'No sentence will ever reflect the loss' - Families of Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry react after Hashem Abedi sentenced
Grieving families of those killed in the Manchester Arena attack have spoken outside court as plotter Hashem Abedi is sentenced to life in prison.
Twenty-two people lost their lives in the 2017 atrocity – which happened at an Ariana Grande concert in the city – including five people from the North East.
They were; Chloe Rutherford, 17, and boyfriend Liam Curry, 19, from South Shields; Hartlepool-born Jane Tweddle, 51; and Philip Tron, 32, and his partner’s daughter Courtney Boyle, 19, from Gateshead.
As 23-year-old Abedi was handed a life sentence for each of the 22 murder counts, the families of young couple Chloe and Liam gave their thanks to the court, jury, police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for their work in securing a guilty verdict.
Chloe’s parents Lisa and Mark Rutherford, and Liam's mum Caroline Curry, praised the “behind the scenes” work of all those involved in the case – but added that “no sentence” would make up for the loss of their children.
A statement on behalf of both families said: “We would like to thank Mr Barraclough, DCI Teresa Lam, all at GMP and Counter Terrorism North West, our legal team Mr Penny & Ms Ledward, the CPS team who have worked tirelessly alongside Greater Manchester Police from the start for all the hard work and perseverance in bringing this to trial, we would like to thank the jury for the guilty verdict and Judge Baker for his constant direction.
"The amount of work behind the scenes with the sequence of events, fingerprinting, call logs etc to ensure everyone had a full picture of just how involved he was has been so helpful and informative.
"The attention to detail has made sure we got the guilty verdict that was so deserved for Chloe and Liam and the other 20 angels.
“For us, as the families of Chloe and Liam, no sentence will ever reflect the loss we feel. Even a full life sentence wouldn’t have been enough because at the end of the day he won’t really be serving a sentence, we are.”
Both families also gave victim impact statements this week as part of a two-day sentencing hearing, which saw Abedi – the brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, who detonated a device in the foyer of Manchester Arena – refuse to attend court.
Speaking on Wednesday, August 19, Liam’s mum Caroline held up a picture of her teenage son, appearing to address the absent defendant in her comments.
She said: “You took from me something more precious than gold, a beautiful boy, inside and out.
“I want you to look at Liam and remember the beautiful boy that was snatched away.”
Chloe’s mum added: “We are lost, we are devastated and we feel an overwhelming loss.”
Abedi, of Fallowfield in south Manchester, was found guilty by a jury in March this year of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.