Son would have been so proud of cousin Gerrard

Jon-Paul Gilhooley, who died aged ten at Hillsborough.
Jon-Paul Gilhooley, who died aged ten at Hillsborough.
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A relative of Liverpool footballer and England captain Steven Gerrard who lost her son in the Hillsborough disaster has spoken of her loss.

The new inquests into the deaths of the 96 fans heard a pen portrait written by Jacqui Gilhooley in memory of her son Jon-Paul.

He was the youngest fan – aged just 10 – to die in the 1989 tragedy.

Jacqui said Jon-Paul would have been ‘very proud’ of his cousin Gerrard, who has played more than 600 games for Liverpool.

She said Jon-Paul was an animal lover, who once brought home six abandoned kittens and also insisted the family adopt a deaf albino dog.

“He loved all his family and loved parties,” she said.

“He went to a lot of football matches, always with the same group that travelled to Hillsborough.

“At 3.30pm I knew he was gone and wasn’t coming back.

“But I think back and remember how lucky I was to have Jon-Paul.

“I have no regrets at all, you don’t appreciate what you have. I would go back and take those 10 years any time.

“He has been denied a chance of fulfilling his life, making new friends, getting married, carving out a career, having children.”

The jury also heard from Becky Shah, who was taken into care with her brother Daniel, 13, after her mum Inger, 38, died in the disaster.

She said her mum came from a small fishing village near Copenhagen, Denmark, adding: “I viewed her as a friend, a very special friend who can never be replaced.

“As I was growing up mum stood up to those bullying me, and confronted them when they threatened to burn me with matches. She was the best mum anyone could hope for.”

Becky said she had not been able to get a ticket for the match but her mum and Daniel both went.

After her mum’s death Becky and Daniel’s lives ‘tumbled’ and they were taken into care,

She said the ‘continuing need’ to defend her mum’s name was ‘overwhelming’.

Becky was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and survivor guilt which she said had blighted her life.

“She was a loving, caring and devoted mum and a warm-hearted, kind, generous, funny, brave, intelligent human being. She is still so badly missed, much loved and always will be.”

Becky told the jury her mum was ‘neither a drunken hooligan nor a bad mother’.

The jury also heard about Barry Bennett, Christopher Edwards, Roy Hamilton, Peter McDonnell, Thomas Howard and his dad Tommy Howard senior.