Chiswell Green schoolboy one of the 96 people “unlawfully killed” in Hillsborough disaster

Kester Ball

Kester Ball - Credit: Archant

The death of a St Albans teenager in the Hillsborough disaster was ruled as unlawful killing on Tuesday at the end of a two-year inquest into the football tragedy.

Kester Ball, 16, who lived in Chiswell Green at the time of the tragedy, was among 96 victims of the crush which occurred at Leppings Lane end of the Sheffield Wednesday ground during an FA Cup tie against Liverpool on April 15, 1989.

The jury found match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield was “responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence” due to a breach of his duty of care.

Kester’s mother Brenda, who was at home in Farringford Close with his sister Juliette, when the tragedy occurred, gave evidence to the inquest in which she described her son as ‘loving’ and not afraid to show his affection, even in front of his peers.

She went on: “He was compassionate and made a positive impact on all who met him.”

Mrs Ball also said her son was a very loyal friend and brother with a sense of humour and fun-loving personality which had made him very popular. “He was never bored and lived life to the full, accepting challenges, seeking new adventures and always striving to do his best,” she added.

Parmiters School pupil Kester, who was academically bright and a keen sportsman - he belonged to St Stephen tennis club at Greenwood Park, Chiswell Green, where a plaque was put up in his memory - had travelled to Hillsborough with his father Roger, a long-time Liverpool supporter, and his two best friends, both of whom survived.

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Mr Ball was carried out unconscious from the crush and when he came to, he searched for Kester without success until he was shown a Polaroid photo of his son which had been put up in a bus by police and from which he was able to identify him.

Mrs Ball, who no longer lives in Chiswell Green, told the inquest that Kester had written a project for school about himself when he was 11 and had just started at Parmiter’s in Garston.

One chapter was called My Future Hopes in which he said he would like to study at university and go on to work in banking like his dad.

He wrote about wanting to get married and having two children and how, when he retired, he would like to live in the Lake District and do a lot of walking.

But, she said in her statement to the inquest, “Kester never achieved these future hopes. He died aged 16 years.”