Hillsborough inquests: Anne Williams' 'relentless determination'
- 8 April 2014
- From the section Liverpool
The mother of a 15-year-old boy who died in the Hillsborough disaster had a "relentless determination" to get the "truth uncovered", a coroner has heard.
Anne Williams campaigned after her son Kevin became one of 96 people who died following a crush at the FA Cup semi-final in April 1989.
Her daughter gave Kevin's portrait at the inquests in Warrington as their mother died from cancer in 2013.
Sara Williams said it was "no surprise... his last word was 'mum'."
'Love for Kevin'
Ms Williams said her mother would "love to be standing here telling you all about Kevin and his cheeky ways".
Mrs Williams, 60, campaigned for new inquests because she disputed the decision taken by the coroner at the previous inquests to cut off evidence from after "3.15pm".
She pleaded for the hearings with the attorney generals and the European Court of Human Rights.
Mrs Williams' daughter said: "My mum fought hard for us to get to the truth uncovered of what happened at Hillsborough.
"It is only now that I have children of my own that I understand the relentless determination that came so naturally because of the love that she had for Kevin."
'Close to mum'
Mrs Williams made her last public appearance at the annual Hillsborough memorial service at Liverpool's Anfield stadium on 15 April last year, and died days later.
Ms Williams added: "Kevin was really close to my mum.
"It would be absolutely no surprise to me that his last word was 'mum'."
Coroner Lord Justice Goldring has described the disaster "the worst ever at a British sports stadium".
It unfolded on 15 April during Liverpool's match against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's ground.
The son of the oldest victim of the Hillsborough disaster told how he and his father fought "desperately" for their lives.
Gerard Baron Jr, who had flown from his home in Australia to give evidence, described how he tried to reassure his war veteran father Gerard, 67, from Preston in Lancashire, as they were caught in the crush.
Mr Baron said: "Neither of us envisaged witnessing hell before our eyes, nor did we expect to be fighting so desperately for our lives, as were so many others.
"The very last words I said to my father were, 'You will be OK'. How wrong I was."
Earlier, the hearing was told about a teenager who was attending his first ever away game at Hillsborough.
Gary Jones, 18, was a Liverpool season ticket holder and was devoted to the club from about three years of age, his sister said.
'Never made it'
Julie Flannagan said her brother was a Liverpool fan but their father supported Everton.
Crying in the witness box, Ms Flannagan told how Mr Jones had been planning a trip to visit her in Spain.
"He never made it," she said.
The inquest heard from Eric Hankin, whose son - also named Eric - had his portrait read out on Monday by his daughter, Lynsey.
Eric Hankin Jr was a father-of-two from Liverpool who worked as a staff nurse at Merseyside's Ashworth Hospital.
His father, who took his son to football games, said: "I feel very hurt and cheated that I lost my son aged 33."
"I have lovely memories of him. But sadly that is all I have left, just memories," he added.
The statement that followed was for Stephen Paul Copoc, 20, from Speke in Liverpool who had been engaged to his girlfriend when he died.
Ashes at Anfield
His niece Natalie Tennant said their family had travelled around following football but "after 1989 we gave the season tickets back and never went to a football match again."
Ms Tennant, who spoke on behalf of Mr Copoc's siblings, said: "Our parents never got over Stephen's death and the way he died."
The jury heard from John Mather, whose older brother David died aged 19.
He said: "David's true love was football.... David's ashes are in a corner of the Kop at Anfield."
Mr Mather, from Huyton, wanted to train as a police officer.
John Mather said: "We wish on that fateful day that David had never left the house."
Carl Rimmer's brother Kevin read out a statement, which said he was saving up to get engaged to his girlfriend.
Mr Rimmer, from Liverpool, died aged 21.
'Well thought of'
Kevin Rimmer said part of his brother's ashes were spread near one of the goals at Anfield, the jury heard.
The inquest heard a statement about Gary Harrison, 27, which was written by Karen Harrison and read by his daughter Claire Livingstone.
She said: "Gary's obsession with football began from a young age.
"He was a talented footballer and was on Everton's books."
Gary Harrison's son Paul, who was four when his father died, signed a professional contract with Liverpool FC last year.
The jury heard, Barry Glover, 27, from Bury in Greater Manchester, was "more like a carer or social worker", according to his widow Stephanie Sweeney.
She said: "It was clear that Barry was as well thought of by not only his friends and family but also by his community."
The inquest heard about Colin Wafer, from Liverpool, who died aged 19.
Mr Wafer's father Jim said his son was "as lively and bright as his red hair".
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 background statements are the first time the court has heard how the disaster impacted on individual families.
The inquest has been adjourned until Wednesday.