THE father of Ibiza tragedy victim Luke Rhoden has paid tribute to his son one year on from his death.
The 25-year-old died on the Spanish island after a struggle with police outside his hotel.
It’s been a tough year overall though, a year of adjustment really. You sometimes look at his picture and realise he isn’t hear anymore. You just have to find a way to keep goingNorman Rhoden
While it is known that a cardiac arrest caused his death, it is how that came about that remains in question.
In the immediate aftermath, a number of eyewitnesses claimed that the former Winstanley College student was the victim of severe police brutality.
Luke’s death sparked a mixture of devastation and anger back in Wigan, where he was immensely popular.
A former Warriors academy player, he was known across the town and is remembered by those closest to him every day.
“People can’t believe how quickly the year has gone,” said his dad Norman today. “It’s been difficult but we’ve kept busy. It was his birthday recently and then the anniversary of his death this week – they were very tough days.
“It’s been a tough year overall though, a year of adjustment really. You sometimes look at his picture and realise he isn’t here anymore. You just have to find a way to keep going. As harsh and as cold as that sounds it’s true.”
The main thing that has kept Norman busy over the last 12 months is the fight to bring justice for his son.
While there is an acceptance that Luke may have taken drugs on the night he died, it’s unknown as to whether it was that or alleged aggressive behaviour from police that sparked the fatal heart attack. One key piece of evidence is from the doctor who attended to Luke as he was being manhandled by the police. He has said he had to ask officers to stop choking Luke shortly before he died.
An inquest into the Pemberton rugby player’s death was due last month but that is now likely to take place in October.
“There are new laws that have come out that can be used for our benefit,” explained Norman.
“Potential witnesses can now Skype in from abroad. The doctor who attended to Luke at the scene has always been our key witness.
“We got some details off him and signed it off and we have presented that to the coroner.”
Norman says that his solicitors have also been looking into contacting the family of a Northern Irishman, Alan Drennan, who was beaten up by police in Ibiza and died after sustaining a nasty head injury earlier this year.
Norman said: “The police won’t give an explanation as to what happened. Whatever happens, I know I can look back and know we have done everything we could have done.
“I’ve done as much as I can, we have been over there and got the doctor’s evidence.”