John Stout (18), Collock – “He would have been a painter – a designer with a profession and a life of his own” – The Irish Times | Pro IQRA News

John Stout (18), Collock – “He would have been a painter – a designer with a profession and a life of his own” – The Irish Times

 | Pro IQRA News

Pro IQRA News Updates.

Investigations into the deaths of 48 young men who died in the Stardust fire in Artan, Dublin in 1981 include pencil photographs of each of the deceased by bereaved family members. Find all personal photos and more coverage here.

John was the third child in a large family that had 11 surviving children.

John was a particularly quiet eighteen-year-old, very sensitive and kind. He really hated conflict. He was very careful. He was good at school – a great learner and was known to be a very sweet child.

John loved snooker and loved Elvis. I also love to watch horses in show jumping competitions. Above all, John loved his family. He was very family oriented.

The family was very close and John was well aware of the need to have a job to contribute to the household to help his parents. He had plans to take up painting and decorating, to launch his career.

John goes out with his friends about once a week. He went to Stardust with his girlfriend, Helena Mangan. Helena was the love of his life, a beautiful young woman who was also killed in the fire. They sat down with a group that included John Lawrence’s brother, known as Larry.

The first thing the family knew something was wrong that night was the sound of a knock on their front door, as the boys’ friends, with blood on their shirts, informed them of the Stardust Fire.

The morgue visit was traumatic. As a family, we have always said that John’s mother lost more than one son in the fire. After being burned, Larry is changed as a young man. He has endured much of the survivor’s guilt and trauma. He was ashamed of his injuries.

The whole family’s behavior changed abruptly. In practice, there was always a fear of fire (stopping the use of candles, for example). In deeper, hard-to-explain ways, there has been a permanent change in the atmosphere. The family was devastated. A sense of peace was lost, leaving the family permanently unstable.

We don’t know how Jun’s mother managed to bear the burden of this. She was an incredibly strong woman who we lost five years ago. Our family has always talked about John.

His birthday and anniversaries never go unnoticed. In fact, we remember him all the time because he is often said of some little thing that happens or some remark that is made – “It reminds me of John.”

Children in the extended family were named after him. He missed a lot – to have his own family and children. He could have been a painter-designer with a profession and a life of his own, but John never got to see and experience adulthood.

As a family, we want the investigation to help us find closure. After all these years, justice would help us establish peace so that we would not remain troubled.