Sheffield students were ‘in love’

Richard Jones, died at Hillsborough.
Richard Jones, died at Hillsborough.
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Two Sheffield University students who died in the Hillsborough disaster were ‘in love’ and ‘very, very happy’, the inquests into the 96 deaths heard.

Tracey Cox, aged 23, from Wiltshire, and her boyfriend Rick Jones, 25, from Liverpool were both living at Sorby Hall of residence in Broomhill.

They were at the semi-final in Sheffield along with Mr Jones’s sister Stephanie Conning who yesterday read out a tribute to her friend at the inquest in Warrington.

Mrs Conning’s mother, Doreen Jones, read out a statement about her son.

Mrs Jones said: “My pain is centred on what Rick and Tracey have missed and what our lives would be like now had they not been killed.

“After all they only went to watch a game of football.

“We, as a family, were so lucky to have had Rick for 25 years.

“The memories of the joy he brought me runs along with pain of his not being here.”

Halfway through her statement Mrs Jones became too emotional to carry on and her daughter took over.

She said Rick was ‘quick witted, with a lovely sense of humour, generous with his time, fun to be with and sensitive to the needs of others’.

Mrs Jones said her son had a degree in chemistry and was looking forward to postgraduate opportunities and a ‘bright future’ in research.

Miss Cox was studying speech therapy and was awarded her degree posthumously.

Mrs Jones told the jury: “Our lives changed forever that awful day.

“I could not imagine life without my son and nor did I want a life without him.

“It was a very dark place for us all.”

She said the couple’s flatmate had told her: “I knew they were in love. I believe they were very, very happy. They had so many friends who loved them.”

The families of Patrick Thompson, Arthur Horrocks, Ian Whelan, Roy Pemberton, Christine Jones, Paula Smith and Marian McCabe also read out statements.