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Saturday, 22 September, 2001, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK
UK relatives grieve in New York
Pauline and Charles Berkeley
Mr and Mrs Berkeley say their son lived for travelling
A British couple whose son was on board one of the hijacked planes which crashed into the World Trade Center say his death has taken the "sunshine" from their lives.

Charles and Pauline Berkeley, of Shrewsbury have travelled to New York to see where their 37-year-old son, Graham, lost his life.

Graham, the e-business director of computer firm Compuware, was on the United Airlines Boston-Los Angeles flight 175 which crashed into the second tower on 11 September.

The couple said they watched the drama unfold on television without realising their son was involved, as they believed he was travelling to Amsterdam instead.

We know Graham could not have survived that blast

Pauline Berkeley
Victim's mother

"We felt so sorry for the people on the aeroplane. It was not until 10 o'clock that night that United Airlines rang us and said, 'We are very sorry, your son has been on Flight 175'.

"We know Graham could not have survived that blast," said Mrs Berkeley.

"The sunshine has gone from our lives."

Graham, who was single and based in Boston, had been heading to a conference in Los Angeles.

Mrs Berkeley, 64, said her son "lived for travelling".

Graham Berkeley
Graham Berkeley was on United Airlines flight 175
"He always used to ring from the airport and say 'Hi guys, I'm going to so-and-so'.

"He never rang this time."

The couple said they wanted to see their son's killers brought to justice, but did not want innocent Muslims to suffer.

Mr Berkeley said: "It is not Islam at all. The terrorists have no morals.

"There should be no innocent people like our son affected."

'No hope'

Keith Thompson, whose only brother Ian was lost in the World Trade Center collapse, said he had known almost immediately there was no hope for survival.

Ian Thompson, a broker with Eurobrokers, was on the 84th floor of the second tower when the plane struck.

Keith, 51, from Andover in Hampshire, said he had watched the television coverage realising he would never see his brother again.

He was murdered and that is how I have come to terms with that

Keith Thompson
Victim's brother
"I have not had any hope really, since I saw tower one come down on television," he said.

Ian had moved to New York almost 10 years ago, settled and raised his two children with his British-born wife, Lucy.

Speaking in New York after flying out to be with his brother's family, Mr Thompson said Ian "had bought the American dream".

But he said the manner of his brother's death was hard to accept.

"My brother didn't die in an accident, he didn't die naturally. He was murdered and that is how I have come to terms with that."

Mr Thompson said he and his brother's wife had visited the Manhattan crash site.

"It brings home the enormity of it all, when it is still smoking. You have to realise that you are not going to walk away from something like that."

Mr Thompson said his two nieces were having trouble coming to terms with their father's death.

"The 10-year-old still does not believe it happened. The 13-year-old is angry with the world," he said.

Keith Thompson in Manhattan
Keith Thompson says his brother was 'murdered'
Mr Thompson's brother phoned his wife when the first tower was hit to reassure her that his tower was safe, but was not heard from again.

Keith said he had visited his brother in New York and had seen his World Trade Center office.

"Having seen it I can understand the enormity of the destruction, of the rescue operation," he said.

"I feel very sorry for the firemen. Having found nobody, it must be absolutely demoralising for them."

Mr Thompson said he could not understand the terrorists' targeting of innocent civilians.

"I never had dreamed that something would happen on that scale," he said. "It exceeded even their wildest dreams in what happened."

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See also:

20 Sep 01 | Americas
We share grief, Blair tells America
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