Hillsborough inquests: 'Failures of others' took teenager's dreams
- 24 April 2014
- From the section Liverpool
A father whose son's life "ended abruptly" at Hillsborough had his dreams cut short through the "failures of others", an inquest was told.
Chris Devonside died aged 18 after a crush at the FA Cup semi-final in April 1989, which led to the deaths of 96 Liverpool football fans.
He believed the condition of most football grounds was unacceptably poor, the coroner in Warrington heard.
Hillsborough campaigner Barry Devonside said the Heysel disaster was a warning.
Mr Devonside Jr, from Wirral, "argued passionately" that "greater transparency and honesty" was needed after the 1985 disaster, where 39 football fans, mostly Italians, died in a European Cup Final between Liverpool and Juventus.
'Life ended unnecessarily'
Mr Devonside Sr said: "He believed that the condition of those football grounds he had visited was unacceptably poor.
"[Chris] argued passionately that the circumstances surrounding the Heysel Stadium disaster warranted greater transparency and honesty on the part of officialdom."
The former Hillsborough Family Support Group secretary added: "His life was ended abruptly, prematurely and unnecessarily because of the failures of others preventing Chris from fulfilling his dreams of travel and university."
Coroner Lord Justice Goldring has described the Hillsborough disaster as "the worst ever at a British sports stadium".
It unfolded on 15 April 1989 during Liverpool's match against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's ground.
The coroner heard about Martin Wild, 29, from Cheshire, who attended the match with a friend who survived.
A statement from Mr Wild's father Kenneth - dated 25 April 1989 - was read out. His family did not respond to the coroner's request for background information.
It said: "Martin was a life-long Liverpool supporter and went to all the home games at Anfield.
"He rarely travelled to away games."
Mr Wild and his younger brother Nigel lived with his paternal grandmother, Anne Wild.
The mother of Anthony Kelly, 29, from Birkenhead, Wirral said the disaster "should never have happened".
Betty Almond said her son was a "sickly baby" and weighed 2lbs (900g) when he was born but became a "grand lad".
She said: "I miss him so much. Anthony was our only child.
"Hillsborough should never have happened."
The inquest jury was told about Paul Clark, 18, from Swanwick in Derbyshire who was "happy" and had a "bright future ahead of him".
His father Ken Clark said: "Paul was a popular young man who had many friends.
"To this day they all meet together in the village on the 15 April to remember him and lay flowers on his grave."
Paul Carlile, 19, from Liverpool, was "not a hooligan" and was "not a drunkard" but was "brought up to be a law-abiding citizen", the inquest heard.
In a statement, his mother Sandra Stringer said: "People say time heals. It doesn't."
The document, read by his sister, Donna Miller, added: "We haven't had time to heal. We just want some answers - that may give us some peace.
"He went to watch the team he loved and came home in a coffin."
The mother of Jonathon Owens, 18, from Chester, said she was "glad" of the memories he gave her family.
Pat Owens said: "I'm glad we were able to give him fond memories, just as he gave them to us.
"Our home life was great. It wasn't all a bed of roses but love and laughter was at the forefront.
"The three of us were the best of pals," she added.
The inquest jury heard a tribute to father-of-four Stephen Harrison, 31, from Liverpool, died who along with his brother Gary, 27.
His widow Susan Harrison described how: "Stephen was my rock, my soulmate and for our four children he was their world.
"The day Stephen left our lives our world fell apart, not just as a family but as individuals."
A statement from his mother Anne Wright said: "My two boys were good sons, brothers and fathers."
'Zest for life'
Sheffield University student Joseph Daniel McCarthy, 21, from London, was "one of life's good guys", the coroner was told.
His cousin Anthony Goggins said he excelled both academically and at sports.
Mr Goggins said: "Joe was one of life's good guys. He was genuinely a lovely human being, full of joy with a zest for life."
Jurors have been listening to brief background statements about how the Hillsborough disaster affected individual families.
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 Friday.