A woman whose husband died in the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans died, while she was pregnant with their daughter has told an inquest jury how he dreamt of being “the best daddy ever”.
In a heart-rending tribute to Steven Brown, his widow, Sarah, said words could not describe the void left by his death at the age of 25.
Mr Brown, who was brought up by his grandmother in Holt, Clwyd, was one of 96 Liverpool fans who died at or following the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in April 1989.
Addressing jurors on the fifth day of fresh inquests into the tragedy, Mrs Brown said she first dated her future husband on her 16th birthday.
Reading out a “pen portrait” statement giving details of her husband’s hobbies and life, Mrs Brown told the hearing in Warrington, Cheshire: “I can honestly say that he loved me with a passion that I never knew existed - the dedication and commitment that he showed towards me left me giddy.
“When I found out that I was pregnant and that his dreams were coming true, he was over the moon and full of pride.
“For Steven to have passed away when I was six months pregnant and never got a chance to meet and greet his new little baby, there are no words to describe that void.”
Mrs Brown, whose daughter Samantha was born in July 1989, frequently paused to compose herself in the witness box as she went on: “Not only was I grieving for me but for her too.
“Since that day I have tried my best to shower her with Daddy’s love, which I know would have flown in abundance for Samantha from Steven.
“She has listened to stories of him, and how we met, and how much we were in love, and how desperately he wanted a little girl and to be the best daddy ever.”
Coroner Lord Justice Goldring has ruled that “pen portrait” biographies of each of the 96 victims should form the first section of evidence at the inquests.
During a second day of family tributes, the jury of seven women and four men also heard a statement from John Collins, whose 22-year-old son Gary died at Hillsborough.
In his tribute, read out by Gary’s brother Ian, Mr Collins said the death of the food factory quality controller, from Bootle, Merseyside, had robbed his son of a chance of becoming a father himself.
The family’s statement concluded by saying: “Gary’s memory is with us each and every day of our lives and it breaks our hearts even to write this statement.
“To think that the Hillsborough disaster could have been prevented is excruciating to live with. The fact we will never see Gary reach his full potential is the cruellest thing life has ever dealt us.”