The parents of a Keighley victim of the Hillsborough tragedy have said their son effectively lost his life four years before a court ruled he could be allowed to die.
Tony Bland was the 96th victim of the disaster. He spent nearly four years in a persistent vegetative state after his brain was starved of oxygen in the crush.
He was allowed to die with dignity, aged 22, at Airedale Hospital in 1993, after his parents won a legal battle to allow a life-sustaining feeding tube to be removed.
Mr Bland’s parents, Allan and Barbara Bland, prepared a statement for the inquest in Warring-ton, which has been hearing how the crush at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989 resulted in the deaths of the 96 fans.
The statement read to the jury earlier this week by Andrew Duncan, Mr Bland’s brother-in-law, said Tony Bland was remembered by many and would always be loved and missed.
Mr Bland’s parents added their son, who had worked as a labourer, had a “happy and carefree childhood”, and enjoyed the outdoors as well as watching rugby and Liverpool FC.
Jurors at the inquest have been listening to background statements about how the Hillsbor-ough disaster affected individual families.
Meanwhile, a Keighley businessman, who lost his two teenage daughters in the football stadium disaster, has hit out at a sick hacker who used a government computer to insert insulting references to the Hillsborough tragedy on Wikipedia. The Cabinet Office has said it is now making urgent inquiries into the claims.
Trevor Hicks, a former chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, described it as “appalling, offensive and inappropriate”, and called for the culprit to be exposed and disciplined.
Mr Hicks, whose daughters, Sarah, 19, and Victoria, 15, died together at Hillsborough, said: “The timing is appalling, when we have all given our family statements to the inquest, which was extremely difficult for us to do.”