Manchester Arena Inquiry: Parents tell victims' 'love story'

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Image source, Manchester Arena Inquiry
Image caption,
Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford's parents said "they had so much to look forward to"

The parents of a young couple killed in the Manchester arena bomb attack told a public inquiry "they wanted to be together forever and now they are".

Chloe Rutherford's mother and father and Liam Curry's mother said they wanted to "tell their love story".

The couple from South Shields were "two beautiful, young people with so much love in their hearts", they said.

Twenty-two people were killed in the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.

Families are presenting "pen portraits" to the inquiry to give an insight into the lives of those who died.

A slideshow of photographs documenting Liam and Chloe's lives were also shown on screen at the hearing at Manchester Magistrates' Court.

Liam's mother Caroline Curry spoke of the 19-year-old being a "fine cricket player" and an avid cyclist who also loved to ski.

"Chloe and Liam were made for each other - just completely at their best when they were together," she said.

Image source, Family handouts
Image caption,
The "pen portraits" for all 22 victims are expected to conclude on 23 September.

Chloe's father Mark Rutherford said his daughter was "a very beautiful young lady with her life ahead of her".

"A real English rose, with blonde hair and the most amazing blue eyes and a smile that could light up a room and bring the sunshine out," he said.

Her "secret passion" was writing music, he added.

Ms Curry explained that Liam's dad Andrew had died eight weeks before the bombing.

She said Liam's death had caused "unbearable pain which has no ending, no relief, no break, no calm".

Chloe's mother Lisa Rutherford asked: "How do we make the world turn again? How do we mend our shattered lives? The truth is we can't."

'Cheeky grin'

The inquiry also heard from Philip Tron's uncle, Ken Mullen, who paid tribute to "his bonny lad" who was a "charmer" and "a bit of a joker".

The 32-year-old had travelled to Manchester from Gateshead with his mother June, his partner Deborah Hutchinson, and her two daughters, including Courtney Boyle, 19, who also died in the bombing.

Mr Mullen told the inquiry Philip was "different, family-loving, thoughtful, caring, with a recognisable smile and a cheeky grin".

Image source, Manchester Arena Inquiry
Image caption,
Philip Tron was "a bit of a joker" who "disliked buying a round", his uncle said

The inquiry heard Philip "made everyone laugh" and had lots of friends.

His uncle described how the family was left with an "empty, hollow feeling" knowing they would "never enjoy the camaraderie" again.

"Heaven has a new Geordie ambassador, waiting to greet you and he may get you a pint, but it'll be your round," he said.

Earlier the father of Georgina Callander told the inquiry his daughter had an "unmistakable laugh" and a "heart as big as the moon".

Simon Callander said his life was "unrecognisable" since Georgina's death and a "black cloud follows him".

Image source, Manchester Arena Inquiry
Image caption,
Georgina Callander "was someone", her father told the inquiry

Georgina, from Tarleton in Lancashire, was born on April Fools' Day but Mr Callander said he felt the fool for "not spending more time with her and not telling her he loved her every day".

She was as "bright as a button", he added, and enjoyed art, taekwondo, swimming, ballet and football, made lots of friends and was "always laughing".

She had passed all her exams with distinction, which felt like another "dagger to the heart" because of "all that potential snatched away," he said.

"[Georgina] changed my life and I'll never get over losing her," he said.

The inquiry was due to start in June, but was delayed by the trial of Salman Abedi's brother Hashem, who was jailed for at least 55 years for 22 murders on 20 August.

The inquiry was set up to examine the background to the attack and the response of the emergency services.

Chairman Sir John Saunders will make a report and recommendations once all the evidence has been heard, which is expected to take up to six months.

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