David Duckenfield and his fellow senior officers Roger Marshall and Roger Greenwood should have been in command at Sheffield Wednesday's football ground that day, April 15 1989. Duckenfield was appointed 19 days before the match, had never commanded a sell-out, capacity football crowd before, and, Beggs said, evidence will show he received "very little, if any, training".

John Cutlack, a structural engineer, has given expert evidence that supporters going to Hillsborough in the 1980s were in "real danger" due to the ground's safety failings, and agreed that these deficiencies left the club relying on "the eyes of stewards and police officers" to see if the ground was becoming overcrowded.

"If like Mr Duckenfield you have never commanded a sell-out match," Beggs said, "it follows as a matter of logic that you don't actually know what you are looking for in terms of the appearance of crowds, capacities and so forth, because you have nothing to compare it with."

Cutlack replied: "I think you are asking me to speculate on what training there might have been for a match commander."

"As the evidence will show," Beggs said, "there was very little, if any, training in those days."

He continued: "If you have never seen a sell-out match at Hillsborough it is very difficult to expect you to know what you are looking for in pens 3 and 4 [in which the 96 Liverpool supporters died]."

Cutlack replied: "I might also question if that was an appropriate person to be put in charge."

"That is a very valid question," Beggs agreed.

Cutlack has said the key safety failings were that the number of spectators allowed into the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough was substantially overstated on the club's safety certificate, which he described as a "remarkable" and "fundamental" failure by Sheffield Wednesday's engineering consultants, Eastwood and Partners. Second, the club had no system to monitor how many people were in the individual pens which during the 1980s were enclosed by metal fences built onto the terrace. This meant the only way to know how many supporters were in each pen was by "human observation", not by a mechanised system.

The "seeds of the disaster were sown" in 1979, Cutlack said, when Eastwood first incorrectly calculated the capacity of the Leppings Lane end, and this was never rectified throughout the 1980s, when building the pens reduced the numbers that could safely be allowed in.

Beggs took Cutlack through some of the history of football hooliganism in the 1980s, asking him if that was the reason why supporters were segregated, and there were fences at the front of the terraces at many grounds – although not Arsenal – to prevent pitch invasions. Cutlack agreed that concerns about hooliganism "did indeed influence the design" of Hillsborough.

Beggs then suggested that hooliganism was a cause of the Hillsborough disaster, because supporters would have been able to escape from the overcrowded pens had there not been fences at the front of the terrace.

"If there wasn't hooliganism, there wouldn't be segregation; if there wasn't segregation, there wouldn't be pitch perimeter fencing, and we would have been spared the tragedy of April 15 1989?" he asked.

Cutlack has previously said that stadium safety planning should guard against overcrowding. He said that the exit gates within the pitch perimeter fences were not designed to evacuate spectators from risks caused by overcrowding.

"The circumstances which occurred [to cause the overcrowding at Hillsborough]," he said, "are circumstances which should have been prevented."

The inquest continues.
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #37 on: July 3, 2014, 08:46:05 AM »
Courtesy of Press Association - July 2


Police motorcyclists monitoring traffic outside Hillsborough in 1989 were called away from the ground for a refreshment break shortly after the kick-off of the fateful FA Cup semi-final, the inquest into the tragedy has heard.

Malcolm Hodgson, then a police constable with South Yorkshire Police, recorded that at 3.02pm he had finished escorting coaches to the match and had sent a message to force control asking what he should do next.

He told Stephen Simblet, representing some of the bereaved families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the disaster, that he was told to go on the planned break for traffic officers.

The barrister asked: "Nobody was saying 'we have got a problem, we have got an emergency, you need to attend'. You were being sent off on your break as expected?"

Mr Hodgson replied: "At the time, yes."

The witness said he travelled three and half miles away from the ground en route to a South Yorkshire Police outpost before he was told at 3.15pm to return immediately to the ground.

He said he arrived 10 minutes later and was met by an ambulance containing two casualties which he then escorted to Sheffield's Northern General Hospital.

Mr Hodgson said at that stage he had "no idea of the magnitude of what was taking place" because he could not access his basic VHF radio.

He said: "The ambulance service just briefly said a barrier had collapsed and there were some injured people."

He then escorted four or five ambulances from the hospital to the football ground - which was hosting the tie between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest - and arrived at 3.50pm where he recalled the scene was then "chaotic" with police officers "in a daze" and a change in the crowd atmosphere.

Mr Hodgson said: "My most poignant memory is a man who was completely upset...he came and literally screamed in my face 'you caused this'.

"I thought at that point I was going to be pushed off my motorcycle and possibly injured. I was afraid slightly for what might happen."

On his next return convoy visit he said traffic on Penistone Road was gridlocked and he joined ambulance staff on foot to try to get to the ground.

At that point he said there were about 100 ambulances in the vicinity.

Mr Hodgson told Fiona Barton, representing South Yorkshire Police, that the radio problems did not affect the performance of his duties on the day as he followed his training.

He agreed with Paul Greaney, representing the Police Federation, that South Yorkshire Police in the 1980s was "highly regimented" as an organisation and that in fact he had completed his initial force training at an RAF base.

Officers were expected to stand to attention when a senior police officer entered the room and even salute them, he also agreed.

Mr Greaney asked: "Do you agree that within South Yorkshire Police there was in no sense a culture in which junior officers were encouraged to question or challenge orders they were given by a more senior officer?"

Mr Hodgson said: "Yes."

Mr Hodgson said he had witnessed scenes of hooliganism during his policing of football matches in the 1980s and agreed that such experiences would be on his mind when he was on duty.

