Families have told of their lives being “shattered” by the Manchester Arena bombing in a series of poignant tributes.
The family of Megan Hurley, from Liverpool, said she was murdered just as she was blossoming into a beautiful young woman.
The 15-year-old was found by her father minutes after the May 2017 suicide bombing by Salman Abedi at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. She suffered catastrophic injuries and died shortly afterwards.
In a statement Megan’s parents, Michael and Joanne, and her brother Bradley, who was also injured in the attack, said: “Megan was maturing into a beautiful young lady, living her life to the fullest. She had a lust for life and loved to have fun.”
“Since that horrific day in May 2017, our lives have been ruined. Our hearts have been shattered into a million pieces.
“Losing Megan has left an enormous and irreparable void in our lives,” they added.
As the statements were read by a legal representative, a photo montage was played on screens, showing Megan growing from being a premature, 4lb 3oz newborn to a “bubbly teenager”.
Tributes were also paid to Eilidh MacLeod, 14, from the island of Barra in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, Martyn Hett, 29, from Stockport, John Atkinson, 28, from Manchester, and Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, from Leeds, with the rest to follow over the next two weeks.
Roderick and Marion MacLeod sat in the hearing in Manchester as a video tribute was played for their daughter, the second of their three girls. It began with images of a sunrise over the mountains and beaches of Barra, set to traditional Scottish bagpipe music, one of Eilidh’s passions.
Marion said: “Eilidh was a very special girl, of course she was, she was mine.
“Even though she was only 14 she was loving life. My whole world has been shattered into pieces.”
Another video began with a portrait of Martyn Hett, followed by a compilation of home videos of him as a boy and recordings made by friends and his partner, Russell Hayward.
Through tears, his father Paul said: “We gave him a big hug and said goodbye … having no way of knowing we would never see him again.”
John Atkinson’s mother, Daryl Price, and father, Kevan Atkinson, said that since his death their lives had been torn apart.
“He was the centre of our world. We miss him so much – his laugh, his humour, his personality, his love for his family … we will miss everything about him,” they added.
Sorrell Leczkowski’s death was described as unnecessary, senseless and wrongful. She died in the arms of her mother, Samantha, who was also injured in the blast alongside Sorrell’s grandmother, Pauline Healey.
In a statement her mother said: “My life is over. As well as seeing me and my mum blown up I have to deal with seeing Sorrell blown up and die in my arms.”
The Manchester bomber’s younger brother, Hashem Abedi, was tried and convicted of helping to plan the attack after being extradited from Libya last year. In August he was sentenced to at least 55 years in prison.
The public inquiry is expected to continue into next spring.