Mother of Hillsborough victim seeks closure

Published date: 15 April 2014 |
Published by: David Humphreys
Read more articles by David Humphreys


THE mother of a victim of the Hillsborough disaster is hopeful the new inquests will bring closure to the families of those who died.

Speaking to the Leader ahead of the 25th anniversary of the disaster today, Joan Hope said “time will tell” as to the impact of fresh inquests into the 96 people who did not return home from the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham forest on April 15, 1989.

Mrs Hope’s son, John McBrien, 18, was one of those killed in the tragedy.
She said: “I hope they (the inquests) will bring closure but only time will tell.
“It’s taken too much out of our lives but I haven’t let it destroy me. It’s going to take a year at least.
“The last 25 years have wrecked our lives.”

Coroner Lord Justice Goldring has ruled ‘pen portrait’ biographies of each of the 96 victims should form the first section of evidence at the inquests, being held in Warrington, Cheshire.
Mrs Hope, of Well Street, Holywell, read a statement at the inquests describing her son.
She said: “John was a kind, generous, charismatic and remarkably mature young man. He was talented in so many ways but was so modest.
“He was happy, energetic and compassionate through the whole of his life; everyone loved him and he loved everyone.
“While he was with us he had a hugely positive influence on us. That influence remains profoundly strong today.”

The statement added that John was a keen Liverpool FC fan who attended Holywell High School. Before he died, John had accepted an offer to go to the University of Liverpool to study social economic history.
Following John’s death, a memorial fund was set up in his name at Holywell High School with two prizes awarded annually to the highest performing academic and sporting pupils.

In her statement, Mrs Hope added that while at school in 1988, John took part in a mock American presidential election where he played the part of the Democrat candidate, Michael Dukakis. John was heralded as a ‘marvellous speaker’ with a passion for acting and had been a member of the amateur dramatic group at Holywell Parish Church.
Among his other interests were golf and according to his mother’s statement, John loved walking, cycling, running and playing football, attending his first match in Wolverhampton.

After moving to Holywell in 1979, John began supporting Liverpool and attended matches as part of Deeside Liverpool Supporters Group.
Mrs Hope’s statement concluded: “John had so much going for him and was looking forward to going to university. John’s death wrecked our lives. We struggled to come to terms with what happened.
“Even today, the pain of losing John has not gone away. John was so special to us, his death was completely devastating to our family.
“He was an amazing son and brother and we all miss him deeply.”

Speaking to the Leader, Mrs Hope, who was heavily involved with the Hillsborough Family Support Group for more than 10 years, said the tragedy had taken up most of her life and she had tried not to get emotional when reading out her statement.

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