3 Mar 2011

July 7 witness: John Mather

John Mather appeared at the July 7 inquest via video link from New Zealand to speak about his daughter Shelley who died in the Russell Square blast. He tells Channel 4 News about giving evidence.

When Shelley Mather went missing on the morning of July 7 her parents – John Mather and Kathryn Gilkison – made the journey from New Zealand to London to search for their daughter.

The 26-year-old was later confirmed as one of the 26 people who died on the Piccadilly Line Tube as the train left King’s Cross station for Russell Square.

Over five years on they spoke at the inquest into her death via video link from Auckland. John Mather told Channel 4 News it was a chance to give Shelley an important presence in the permanent record of the events of July 7.

Click here to return to the London bombings special report and hear from the July 7 witnesses

“It was simply to have a presence and for Shelley to be present in a more significant way,” Mr Mather said.

“The whole experience was interesting because it’s mundane in one way: you drive to a little side street in Auckland, hunt around for the building you have to get into, somebody comes down and lets you in – No big deal, nothing major. You’re handling that ok.

Shelley Mather

“Actually presenting the statement gets you a bit more that you anticipated.

“In terms of the reaction with the inquest, it was probably no different from actually being there. And it was once again an example of the consideration we had been shown.

“Not a big deal in this technological age, perhaps, but it was thoughtful. It really did give a sense of having presence in the court room on the day.”

Mr Mather read a statement at the inquest about his daughter which spoke of her “sublime and irreplaceable” humour.

“When somebody dear to you is murdered it leaves a big gap in your life,” Mr Mather told Channel 4 News.

“People used to say of all my children Shelley was most like me. We were alike, and we did have connections.

John Mather

“It’s difficult because it’s five years on. You have to get on with life and you can’t spend all of your time looking at loss and the things that you regret.

“On the other hand you don’t like to feel that you’re short-changing Shelley. Sometimes you think Shelley wouldn’t want her murder to affect you completely to help you get on and do things.”

Mr Mather said that along with a number of other families involved in the inquest it was important to find out what went on during the incident, although it didn’t change the reality of losing his daughter.

“I dip in to some of the transcript now and again and it really just confirms what I thought at the time, what I’ve thought since – people would have done what they could with what they had on the day. There will be some people who fell short of what’s expected of them, there will be some people who did what was expected of them, and there will be some people who did far more than what was expected.”

John Mather Saba Mozakka Veronica Cassidy John Taylor Steven Desborough Thelma Stober