Manchester Arena inquiry told of young couple’s love story

PA

Two teenagers murdered in the Manchester Arena bombing had their “love story” told at the public inquiry into the attack.

Inseparable Liam Curry, 19, and Chloe Rutherford, 17, both from South Shields, were two “beautiful young people” who had already mapped out their lives together, the inquiry in Manchester heard.

“They wanted to be together forever and now they are,” Mr Curry’s mother told the hearing.

“Life turns on little moments of chance luck.”

Both died when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his home made backpack bomb in the foyer of Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22 2017.

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, introduced the family tributes to the couple, saying: “Liam and Chloe were a young couple.

“This is, as their family wished it to be described, their love story.”

Caroline Curry, Mr Curry’s mother and Mark Rutherford, Chloe’s father, took turns to tell their children’s stories.

Chloe’s mother, Lisa, sat between them, her head often resting in her hands.

Mrs Curry began: “Once up on a time…” telling how her “gorgeous baby boy” came along in 1997 and two years later, three miles across town, Mr Rutherford, said his baby daughter Chloe, “pretty as an angel” was born.

Mr Curry overcame dyslexia to do well at St Wilfred’s High School, and went on to study sports science at Gateshead College.

He was also a keen cricketer, playing as a junior for Durham and his local Marsden CC and his friend, Scott Rutherford, had a sister, Chloe, and she and Mr Curry began chatting online.

Chloe loved to be on stage performing, took piano, singing and dance classes and wrote and sang her own songs.

Mr Rutherford, fighting back tears, said: “She was growing up, growing up into a beautiful young lady with her life ahead of her.

“A real English rose, blonde hair and amazing blue eyes.”

Mrs Curry said: “Chloe and Liam were together, falling head over heels in love.

“She was his Juliet and he was her Romeo.”

Mr Curry decided to do his degree in sports science at Northumbria University to be close to Chloe, who was studying music performance at Newcastle College.

Both got part-time jobs at the Newcastle Hilton Hotel, Mr Curry behind the cocktail bar, the “Tom Cruise of the Tyne” his mother said.

Tragically his father, Andrew, passed away just two months before the Arena bombing after a long illness, Chloe at his side to support him as Mr Curry comforted his mother and brother.

Flowers and a picture of Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry, who were killed in the Manchester Arena attack, left against a Tree of Hope in Manchester (Peter Byrne/PA)
Flowers and a picture of Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry, who were killed in the Manchester Arena attack, left against a Tree of Hope in Manchester (Peter Byrne/PA)

Mrs Curry said: “Only eight weeks after the passing of his dad, evil ripped out our family’s heart and stole my baby boy.

“I’m in terrible pain that has no ending.”

Chloe had begun an apprenticeship in travel and tourism and Mr Curry planned to join the police after graduation.

They had already mapped out buying a flat, planning a wedding and Chloe had spoken of having children, “before I’m old and saggy”.

Mr Rutherford said: “Chloe was 17 and Liam 19, with so much living to be done, all the stories not yet told, all the dreams not yet dreamt.”

Mrs Curry added: “All the rest is just too tragic and so, here we all are now, when we wish we weren’t, trying to make sense of something that will never make sense.

“Just for today we have been sharing a love story about two bairns who fell in love.

“Two beautiful young people with so much love in their hearts and hope for their life together.

Flowers laid outside South Shields town hall, the home town of victims Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry (Tom White/PA)
Flowers laid outside South Shields town hall, the home town of victims Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry (Tom White/PA)

“The greatest thing we ever learn in life is just to love and be loved in return.”

The tribute ended with a recording of Chloe singing the song, Somewhere Only We Know, as photos were displayed of the couple together, Mr Curry’s mother putting an arm around a tearful Mrs Rutherford.

Sir John Saunders, chairman of the inquiry said: “All of us, here or watching remotely, will have found that intensely and profoundly moving and all our hearts go out to you.”

The public inquiry is probing the background and emergency response to the attack and is expected to run into next spring.

Tributes were also heard today for Georgina Callander, 18, and Philip Tron, 32, before the hearing adjourned until Monday morning.

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