Manchester Arena victims Liam and Chloe from South Shields died "side by side", inquest hears

  • The inquiry's chairman Sir John Saunders gives a moving tribute to the young couple.

Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford - the young couple from South Shields who died during the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing - suffered unsurvivable injuries and died almost immediately, an inquest into the attack has heard.

Sir John Saunders, who is chairing the inquiry, said the couple died side by side. Liam was 19. Chloe was 17.

Earlier in the inquiry, their parents described the couple as "made for each other", adding that they "wanted to be together forever".

The inquest heard that Liam and Chloe travelled from South Shields to Manchester on the day of the concert before checking into a hotel and going out for dinner.

At 10:30 pm, after attending the concert, they entered the City Room of the arena, where the bomb was detonated.

"Following the detonation, CCTV shows Chloe and Liam side-by-side at 22:31:58 and showing no apparent signs of life," the inquest heard.

"At 22:36:12, a travel safe officer attempted to speak to Chloe but she made no response."

Moments later the officer attempted to speak to Liam. No response was given.

Blast wave experts found that their injuries were "unsurvivable".

Liam was described by his mum as being "quiet and reserved" and an excellent sportsman who loved his cricket.

She also told the inquiry that he had taken part in several cycling challenges for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation following the death of his grandad some years earlier.

Chloe's parents said that she loved to sing and performed in stage shows growing up, including in a performance of Annie at the Newcastle Theatre Royal.

Her dad said she would have been happy just to clean the stage for the chance to be on it.

Inquiry Chairman Sir John Saunders said: “The death of these two talented young people are tragic, but the families in their moving tributes have told the wonderful and inspiring story of their lives."