Family pays tribute to 'amazing' Tube victim

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Families of the July 7 victims spelt out the terrible toll of human misery today following the deadliest of the attacks on London's transport network.

Relatives of the 26 people who died in the King's Cross explosion broke down in tears as they addressed the inquest into the deaths of those killed in the 2005 atrocity.

John Mather and Kathryn Gilkison, whose daughter Shelley died at the hands of teenage suicide bomber Jermaine Lindsay, struggled to contain their grief as they spoke of their daughter, who planned to "circumnavigate the universe".

Speaking softly, Ms Gilkison said: "She was a kind, generous, friendly, bright and amazing young woman.

"She was a much-loved daughter, sister and friend."

Turning to what her future might have been, she said: "That could have been anything she had wanted it to be."

In a diversion from proceedings, Mr Mather paused to pay tribute to the 29 miners killed in the devastating New Zealand blast.

"We do not have a monopoly on loss and grief," he said.

"We would like to remember the 29 miners killed at Pike River some time during the past 10 days and acknowledge their loved ones, who have just started on a journey similar to ours."

Ms Mather had been living in London for three years when Lindsay blew himself up on a Piccadilly line Tube train.

The inquests have heard that the force of the explosion was so great that six of those killed were blown on to the tracks.

Lindsay, 19, was able to claim more victims than his fellow terrorists because the Piccadilly line is much deeper underground and has narrower tunnels than the Circle line, where the other Tube blasts took place.

The bomber was in the front carriage when he set off his homemade device at 8.49am, just after pulling out of King's Cross station.

The co-ordinated attacks on three Tube trains and a bus launched on July 7 2005 by suicide bombers Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, Hasib Hussain, 18, and Lindsay, were the worst single terrorist atrocity on British soil.

Veronica Cassidy, mother of 22-year-old shop assistant Ciaran Cassidy, fought back tears as she remembered her son, who was from Upper Holloway, north London.

Mrs Cassidy said her son was part of a huge Irish family - he had 42 cousins and 25 aunts and uncles who were all left devastated by his death.

She said that, after 7/7, she and Ciaran's father, Sean, were deluged with letters of condolence from his friends and London lawyers who knew him.

She said: "He had no hate in him or ego and he didn't care for politics or war.

"He loved his family, friends and Arsenal."

She added: "We miss his smiling face, his presence, his text messages asking what was for dinner.

"Ciaran was a very much-loved son, friend, grandson, nephew and cousin.

"He is greatly missed by all of us."

The morning's proceedings continued with emotional tributes to the other victims.

Stacey Beer remembered her brother, Philip Beer, 22, a hairdresser from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.

Miss Beer said: "Phil was never able to fulfil his dreams and ambitions - he was so young and barely an adult when he was killed.

"Phil's ambition was to become a well-known hairdresser and travel the world."

She added that Mr Beer was adored by his family, his parents, Kim and Philip, and his nephews, Jamie and Jimmy.

Describing their loss, she said: "Our lives seem quiet and empty since Phil has gone.

"There is always a dark shadow over our family - a huge part of our family is missing.

"When our family share happy occasions there is always a constant reminder that Phil's not here."

Ernest and Elaine Adams wrote a touching tribute to their son, James, 32, a mortgage broker from Peterborough.

Reading the statement, Hugo Keith QC, counsel to the inquest, said Mr Adams was a committed Christian and active member of the church, serving as a deacon for three years.

One charity he supported in southern India erected a building in his memory.

His parents said of their son: "James would have loved to be married and had a family.

"But after 7/7 this isn't to be."

Samantha Badham and Lee Harris had been together for 14 years when they were killed in the Piccadilly line bombing.

Miss Badham, a 35-year-old web designer and content editor, usually drove to work from the home she shared with Mr Harris, 30, in Tottenham, north London.

He would normally cycle to work.

He was an architect.

But that day the pair took the Tube because they had arranged to meet a group of friends after work for an evening out.

Today, Mr Harris's mother, Lynne Harris, said she "lost a son and daughter on July 7 together with the hopes of seeing them grow old together and have children".

Unlike most gap year students, Helen Jones spent her time working with prostitutes and drug addicts at Glasgow's city mission, her mother, Liz Staffell, told the inquest.

Miss Jones, 28, an Edinburgh-born accountant living in Holloway, was another of the victims killed in the bombing.

After her year out, Miss Jones qualified as an accountant and moved to London.

She was so good at sniffing out errors she was nicknamed Sherlock Jones.

"She loved being with people and was always determined to be involved and involving," her mother said.

"One friend described her as being the best type of friend to have.

"No matter how long it had been between meeting up it was always like it was yesterday."

She added: "Into a busy life Helen had packed more living, more loving and more giving than many of us will have in a very long life.

"Her tragic death in the London bombings has deprived the world of a unique young woman with huge potential, talent and compassion.

"She is greatly missed by all who knew her."

Susan Levy was "a wonderful woman and someone people felt they had known for years even though they only just met her", her husband said.

Harry Levy paid an emotional tribute to his 53-year-old wife and mother of his two sons, Daniel, 30, and Jamie, 28.

He thanked her for her devotion and love.

He said the legal secretary, who worked in the City, was blessed with an ability to put people at their ease.

He added that a favourite part of his son Daniel's day, living in Australia, was to open his computer to find a message from his mother.

It was a daily ritual he was robbed of on 7/7.

In an address coroner Lady Justice Hallett described as "very brave", Saba Mozakka, 29, said her mother Behnaz Mozakka's death had taken the "glue" from her family.

Mrs Mozakka was a 47-year-old biomedical officer at Great Ormond Street Hospital and from Finchley, north London.

Regularly composing herself, Miss Mozakka said her mother's death was so painful that her father, Naber, was forced to sell the family home.

She, her brother, Saeed, and their father could not take the pain of staying there without her.

Key parts of Miss Mozakka's future are unbearable, she said.

"I cannot imagine ever marrying without my mother being there to share my day.

"I cannot fathom the idea of having a family without my mother there to support me.

"There will never be a day when we do not miss her.

"Life in our small family will never be the same because my mother was cruelly murdered."

The witness, who sat on a government board to create a permanent monument to the victims, held back tears as she recalled her Tehran-born mother's life and death.

She said the agony of losing "someone you love so much hurt in this way" can never be explained.

She said: "It seems so unjust that our beautiful mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend has been taken away from us in this arbitrary manner."