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  • 3 April 2014, 5:45

Hillsborough Inquests To Hear 'Pen Portraits'

The first of 96 personality profiles are being presented in what is expected to be among the most poignant evidence to be heard by the Hillsborough inquests.

All the families have been invited to write a 'pen portrait' which will be read aloud to the jury by each victim's relatives or a legal representative. Their contributions are expected to last three weeks.

The coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, has alerted jurors to expect deeply moving details about the lives and deaths of the victims. 

Evelyn Mills, whose brother Pete McDonnell died at the Hillsborough stadium aged 21, will be one of those addressing the inquests. 

"Pete was a quiet lad, very quiet - but funny in his own way," she told Sky News. "He was a bit of a joker but very loving. An ordinary working-class lad who had aspirations.

"It's very important the jury gets to hear the pen portraits. It's good they'll hear the background to each person, what their life entailed, and what their aspirations in life were.

"I'm just trying to get myself in the right mindset. It will be very difficult because this will be the first time we can actually talk about our loved ones as the person they were."

Lead barrister for the inquests Christina Lambert QC has described the pen portraits as "exquisitely sensitive and important".

Although relatives have been free to write the profiles, they are not allowed to express opinions about the disputed issues under examination.

At the original 1991 inquest families were not allowed to challenge witnesses.

The coroner of the fresh inquests said: "The hearings were very brief. Few questions were asked of the witnesses. The bereaved families and their representatives were not given disclosure of the source documents in advance of the hearings."

New inquests were ordered after the High Court in London quashed the original verdict of accidental death in 2012.

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