Manchester Arena bomb victims’ parents ‘distraught’ over inability to register deaths personally

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Lisa Rutherford and Caroline Curry say they have been prevented from taking a step in the grieving process.

The mothers of two children killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack have been left “distraught” following a meeting with Home Officials.

Lisa Rutherford and Caroline Curry travelled to London last week as part of an ongoing campaign to secure the right to register the death of their children personally rather than it being done on their behalf by a stranger. But the pair hit out following a meeting with the Home Office last week. Their MP, Emma Lewell-Buck, said the meeting had added to their distress just days before the release of a major report into the terror attack on Thursday (2 March).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ms Lewell-Buck told GB News: “They felt very disrespected in the meeting. The Home Office Minister from the Lords was quite patronising. We were led to believe, through previous meetings with MoJ and Home Office, that there was a concerted effort to try and do this and that they were just trying to find a way. But what we found out is actually there’s no political will to do that. And it’s a policy decision of this Government that they don’t want to change it. They kept obfuscating and going round and dancing on the head of a pin.”

Revealing how the meeting had left her constituents, she added: “They are absolutely distraught, and they are really disappointed. I’m not happy. This isn’t the end of it and we’re not going to leave it there. And I am hurt and angry for them. I’m really hurt for them.”

Teenage sweethearts Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19, were among the 22 people killed in the Manchester bombing atrocity on May 22, 2017. The couple, who’d dreamed of getting married one day, were ‘inseparable’ in life.

Determined to honour their children, parents Caroline Curry and Mark and Lisa Rutherford set up the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the years since, they’ve created a lasting legacy for the couple through the trust, which gives grants to local teens to allow them to follow their sporting or artistic passions.

Lisa and Caroline, from South Shields, have also led the way in campaigning for news right to register the death of a child.

Current legislation prevents family members from registering the deaths of loved ones who are the focus of inquests or public inquiries. Instead, deaths have to be formally registered by a “local registrar”.

Chloe Rutherford and Liam CurryChloe Rutherford and Liam Curry
Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry | Shields Gazette

Last year Caroline urged the home secretary to “look in her heart” and change the law. Speaking about the impact this issue has had on her, the parents both opened up in a new interview with GB News with Gloria De Piero screened on Sunday 26 February.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Caroline said: “All I want to do is give these details, his name, his address, my name as the informant. That’s all I want to do. That to me will begin my grieving process. So why should a bureaucrat take that away from me as a parent?”

Lisa added: “We have had so much taken away from us when we lost the kids, you know, at the end of the day because of the circumstances. Along with the pain of all of that, this just seems cruel. We definitely are not in any grieving process. I’m still stuck in that, that day, that night. Things like this just add extra unnecessary upset. It’s really hard and has taken a physical and obviously mental health is impacted and understandably for everyone involved.

Paying tribute to her daughter Chloe, Lisa continued: “Chloe just lived life to the full. They were, you know, in their prime of life, enjoying college, new jobs, university and they had plans. But I do hope they’re proud of what we’re trying to do because they know how important this would be to us.”

Speaking about her son, Liam, his mum Caroline added: “I just want to be able to do the right thing for our kids. I wish these ministers could just for one minute take off the office job head and put on the parent head. Would they want their son or daughter to have their registration details registered by a total stranger? They wouldn’t. They’d want to do it themselves, as a parent.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A Government spokesman said: “The government remains steadfast in our commitment to the families whose lives have been devastated by the senseless attack at Manchester Arena.

“Currently, after an inquest all details must be provided by the coroner alone, any change to the law would need to consider its wider impact, including how it would affect those bereaved families who do not wish to provide information to register the death when they have already provided this to the inquest.

“We acknowledge the seriousness of this matter and are committed to seeing what can be done via non-legislative means, we have offered the bereaved families the option of being present at the registration of their loved one’s death if they wish to do so.”

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.