United Kingdom

The 'Romeo and Juliet' of Manchester Arena massacre

Teenage sweethearts who had planned their lives together before they were murdered in the Manchester Arena bombing had their 'love story' told at the public inquiry into the attack.  

Inseparable Liam Curry, 19, and Chloe Rutherford, 17, both from South Shields, were two 'beautiful young people' who had already mapped out their future together, the inquiry in Manchester heard.

The emotionally-wrought hearing yesterday was told how the young couple had dreams to buy a flat, get married and have children. 

'They wanted to be together forever and now they are,' Mr Curry's mother told the hearing. 'Life turns on little moments of chance luck.

'Chloe and Liam were together, falling head over heels in love. She was his Juliet and he was her Romeo.'

Both died when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his home made backpack bomb in the foyer of Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017.  

Just two months earlier, Liam's father had died from cancer. 

Mrs Curry said: 'Only eight weeks after the passing of his dad, evil ripped out our family's heart and stole my baby boy. I'm in terrible pain that has no ending.'

Inseparable Liam Curry, 19, and Chloe Rutherford, 17, both from South Shields, were two 'beautiful young people' who had already mapped out their future together. The pair were murdered as they left the Ariana Grande concert in 2017 

The young couple had a joint funeral following their deaths in 2017. They had already mapped out buying a flat, planning a wedding and Chloe had spoken of having children

Chloe had begun an apprenticeship in travel and tourism and Mr Curry planned to join the police after graduation.

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, introduced the family tributes to the couple, saying: 'Liam and Chloe were a young couple.

'This is, as their family wished it to be described, their love story.'

Caroline Curry, Mr Curry's mother and Mark Rutherford, Chloe's father, took turns to tell their children's stories.

Chloe's mother, Lisa, sat between them, her head often resting in her hands.

Mrs Curry began: 'Once up on a time...' telling how her 'gorgeous baby boy' came along in 1997 and two years later, three miles across town, Mr Rutherford, said his baby daughter Chloe, 'pretty as an angel' was born.

Mr Curry overcame dyslexia to do well at St Wilfred's High School, and went on to study sports science at Gateshead College.

He was also a keen cricketer, playing as a junior for Durham and his local Marsden CC and his friend, Scott Rutherford, had a sister, Chloe, and she and Mr Curry began chatting online.

Chloe loved to be on stage performing, took piano, singing and dance classes and wrote and sang her own songs.

Mr Rutherford, fighting back tears, said: 'She was growing up, growing up into a beautiful young lady with her life ahead of her.

'A real English rose, blonde hair and amazing blue eyes.' 

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi (pictured entering a lift to the Manchester Arena) detonated his large Karrimor rucksack which contained the explosive on the day of the attack

Tragically his father, Andrew, passed away just two months before the Arena bombing after a long illness, Chloe at his side to support him as Mr Curry comforted his mother and brother

Mr Curry decided to do his degree in sports science at Northumbria University to be close to Chloe, who was studying music performance at Newcastle College.

Both got part-time jobs at the Newcastle Hilton Hotel, Mr Curry behind the cocktail bar, the 'Tom Cruise of the Tyne' his mother said.

Tragically his father, Andrew, passed away just two months before the Arena bombing after a long illness, Chloe at his side to support him as Mr Curry comforted his mother and brother. 

They had already mapped out buying a flat, planning a wedding and Chloe had spoken of having children, 'before I'm old and saggy'.

Mr Rutherford said: 'Chloe was 17 and Liam 19, with so much living to be done, all the stories not yet told, all the dreams not yet dreamt.'

Mrs Curry added: 'All the rest is just too tragic and so, here we all are now, when we wish we weren't, trying to make sense of something that will never make sense.

'Just for today we have been sharing a love story about two bairns who fell in love.

'Two beautiful young people with so much love in their hearts and hope for their life together.

'The greatest thing we ever learn in life is just to love and be loved in return.'

The tribute ended with a recording of Chloe singing the song, Somewhere Only We Know, as photos were displayed of the couple together, Mr Curry's mother putting an arm around a tearful Mrs Rutherford.

Sir John Saunders, chairman of the inquiry said: 'All of us, here or watching remotely, will have found that intensely and profoundly moving and all our hearts go out to you.'

The public inquiry is probing the background and emergency response to the attack and is expected to run into next spring.

Tributes were also heard for Georgina Callander, 18, and Philip Tron, 32, before the hearing adjourned until Monday morning.

Liam's mother said: 'Chloe and Liam were together, falling head over heels in love. She was his Juliet and he was her Romeo'

The 22 victims of the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 

  • Elaine McIver, 43: the off-duty police officer died in the attack, which injured her husband and children;
  • Saffie Rose Roussos, 8: the youngest victim was separated from her mother and sister in the seconds after the blast;
  • Sorrell Leczkowski, 14: schoolgirl died in the bomb blast, while her mother, Samantha and grandmother Pauline were badly hurt;
  • Eilidh MacLeod, 14: confirmed dead having been missing since being caught up in the blast with her friend Laura MacIntyre;
  • Nell Jones, 14: farmer's daughter travelled to the pop concert with her best friend for her 14th birthday;
  • Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15: her family searched desperately for her for nearly 48 hours and went on TV to plead for news;
  • Megan Hurley, 15: the Liverpool schoolgirl was with her brother who suffered serious injuries in the blast;
  • Georgina Callander, 18: met Ariana Grande backstage at a previous gig and died in hospital with her mother at her bedside;
  • Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19: couple from South Shields 'wanted to be together forever and now they are', their family said;
  • Courtney Boyle, 19, and Philip Tron, 32: criminology student and her stepfather were confirmed dead following a Facebook appeal;
  • John Atkinson, 26: pop fan from Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, was in a local dance group and was leaving the gig when the blast happened;
  • Martyn Hett, 29: public relations manager from Stockport, who was due to start a two-month 'holiday of a lifetime' to the US two days later;
  • Kelly Brewster, 32: civil servant from Sheffield who died trying to shield her 11-year-old niece from the bombing;
  • Marcin Klis, 42, and Angelika Klis, 39: both killed as they waited for their daughters who both survived the blast;
  • Michelle Kiss, 45: mother-of-three from Clitheroe, Lancashire, went to the Ariana Grande concert with her daughter;
  • Alison Lowe, 44, and friend Lisa Lees, 43: both killed when they arrived to pick up their teenage daughters who were not hurt;
  • Wendy Fawell, 50: mother from Leeds was killed by the blast while picking up her children at the Arena with a friend;
  • Jane Taylor, 50: mother-of-three from Blackpool was killed as she waited to collect a friend's daughter from the concert

Football news:

Alisson on recovery from injury: I prayed a lot, spent 5-6 hours a day with physiotherapists
The VAR referee told the Barcelona - real match referee that Langle did not foul on Ramos. Catalans want to get audio
Frankie de Jong: we have to adapt to Messi. He is the best player in the world
Real Madrid defender Nacho will miss 4 weeks due to injury. Two right-backs are already injured
Manchester City are considering Pochettino and Nagelsmann should Pep leave
Solskjaer still wants Manchester United to buy Holland
The reforms of Manchester United and Liverpool are reminiscent of the history of the Premier League. Then the tops got tired of social justice and wanted freedom