THE mother of a Lechlade man who was crushed to death in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster has told an inquest into the tragedy that from the moment he was born, her son gave his family "untold joy".
Margaret Godwin stood before Lord Justice Goldring and members of the jury at the hearing in Warrington on Thursday, April 10. Her daughter Valerie, husband Stanley and son-in-law Andrew sat nearby supporting her.
The decision to hold a new inquest into the deaths of the 96 people who died in the disaster was reached at the end of 2012, when Attorney General Dominic Grieve applied for the original verdicts to be quashed.
The couple's son Derrick Godwin was just 24 when he died at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989. He had been to see the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.
Reading to the court, Margaret said: “Derrick loved to watch football. One day, he went to see Oxford United v Liverpool in a cup match and from then on he got hooked on Liverpool and the following season he became a season ticket holder on the Kop.
“For all home matches, he would drive to Cheltenham station, change trains at Birmingham and then on to Liverpool. He would meet up with his football colleagues on the Kop. Derrick did not drink, and he did not smoke.
“He was a regular young man with his whole life in front of him. He was our only son. From the moment of his birth until his death, he gave us untold joy.
“Every day we think about him and what might have been. I clearly remember that on the morning of the semi-final, when he left home, his dad said to him, ‘I hope Liverpool win, Derrick’, to which he replied, ‘Oh, they will win, dad’.
“Little did we realise they would be the last words we would ever hear him say.”
Watching his wife speak to the court, Stanley Godwin called her "the best speaker in the house".
"She was absolutely spot-on," he said. "She showed no nerves. It was an emotional day but we met a few old friends too. We're taking this one step at a time."
Today (Tuesday) Margaret and Stanley will attend the annual anniversary service at the Liverpool's Anfield stadium where they will pay their respects to their son and the other 95 people who died 25 years ago.
"It's a long way to go but we wouldn't miss it for the world," added Mr Godwin.
The service at Anfield will see club officials, players and staff join with the relatives of those who died. Former players and managers and members of the wider Liverpool community will also be attending.
Mr Grieve said he applied to the High Court as a result of the Hillsborough Panel’s report, published on September 12, 2012, which said 41 of those who died might have been saved.
New evidence undermined the coroner’s summing-up, according to Mr Grieve, and he cited concerns about the timing of the fans’ deaths, the role of the police and the false allegations that alcohol had played a material part in the tragedy.
In her emotional statement, Margaret went on: “Derrick was a happy, contented child. Derrick was a quiet person by nature. He was neat and tidy and very methodical in everything that he did.
“He was a good boy, well-behaved, polite and courteous. He had a good sense of humour. He grew into a fine young man.”