Parents of Chloe and Liam feel 'strung along' by government over death certificate row

  • Watch Jonny Blair's report exploring how families of victims of the tragic Manchester Arena bombing are calling for legal change in how deaths are registered

The families of two teenage sweethearts who died in the Manchester Arena bombing have had their hopes dashed of changing the law to give them the option of being involved in registering their deaths.

Liam Curry, 19, and Chloe Rutherford, 17, were among the 22 people who died in the attack at an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.

The families of Chloe and Liam want the option to be involved in the process and for the government to change the law around how deaths are registered.

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".

A recent letter sent to the bereaved families, from the government, stated a “commitment to look at options to change the law”.

Although Chloe and Liam's families say a meeting with the Home Office seemed to offer a different scenario.

A statement released on 24 February, stated the procedure could be adapted for families via non-legislative means.

A government spokesperson said: “Lord Murray and the government as a whole remain 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.”  

Both families have received support from their local MP for South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck who has raised the grievance several times in Parliament.

Liam's mother, Caroline Curry, said: “There is no reason why it can't be split into two sections.

"The coroner does their bit, the cause of death and where it happened. And the family are allowed to put the private detail."

"I put Liam's name on the birth certificate. I should be allowed, as his only parent, to put his name on the death certificate.”

Chloe's mother, Lisa Rutherford, said: "Because of our children dying the way that they did or being murdered the way that they were, a lot of things have not been in our control.

"We've been very patient with all of that. This is the last thing we can do for them."

The final report from the public inquiry into the Manchester Arena terrorist attack is due next week.