Hillsborough inquest: Police ‘turned backs on my brother’

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The sister of one of the 96 football fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster has said her brother was brought up to respect the police but “when he most needed their help, they literally turned their backs on him”.

Louise Brookes made the comments as she paid tribute to her brother Andrew Brookes at the new inquests into the 1989 tragedy.

She said: “Andrew was brought up to respect the police and my parents always told us that if ever we were in trouble, they were always there to help us.

“When my brother most needed their help, they literally turned their backs on him.”

Ms Brookes told the 11 jurors she had buried her father just 10 days before the new inquests began last week.

“It makes me so angry that both my parents have both gone to their graves without knowing how or why their son died,” she said.

“No person should ever be deprived of that right, especially for 25 years.

“I don’t have any other family left now and it’s up to me alone to fight for my brother.”

Ms Brookes said: “I just want to do my brother proud and get him the justice he deserves.

“I didn’t just lose my brother on April 15, 1989, I lost my parents too. The whole Brookes family died that day.

“I don’t live, I exist, and I exist for one reason only: to make sure that my brother’s life was not in vain.”

She said her brother, who was from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, and was 26 when he died, had never been in any trouble in his life.

Her statement was one of a series of “pen portraits” which are forming the first section of evidence in the new inquests, taking place in a purpose-built courtroom in Warrington, Cheshire.

The coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, has ordered that the first few weeks of the inquests will be set aside for each family to provide background tributes to the 96 Liverpool fans who died after a crush developed before the start of the FA Cup semi-final match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool.

On the fourth day of family statements, many of those reading them struggled to hold back the tears.

At one point, jury members sent a note to the coroner saying that they did not mind if the witnesses wanted time to compose themselves.