Families of those who died in the Manchester Arena attack have been giving emotional statements to a court where the bomber’s brother is awaiting sentencing.
Hashem Abedi is facing a two-day sentencing hearing for the murder of 22 people in the 2017 terror attack, but refused to leave his cell.
Family members broke down in tears as they spoke about their grief and how “life will never be the same”.
‘Always an empty chair’
Lisa Rutherford from South Shields said her “heart snapped” when she received a phone call with the news her 17-year-old daughter Chloe Rutherford had died in the bombing.
She said: “We are lost, we are devastated and we feel an overwhelming loss.
“Somehow we are expected to get through life without her, without our baby girl, and it just feels impossible. There is always that empty chair where she should be.”
“As a family we need answers – we are destroyed,” she told the court.
‘A beautiful boy, inside and out’
Liam Curry, 19, also from South Shields, was Chloe’s boyfriend and he too died in the blast.
His mother Caroline Curry held up a photo of her son as the court heard her message to Abedi.
“You took from me something more precious than gold, a beautiful boy, inside and out.
“Life now is not a life, it’s an existence I tolerate,” she said.
“He would have been an amazing husband to Chloe and that has all been taken from me, from them, and the wider family.”
‘We can’t move on’
Daryl Price, father of John Atkinson, 28, said his grief “consumes” him and he “simply cannot move on”.
He said Abedi had shown a “total disregard for human life” and “the repercussions of that night are beyond measure”.
Mr Price added: “I can’t see a day when my pain will ever subside.”
Daughter ‘so excited about concert’
Simon Callander, father of Georgina Callander, 18, said his “beautiful little girl” had been “so excited” about the Ariana Grande concert.
He said out of goodness people talk to him about the incident but “I don’t want to talk. I want to die”.
‘He was at the top of his game’
Figen Murray told the court she is unable to go to sleep until after 22:31, the time the bomb went off and her son, Martyn Hett, was killed in the blast.
She said: “I still cannot reconcile that I was fast asleep while my son lay dead on the floor, and I am ashamed about that.
“The enormity of the loss has left a massive void. Martyn was at the top of his game.”
Mr Hett’s father Paul said the family would “never get over” his death.
“We are living in constant fear that something like this can happen again, that knock on the door,” he said.
‘I saw her die in my arms’
Samantha Leczkowski, from Leeds, lost her 14-year-old daughter Sorrell.
Mrs Leczkowski tried to resuscitate Sorrell, despite being seriously injured herself.
She said her daughter’s “senseless death” has “devastated us all”.
“Losing one of my children has killed me, I may as well be dead.
“I don’t care that my leg doesn’t work – the pain in my heart is the worst pain that won’t go away.
“I had to see Sorrell die in my arms.”
‘We still call her for dinner’
The parents of Eilidh Macleod, 14, who lived on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, described her as a popular friend who was “wise, well beyond her years”.
They said: “We still have to stop ourselves calling out her name for our dinner, that will never stop.
“Anger, fear, resentment and heartbreak is something we all have to live with.
“No parent who ever takes their child to a concert should ever have to take them home to bury them.”
‘Dad can’t walk her down the aisle’
Survivor Claire Booth, who was injured in the attack, broke down in tears as she read her statement in memory of her sister Kelly Brewster, 32.
“Since 22 May 2017 our family has not been the same – all our hearts are broken,” she said.
“My dad has not been able to walk his daughter down the aisle, my mum can’t take her shopping for a wedding dress.”
‘Losing her overshadows everything’
Paul Price was left in a coma after suffering “dreadful” injuries in the attack, and may yet require his leg to be amputated below the knee.
His partner, police officer Elaine McIver, was killed in the blast.
“Elaine planned all of our social events and get-togethers, and now I find myself socially isolated without her,” he said.
“The loss of Elaine overshadows everything and I don’t think I will get over it.”
‘We won’t let evil win’
Jane Tweddle’s children said “we know our mum will be with us forever” and they hope to make her “proud every day”.
Daughter Harriet Taylor paid tribute to the 51-year-old school receptionist from Blackpool.
She said in a statement: “We simply will not let evil win. Evil is invisible, it has no face, no heart, no race.
“But what we have that evil never will have is love.”
In a poignant tribute, the family of 15-year-old Megan Hurley chose not to make a statement, but simply asked to show the court an image of their daughter.