Ian Tomlinson profile: A lifetime spent battling the bottle

Ian Tomlinson was robbed of a last chance to get his life back on track in the events that led to his death on 1 April, 2009.

Ian Tomlinson was robbed of a last chance to get his life back on track in the events that led to his death on 1 April, 2009.

He had lived on the fringes of society for decades, a battle with alcohol rendering him unable to hold down a job or a home.

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But spurred on by the love and support of his family and estranged wife, there were signs that he had turned a corner.

In the days he spent hanging around a newspaper stall near a Tube station, conversation with anyone who would listen was dominated by two subjects: Millwall FC and how he was going to beat his drinking problem.

He was desperate to rebuild bridges with his family. After moving into a new hostel in the months before his death at the age of 47, Mr Tomlinson embarked on a detoxification programme.

His wife, Julia, said he treated all nine of her children as though they were his own.

In an interview last year, she said: “I remember feeling he
was the best thing that ever
happened to me. I must say we do miss him very much.”

The couple met at an east
London market where she worked when she was 27 and he was 31. They were married in 1991 after she became pregnant.

“He was over the moon when Sam [their first child together] was born,” Mrs Tomlinson said.

But she added: “He did not treat his biological children any different to the others.”

She believed his heavy drinking started because of problems during childhood.

But she said: “There were long periods when he did not drink, and I had many happy memories of being a family and taking the children to the park.”

Stepson Paul King said: “He was not my biological father, but he was my old man and I think of him as my real dad.”