THE jury in the Hillsborough Inquests has heard evidence from Lechlade mother Margaret Godwin, who lost her son Derrick in the 1989 disaster.
Margaret stood before Lord Justice Goldring and members of the jury at the hearing in Warrington yesterday, flanked by her daughter Valerie, with husband Stan and son-in-law Andrew sat behind.
The decision to hold a new inquest into the deaths of the 96 people who died in the disaster was reached at the end of 2012, when Attorney General Dominic Grieve applied for the original verdicts to be quashed.
- Derrick Godwin
Derrick was just 24 when he died at Hillsborough on that fateful day in April 1989.
Reading to the court, Margaret said: “Derrick loved to watch football. One day, he went to see Oxford United v Liverpool in a cup match and from then on he got hooked on Liverpool and the following season he became a season ticket holder on the Kop.
“For all home matches, he would drive to Cheltenham station, change trains at Birmingham and then on to Liverpool. He would meet up with his football colleagues on the Kop. Derrick did not drink, and he did not smoke.
“He was a regular young man with his whole life in front of him. He was our only son. From the moment of his birth until his death, he gave us untold joy.
“Every day we think about him and what might have been. I clearly remember that on the morning of the semi-final, when he left home, his dad said to him, ‘I hope Liverpool win, Derrick’, to which he replied, ‘Oh, they will win, dad’.
“Little did we realise they would be the last words we would ever hear him say.”
Mr Grieve said he applied to the High Court as a result of the Hillsborough Panel’s report, published on September 12, 2012, which said 41 of those who died might have been saved.
New evidence undermined the coroner’s summing-up, according to Mr Grieve, and he cited concerns about the timing of the fans’ deaths, the role of the police and the false allegations that alcohol had played a material part in the tragedy.
In her emotional statement, Margaret went on: “Derrick was a happy, contented child. Derrick was a quiet person by nature. He was neat and tidy and very methodical in everything that he did.
“He was a good boy, well-behaved, polite and courteous. He had a good sense of humour. He grew into a fine young man.”