A woman whose husband died in theHillsboroughdisaster while she was pregnant with their daughter has told an inquest jury how he dreamt of being ‘the best daddy ever’.
In a heart-rending tribute to Steven Brown, his widow, Sarah, said words could not describe the void left by his death at the age of 25.
Mr Brown, who was brought up by his grandmother in Holt, Clwyd, was one of 96 Liverpool fans who died at or following the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in April 1989.
Addressing jurors on the fifth day of fresh inquests into the tragedy, Mrs Brown said she first dated her future husband on her 16th birthday.
Reading out a ‘pen portrait’ statement giving details of her husband’s hobbies and life, Mrs Brown told the hearing in Warrington, Cheshire: “I can honestly say that he loved me with a passion that I never knew existed – the dedication and commitment that he showed towards me left me giddy.
“When I found out that I was pregnant and that his dreams were coming true, he was over the moon and full of pride.
“For Steven to have passed away when I was six months pregnant and never got a chance to meet and greet his new little baby, there are no words to describe that void.”
Mrs Brown, whose daughter Samantha was born in July 1989, frequently paused to compose herself in the witness box as she went on: “Not only was I grieving for me but for her too.
“Sincafter their 2-1 defeat to Genoa.Milan went into the game on the back of director Zvonimir Boban’s resignation.But Pioli said, “We need no alibis or justifications, not for being behind closed doors, nor for any difficulties within the club or debate that day I have tried my best to shower her with Daddy’s love, which I know would have flown in abundance for Samantha from Steven.
“She has listened to stories of him, and how we met, and how much we were in love, and how desperately he wanted a little girl and to be the best daddy ever.”
Coroner Lord Justice Goldring has ruled that ‘pen portrait’ biographies of each of the 96 victims should form the first section of evidence at the inquests.
During a second day of family tributes, the jury of seven women and four men also heard a statement from John Collins, whose 22-year-old son Gary died at Hillsborough.
In his tribute, read out by Gary’s brother Ian, Mr Collins said the death of the food factory quality controller, from Bootle, Merseyside, had robbed his son of a chance of becoming a father himself.
The family’s statement concluded by saying: “Gary’s memory is with us each and every day of our lives and it breaks our hearts even to write this statement.
“To think that theHillsboroughdisaster could have been prevented is excruciating to live with. The fact we will never see Gary reach his full potential is the cruellest thing life has ever dealt us.”
Jurors were given a short break between each family statement, including successive readings by the sister of two brothers from Birkenhead who died aged 16 and 26.
Theresa Arrowsmith said Martin Traynor, known to his family as Kevin, and his older brother Christopher Traynor, both worked as joiners.
The inquests heard that the brothers – one of four sets of siblings who lost their lives at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium – had discussed potential safety fears concerning Hillsboroughfollowing an FA Cup semi-final at the ground in 1988.
Their sister told jurors that Kevin, who attended the match in 1988, had remarked “Oh no, not that stadium again” when he heard the 1989 match was also being staged at Hillsborough.
Ms Arrowsmith told the coroner: “Christopher tried to reassure his younger brother by saying ‘Don’t worry I will be there with you’. None of them came home.”
Victim Henry Rogers, who was 17, was described as a ‘natural person and a charmer without doing anything’ who was loved by adults, his teachers and his contemporaries.
His mother Veronica – whose other son, Adam, died of diabetes in October 198walked out of Trabzonspor over the coronavirus.The ex-Nigerian international only joined the club as a free agent last summer, having penned a two-year deal, but has now parted ways with the Super Lig outfit by mutual consent.Mikel stated that he did9 after surviving the Hillsborough disaster – said Henry was an ‘entrepreneur-in-the-making’ and had applied to study at the London School of Economics.
Nine pen portraits of those who died were read out at the purpose-built courtroom today.
Liverpool-born hospital nurse Eric Hankin, who worked in Maghull, Merseyside, was remembered by his daughter Lynsey as a ‘big friendly giant’ who had do can handle the absence of Harry Kane.Kane suffered an injury to his left hamstring in the process of scoDahliaring a disallowed goal in the disappointing 1-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day and the club are still waiting to find out the extent of ne his best to make his family happy.
Miss Hankin, who was 12 when her father died aged 33 in the crush on the Leppings Lane terracing, said: “A big giant-shaped hole has been left in my heart since the day he died.
“I’ve learnt how to live with it but I don’t think the pain will ever leave me.”
Francis McAllister’s brother Mark told the hearing the 27-year-old had ‘found his niche’ working for the fire service at Manchester Square station in central London.
After relating how Francis was saved from drowning in a boating lake during a family holiday in Wales, Mr McAllister said: “Our father died nine years afterHillsborough, always regretting that he had not been on hand to save his son one more time.”
The final personal statements read to the jury were tributes to Nicholas Joynes, 27, from St Helens, Merseyside, and Hillsborough’s second oldest victim, 62-year-old John Anderson.
Lift company engineer Mr Joynes, known as Nick, was a talented footballer who had a trial with Liverpool FC, but did not quite make the grade.
His brother Paul said: “His death has left a massive void in our family and we miss him deeply. All our family feel such a tremendous loss.”
Mr Anderson’s son Brian said: “My dad worked really hard all his life to ensure we lacked for nothing.
“We wouldn’t have been considered rich in financial terms, but we were very rich as we had a loving home with a dad that placed us first, before everything else.”
The inquests were adjourned.