Earlier the inquests heard that up to 100 ticketholders for the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough at the 1981 FA Cup semi-final could not watch the game because the terrace was full.

A total of 38 fans were injured in a crush at the tie between Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers as Spurs fans spilled on to the perimeter track and others climbed fences shortly after the start of the game.

Jurors sitting in Warrington, Cheshire, have seen a video of the incident in which the Spurs crowd surged forward as their team took the lead four minutes into the game.

It took place in the Leppings Lane end which was the scene of the fatal crush eight years later.

Giving evidence today, Spurs fan James Chumley told the inquests he was among fans who arrived late to the match because of delays on the motorway.

He said he entered the turnstiles at about 3.05pm but as he attempted to get on to the terrace was stopped by a police officer and told he was not allowed to go any further.

Mr Chumley said another officer later told him "a similar situation" had happened at other major events held at the stadium with supporters unable to gain access to the terrace.

The witness said: "He was clear we were at the wrong end."

Christina Lambert QC, counsel for the inquest, asked: "What did you understand by that?"

Mr Chumley replied: "Too many supporters, not enough space...the terracing was full.

"In his opinion the capacity of the stand was overdeclared."

He explained that up to 100 fellow supporters were also denied entry to the terrace.

The court heard Mr Chumley wanted stewards and police officers to endorse his ticket to show he had not seen the game which they refused and "found amusing".

He wrote a letter to Sheffield Wednesday three days later to ask for a refund on his £2.50 ticket.

Mr Chumley said he never heard back from the club.

Andrew Waters, representing Sheffield Wednesday, told the court there was evidence that then chairman Herbert McGee had taken note of a number of similar complaints from Spurs fans and a meeting was later held with police in a bid to take steps to avoid a repeat of the problem.

The inquest has previously heard that it emerged that the stipulated capacity may have been exceeded by 335.

A number of Spurs fans who had obtained tickets for the Spion Kop had to be transferred to their allocated Leppings Lane end, it transpired.

Among concerns voiced in later talks involving the relevant authorities was that the total capacity of 10,100 for the Leppings Lane terrace - before pens were introduced - was "too high".

The hearing continues tomorrow.
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #38 on: July 3, 2014, 02:16:41 PM »
The Echo is reporting today that the inquests are now set to run until July 2015.

The counsel to the inquests acknowledged that this was longer than the jury had initially been told, and the coroner said that this new timetable must be adhered to.


See entries at 10.14 and 10.15am

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/live-hillsborough-disaster-inquests---7362549
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Re: * Inquests 2014 - News Only Updates *
« Reply #39 on: July 3, 2014, 03:24:37 PM »
Police at Hillsborough lied to media during disaster, inquest hears
Journalist who was covering the 1989 FA Cup semi-final says he was misled when police briefed that Liverpool supporters had forced an exit gate to gain entry



Police at Hillsborough told a "wicked lie" to the media about what led to the deaths of 96 people, even as the disaster was unfolding, the new inquest has been told.

Journalist David Walker, now the Sunday Mirror sports editor, who was covering the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest for the Daily Mail, said police, via "unwitting" Football Association officials, briefed that Liverpool supporters had forced a large exit gate to gain entry to the ground en masse.

Asked by Mark George QC, representing 22 families whose relatives died in the crush at Hillsborough, if that was a "wicked lie" which was "deliberately misleading people as to how this dreadful event had begun", Walker replied that it was, and that it had initially misled him.

An experienced football journalist at Hillsborough who covered Sheffield Wednesday's matches and previous semi-finals at the ground, Walker said that on the day of the disaster, 15 April 1989, he went on to the pitch to see what was happening. He spoke to Liverpool supporters who told him the gate had been opened – the police themselves had ordered it to be opened, it emerged – and had not been forced. He later went to the gate itself, Gate C, and satisfied himself there was no sign of it having been forced.

"We, the media, were misled," Walker told the jury of seven women and four men. "The FA was briefing that it was a crowd disorder situation outside and that [the Liverpool supporters] had broken in, which they hadn't."

In an article published earlier this year and quoted to the jury, Walker wrote: "I reported on the outrage of fans who knew they were being smeared by the police via unwitting FA officials."

The police story that fans had broken down the exit gate was "one of the less contentious lies" in a series of "wicked smears" and "unsubstantiated rumours" which "span completely out of control", he also wrote. Walker, the current chairman of the Sports Journalists' Association, said: "I stand by that."

Recalling the disaster, Walker said he could see from the Hillsborough press box that the central pens of the Leppings Lane terrace were full at 2:40pm, and there was room to the sides. He said he expected the kick-off to be delayed, which was not uncommon at sell-out matches, but that this did not happen. The fatal crush developed in the central pens, Walker said, and supporters in distress were being pulled out, yet from the police control box, which he said had a perfect view, there was inaction.

He said: "The issue which stays with me to this day, beyond the terrible tragedy of 96 fans dying at a football match, a game that I love, was the absolute chaos and lack of leadership."

Walker said he knew and respected Ch Supt Brian Mole, who was transferred from Hillsborough shortly before the 1989 semi-final. Mole's replacement, Ch Supt David Duckenfield, policed just one match before the 54,000 sell-out semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, a midweek Sheffield Wednesday fixture with Wimbledon, where the crowd was just 15,777. Walker said he believed Duckenfield was too inexperienced to be put in command and the disaster would not have happened if Mole had remained in charge.

Before the 1987 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough between Leeds United and Coventry City, which he also covered, Walker recalled that fans approaching Leppings Lane had been stopped at a barrier to show they had tickets before proceeding. That meant there was no buildup of fans on the courtyard directly outside the turnstiles, he said.

The inquest continues.


David Conn, Guardian
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