The parents of two teenage sisters who both died in the Hillsborough disaster have paid tribute to them as "bright, beautiful and innocent" young women.

In evidence to an inquest into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans, Trevor Hicks and his former wife, Jenni, recalled how 19-year-old Sarah Hicks and her sister, Victoria, 15, died together "in horrific circumstances supporting the team they loved".

On what would have been Sarah's 44th birthday, Mr Hicks remembered her as an attractive, sociable person with a lovely disposition who took everything in her stride.

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The long-standing Hillsborough campaigner, who split up with his wife two years after the disaster, said his younger daughter had exhibited a "strength of character and determination that was scary at times".

Addressing jurors five days before the 25th anniversary of the tragedy at an FA Cup semi-final on April 15, 1989, Mr Hicks, who lived in Middlesex at the time, said of his daughters: "They were very different maybe, but they were very much a pair.

"They had their arguments but they would defend each other to the death. Literally, as it turned out.

"The loss of a child is one of the worst things that can happen to a parent. The loss of all your children is devastating. You lose everything - your present, your future and then your purpose."