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September 8th 2021

Inquests

Family of Lewis Skelton tell inquest they’ve been left with ‘broken hearts’ as loving son and brother taken from them

Leanne Stephenson

Leanne Stephenson

Associate, Civil Liberties

Family of Lewis Skelton tell inquest they’ve been left with ‘broken hearts’ as loving son and brother taken from them

The family of Lewis Skelton have told the inquest into his death that they were all left with ‘broken hearts’ as a loving son and brother was taken from them when shot by armed officers from Humberside Police.

The family of Lewis Skelton have told the inquest into his death that they were all left with ‘broken hearts’ as a loving son and brother was taken from them when shot by armed officers from Humberside Police.

Lewis died in November 2016 after ‘two live rounds’ were shot at him in Francis Street, Hull city centre, following calls from members of the public of a man carrying an axe as he walked through the streets.

Given their opportunity to speak about Lewis on the first day of the hearing at Hull Coroner’s Court through ‘pen portrait’ statements, Lewis’ parents Glenn and Helen told how he had ‘battled with mental health’, but despite the problems or challenges he faced, put others needs before his own.

They described him as being ‘polite to everyone he met, always using his manners, and never wanting to make anyone’s day any more difficult as he knew how hard life could be’.

His mother recalled how her son’s last words to her had been ‘I love you mum’ in a telephone call the night before he died.

“He should still be with us today. I would do anything to just be able to spend one more afternoon with my son. I loved him more than anyone else ever could,” she said.

Sisters had ‘unbreakable bond’ with Lewis growing up

Lewis’ three sisters spoke of growing up together and an ‘unbreakable bond’ which they formed in childhood.

His younger sister Hayley said: “Lewis was very witty and very funny. He had a rare sense of humour. Anyone that was around Lewis would laugh. He was such fun to be around and was always cracking the jokes and making people smile.

“Growing up with Lewis was an absolute pleasure. All of my happy memories as a child are with Lewis. We all grew up very close as siblings and did everything together. The closeness we had was unbreakable.

Lewis Skelton growing up
Lewis Skelton growing up

“The bond was very strong between us all. We loved each other dearly and some of my best memories with Lewis were as children and growing up.

“Lewis took pride in becoming a good big brother. Our lives will never be the same and we will never be who we were before, having a life without Lewis in it is extremely difficult. It’s hard to get up every morning knowing that he is no longer around.

“The pain is too much to bear. He had so much to live for and had only just begun his life and his new path. I dream about Lewis all of the time and it makes me feel like he is still with us and gives me comfort, but I’ll never have the chance to tell him I love him again and hug him again.

“The regret I have for not being there more for him will always live within me. I feel blessed that I have all the great memories with Lewis.”

‘Kept himself to himself but would do anything for anyone’

His eldest sister Laura spoke about Lewis becoming ‘a great uncle’ to her children, saying her girls ‘adored him’.

She added: “My brother meant the absolute world to me. Lewis was the most kind, genuine and caring person I know. He was loyal and non-judgmental of anyone. He kept himself to himself but would do anything for anyone. His neighbours spoke very highly of him.

Lewis Skelton
Lewis Skelton

“There’s a piece of our heart missing that we will never get back. Life just isn’t the same and never will be without Lewis.”

Youngest sister Tia said Lewis had encouraged her to chase her dreams, and often told her that and nothing was impossible.

“There aren’t enough words to describe how my brother was. Not once did I hear him complain, all he ever did was show gratitude and love to me, despite what was going on in his own life,” she said.

“I was 17 when Lewis was taken from us, and I only wish we had more time with him. There’s nothing that me, or any of my family members, wouldn’t give to just have one more day with him. I only wish he was here now for us to be able to tell him how much we all love him.

“I miss him every single day. There has not been a day since November 29th, 2016, when Lewis hasn’t been on my mind. I wish he was still here to continue to guide me throughout the rest of my life.”

Lewis Skelton as a child
Lewis Skelton as a child

Lewis grew up in Hull attending Stepney Primary School, Clifton Primary School and then Kelvin Hall High School. He studied electrical engineering at Hull College.

His family described his as having a passion for animals, music and football, supporting Liverpool.

The inquest heard on day one that Lewis was shot after failing to stop on instruction from armed police officers, and after Tasers had ‘no effect’ on him. He had not threatened anyone but police commanders feared he “might have an intended target”.

Lewis’ family are being represented at the inquest by Leanne Stephenson and Adam Biglin of Hudgell Solicitors, alongside Tim Moloney QC and Angela Patrick of Doughty Street Chambers.

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Family of Lewis Skelton hope to ‘finally have answers’ as inquest begins almost five years after fatal Humberside Police shooting

Statement on behalf of Lewis Skelton’s family as IPCC completes investigation into fatal shooting of Hull man by Humberside Police

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