Peter Francis Tootle

Peter Francis Tootle

Age: 21

Peter Tootle went to his first Liverpool game when he was just 18 months old. He travelled to Hillsborough for the semi-final with his uncle Stephen and a friend, who both survived. The inquests heard Peter was shy and well-mannered, but protective of his two younger siblings. Considered the family favourite, he was also devoted to his boxer dog, Kelsey, whom he'd been bought as an 18th birthday present. 

His mother, Joan, told the inquests: "There was always a lot of laughter when you were with him. Peter was a lovely lad."

Portrait by his mother Joan Tootle

Peter was our lad. He was the first born of three children. His brother Barry was around two years younger than him and his sister Amanda was two years younger again.

Peter was very protective of his brother and his sister. He was also very strict with Amanda.

We let Amanda get away with lots, but Peter had his own rules for her and said she had to be in by a certain time and, if she wasn't in, he would go out looking for her.

Peter and Barry would argue sometimes, especially as they shared a room and Peter was tidy and Barry wasn't.

But, within seconds, they would be making up and would be going out together. He loved all of his friends and his family.

We are a big family and very close, but Peter was the favourite. All of his cousins loved spending time with him and his uncles respected him. He was a good lad and everybody idolised him.

He would have been made up with his four nieces. His cousin Sean was also Peter's godson. He used to call him 'Dad number two'.

Peter would do anything for anyone. When his grandad died, he went around to his grandma's house every night and made dinner for her.

He would sit with her for hours some nights if she wanted to talk and, before he left, he would make sure the house was locked up and she was safe.

Whenever I visited my mother, he would come around to walk me home, even though we only lived around the corner. He was protective of us all.

I remember when Peter took his cousin Joanne to her first disco when she was 13. All of her friends had gone without her so he walked her round to the youth club.

He got all of her friends to come outside just so she had people to walk in with. He went back afterwards and picked her up and brought her home. He was thoughtful like that.

One of my nieces, Tracey, would come to stay with us for the six-week school holiday, and she would follow Peter around the whole time. She was around 18 months younger than Peter, and they had some laughs together.

I remember one winter, I saw Peter and Tracey mucking around in the snow outside. One minute, Peter was rolling Tracey around in the snow, and the next minute she was bashing him with snowballs.

Everyone else wanted to join in, so before you knew it, everyone was out in the street playing in the snow with them. Peter was fun to be around.

Peter was no trouble at all at school and got on very well with his teachers. He loved football and ended up playing football for the school.

He also loved Liverpool Football Club. He went to his first match when he was 18 months old and was hooked. I think 'Liverpool' was his first word and we never heard the end of it until he went to his next match.

He also enjoyed keep-fit and boxing and was just about to start kick-boxing before he died.

He absolutely loved his dog Kelsey and took her everywhere. He had been going mad for a boxer dog for years and we got him one for his 18th birthday.

He liked music, too, and his favourites were Pink Floyd and Simon and Garfunkel.

Peter loved his food and would bring different people back for their tea every night. He especially loved burgers and kebabs. He was always trying to get me to taste his kebabs, which I thought looked horrible.

After a night out, he would even come into my room and wake me up to ask me if I wanted some of his kebab.

Peter had good manners. He never shouted or raised his voice and he was a perfect gentleman. But he was also very fun-loving, too.

He would jump out at you from spaces you would never imagine, just to frighten the life out of you for a laugh. Peter was funny, and had a very dry sense of humour.

He never asked for anything except his ironing. Peter loved shoes and clothes and everything had to be spotless. I did his ironing for him and it had to be absolutely perfect.

He didn't drink or smoke and he hated that I smoked. If he was still here, I probably would have given up.

He wouldn't even take painkillers if he had a headache. His mates used to go to the pub, but because he didn't drink, the pub got a crate of Lucozade in just for him. That's the kind of person Peter was.

Peter was very shy and didn't like to be the centre of attention. He didn't like his photograph being taken, so he would always hide his face, so we had to take his picture on the sly.

He was so shy that when his grandad died and he was asked to carry the coffin, he didn't want to do it. He came to me and asked me if I could persuade his grandma not to ask him.

I remember him saying that everyone would be watching him and what if he dropped the coffin? Of course he did it in the end, but he kept his head down the entire time.

He had always been quiet, but he was starting to open up. Despite being quiet, all the girls loved him.

He had been working with his dad cleaning windows and all the girls would be lined up, looking at him.

He started courting, but he didn't tell us for a few weeks. Then, on his 21st birthday, his girl Nicola came to the front door and he went out wearing a brand new leather jacket.

I was looking out of the window and he wouldn't go down the path until I went in. I remember him saying, "Get away Mrs". He always called me Mrs.

His girl, Nicola, is still in touch with us. That shows how special Peter was.

They were due to go away in June to Spain, and that would have been his first proper holiday abroad and his first time on a plane. He was really excited and asking everyone what it was like on a plane. He bought a load of new clothes for the holiday, but it was never meant to be.

I sometimes remember little things Peter said and I find myself laughing. There was always a lot of laughter when you were with him.

Peter was a lovely lad. He was our lad. 

 

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