Hillsborough inquests: 10-year-old would be 'proud of Gerrard'

Jon-Paul Gilhooley
Image caption Jon-Paul Gilhooley, who was ten, was Hillsborough's youngest victim

Steven Gerrard's cousin, who died in the Hillsborough disaster, would have been "very proud" of the England captain, his mother told an inquest.

At 10 years old, Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest of the 96 people who died after a crush at the FA Cup semi-final in April 1989.

The inquest jury in Warrington heard a statement from Jacqueline Gilhooley.

She said that by 15:30 on the day of the disaster she knew her son "wouldn't be coming home".

In the statement, read by two of Jon-Paul's cousins, Mrs Gilhooley said her son regularly went to football matches in a group, travelling by minibus.

She said: "I knew before 15:30 that Jon-Paul was gone. I knew he was not coming back.

"When I look back and remember how lucky I was to have Jon-Paul I have no regrets at all.

"You don't appreciate what you have at all. I would go back and take those 10 years any time."

'Worst ever' disaster

Gerrard was eight years old when his cousin was killed as Liverpool FC's FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest began.

Mrs Gilhooley added: "His cousin is Steven Gerrard, captain of Liverpool and England football teams. Jon-Paul would have been very proud of Steven."

Coroner Lord Justice Goldring has described the disaster as "the worst ever at a British sports stadium".

Jurors have been listening to background statements about how the Hillsborough disaster affected individual families.

Image caption Inger Shah moved from Denmark to London in the 1960s

A statement about Inger Shah was read by her daughter Rebecca Shah, who was stood alongside her brother Daniel. They told the court they were taken into care after their mother's death.

The jury heard the 38-year-old grew up in Denmark and moved to London in 1968 to work as an au pair.

Her daughter said she had liked Liverpool due to her love of the Beatles and would go to football matches after the Heysel disaster as the "club needed their support".

She said: "The effect of my mum's loss on our family was immense and profound. The death of my only parent led to myself and my brother being taken into care."

She said she had had to "defend my mother's good name for a quarter of a century", adding: "My mum was neither a drunken hooligan nor a bad mother.

"On the contrary she was a loving, caring, devoted and loyal mother. One who is so badly missed, much loved and always will be."

'One last wave'

A statement about Thomas Howard Sr was read out by his son Alan and daughter Gail.

Image caption Tommy Howard and Thomas Howard were the only father and son to both die during the Hillsborough disaster

The 39-year-old chemical worker from Runcorn went to the match with his 14-year-old son Tommy Howard Jr, who also died in the disaster.

Alan said: "To be sat down and told by our mother that our father and brother had gone to heaven when we were 11 and eight years old is something we found exceedingly difficult to come to terms with, and still do to this day."

His wife Linda Garton, describing Tommy Howard Jr, said: "He was just a normal schoolboy and wanted to be like his dad. He had everything going for him. He just wanted to go to the football match and watch his team play."

She told the hearing she didn't want him to go to the match but "knew it would break his heart if I put my foot down".

Ms Garton also described how Tommy Howard Jr turned and gave her "one last wave" as he and his dad left for the match.

The pair were the only father and son to both die in the disaster.

'One wish'

The jury heard a statement from Dr Dorothy Griffiths, who spoke about her brother Vincent Fitzsimmons.

Image caption Vincent Fitzsimmons, 34, from Wigan had a passion for photography

She cried as she said: "If I was to be granted one wish it would be to have a few more minutes with him to tell him how much I love him."

The 34-year-old from Wigan had a love of photography and was planning to move to London after finishing night classes, the coroner heard.

A statement about Peter McDonnell, 21, from Liverpool, was read out in court by his sister Evelyn Mills.

Image caption The court heard Peter McDonnell "made a mark on people wherever he went"

She told the jury Peter's passion was "for making and building things" and he aspired to have his own business.

Ms Mills said: "I gave him an IOU for driving lessons for his 21st birthday present. He never got to use them."

'Smile and laugh'

Stuart Hamilton read a statement about his stepfather Roy Harry Hamilton, 33, from Liverpool.

Image caption Roy Harry Hamilton, from Liverpool, was described as a "special" man

He said 1989 started well as Roy had been promoted at work and they had booked their first "flying holiday" to Rhodes.

As Roy was not the biological father to Stuart and his sister, the pair would "smile and laugh when people said they looked like each other".

Stuart said: "It would have been lovely to see dad as a grandad. We would have got to tell him just how special he was to us all. Now, as parents, we realise just how special he was."

Sydney Edwards told the court about his son Christopher Edwards, from South Wirral.

Image caption Christopher Edwards' father said his son "lived life to the full"

Standing between his wife and daughter, Mr Edwards said: "I often wonder to this day about the family life he could have had had his life not been cut short.

"The only comfort I have is that Chris experienced what is was like to be loved and lived his life to the full."

The court was told about Barry Sidney Bennett, who worked on tug boats.

His brother Philip said: "If we lost him at sea it would have been an acceptance."

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

The inquests, set to last a year, were ordered after new evidence revealed by the Hillsborough Independent Panel led to the original inquest verdicts being quashed.

The hearing was adjourned until Thursday.

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