pounds 200,000 for soccer disaster brother

Life destroyed by post-traumatic stress disorder after Hillsborough
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The Independent Online
A man who became psychologically ill after his half-brother was crushed to death in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster is entitled to pounds 201,729 damages from South Yorkshire Police, a High Court judge ruled yesterday.

John McCarthy, 35, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, would never work again, Mr Justice Sachs said as he awarded the sum to cover suffering and injury to health, loss of earnings and medical expenses.

Teresa Glover, the brothers' mother, said afterwards: "I am happy and I'm sad. It is very emotional for us even after all these years."

Mr McCarthy, who was 28 at the time of the tragedy, had given a spare ticket for the Liverpool-Nottingham Forest semi-final to his half-brother Ian Glover, 11 years his junior. Mr McCarthy sat in the north stand but Ian's ticket and that of another brother, Joe Glover, were for the Leppings Lane end of the Sheffield ground.

Mr McCarthy, who had been watching the carnage unfold in the pens, and Joe Glover, who survived the crush, identified Ian's body in a makeshift mortuary in the gymnasium.

The judge said: "I have seen the photograph of his deceased half-brother. I have seen the video of events in that gymnasium. They were utterly horrendous."

On what would have been Ian's 21st birthday Mr McCarthy attempted suicide.

As in earlier cases, the force had admitted negligently causing death and injury but claimed Mr McCarthy was too remote from the scene and did not have a close enough relationship with his half-brother.

Many relatives of the tragedy's victims have been awarded only the standard bereavement allowance. They have been unable to claim for psychological illness if they were too remote from the crushing or if their ties with the victim were not close.

But Mr Justice Sachs said Mr McCarthy's claim was clearly different from a leading House of Lords case involving Brian Harrison and Robert Alcock, who lost two brothers and a brother-in-law respectively and whose claims were rejected.

In Mr McCarthy's case, the evidence that he was "particularly close" to his half-brother was "all one way", the judge said, and his reaction to what he saw and heard in the short time after being told of the death was "of no surprise to anybody who has seen these occurrences".

Geoffrey Glave, a former South Yorkshire policeman who was one of the officers who won damages for post-traumatic stress disorder last month, had looked after Ian Glover's body and gave evidence in yesterday's case. The scene in the gymnasium was "utter carnage", he told the court, Mr McCarthy and Joe Glover had collapsed over the body, inconsolable.

Mrs Glover watched the Jimmy McGovern Hillsborough drama last week which featured Ian and Joe. Because yesterday's case was still unresolved, some of John McCarthy's role in the actual events was incorporated into Joe's character.

Lawyers for South Yorkshire police said yesterday that an appeal was being considered. The judge said he was well aware that the House of Lords had urged limitations on such claims but insisted: "My decision creates no precedent. I decide it on the facts and I am satisfied ... that the plaintiff passes the tests entitling him to be compensated."

He added: "Whilst there is nothing I can really do to compensate the Glover and the McCarthy families for the loss of Ian, I do hope that if this is to be conclusion of the litigation it will bring to them all, if not peace of mind, at least a lowering of the anxiety and hurt they feel."

Mrs Glover welcomed calls for the inquest inquest into the 96 deaths to be reopened or for a fresh inquiry to be held into the new evidence disclosed in the film.