Teenager was loving life, mother tells Manchester Arena bombing inquiry

Teenager Courtney Boyle was loving life as a university student when she was murdered in the Manchester Arena bombing, her mother has told the public inquiry into the attack.

The 19-year-old, from Gateshead, was “ecstatic” when she got a place at Leeds Beckett University to study criminology and psychology and was the happiest she had ever been, the hearing in Manchester was told.

Details of her life and death were given during the commemorative phase of the public inquiry, in which family members of each of the 22 people killed in the attack pay tribute to their loved ones with statements, videos and photographs.

Tributes on Tuesday were also paid to Megan Hurley, 15, Kelly Brewster, 32 and Martyn Hett, 29.

The 22 victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack in 2017
The 22 victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack in 2017

Deborah Boyle said she was “besotted” with her daughter from the day she was born, and Courtney had worked hard through school and found a love of music.

She got a part-time job at Greggs to pay to go to music festivals, where she met her boyfriend Callum Maundrill.

In a statement, he said: “Reflecting on her journey through life breaks my heart. She was on her way to being truly happy.

“Courtney’s passing has been such a deep and crushing loss to me and everyone who knew and loved her.”

Ms Boyle said her sometime shy young daughter had grown into an independent woman.

“It was the happiest I had seen my Courtney and she was loving life as a student,” her statement said.

Courtney’s younger sister, Nicole, had attended the Ariana Grande concert on May 22 2017 and the family drove to Manchester and spent the time shopping while she was at the gig.

Courtney left the family in their car to collect her sister and was in the foyer when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his bomb at the end of the gig.

Ms Boyle said: “I can still see my daughter’s smile as she left the car that night, knowing now her life was cruelly taken from her when she had everything to live for.

“I would give the world to see my daughter and best friend again and to hear her voice.”

TV personality Jason Manford was among those who paid tribute to Arena victim Martyn Hett.

The comedian, in a video played at the inquiry, said “the world has been robbed of a potential superstar” with his death.

He said: “He has absolutely touched a lot of people’s lives. Life is full of negatives, don’t be another one.”

Reprising a popular hashtag in tribute to the PR manager with a large online following, he added: “Be more Martyn.”

Mr Hett had appeared on TV in Come Dine With Me and Tattoo Fixers after the self-described Coronation Street “super fan” had a tattoo of Deirdre Barlow.

Figen Murray, Mr Hett’s mother, said in a video statement that her son had a hunger for life and he lived it at “100mph”.

Martyn Hett
Martyn Hett

She added: “He’s leaving this absolutely massive gaping hole in my soul that will never heal.

“Three years on, it feels like yesterday, it will never, ever go away.”

Abedi murdered the 22 victims and injured hundreds more after detonating a home-made bomb at the foyer of the arena.

The public inquiry is expected to last into next spring.

The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday morning.