Manchester Arena Inquiry: Saffie-Rose Roussos dad says emergency response 'worst failure' in history

  • Report by Granada Reports Arena Correspondent Amy Welch

The father of the youngest Manchester Arena bombing has launched a scathing attack on those involved - calling it "one of the worst failures" in history.

Saffie-Rose Roussos, who was eight-years-old and from Leyland, was in the Arena's City Room, with her mother Lisa and sister Ashlee Bromwich, five metres from the bomber.

The youngster was helped by members of the public following the blast, and the inquiry heard she asked paramedics, "am I going to die?"

Around 25 minutes after the blast, Saffie was lifted onto an advertising hoarding - as a makeshift stretcher - and taken out of the Arena.

Andrew Roussos told the inquiry into the bombing the response to the attack was "shameful" and his daughter was "let down."

He said the family was enduring a "living nightmare", adding: "As a human being, a father, I cannot live with myself if I don’t voice this, the response on that night was shameful and inadequate.

"Everyone in that City Room was let down and the people that excuse it should feel ashamed.

"What Saffie went through I will never forgive.

"That poor little girl hung in for someone to come and help her. What she received was a bloodied advertising board and untrained people doing the best they could."

He added: "The response of the security services on this atrocity should go down in history as one of the worst failures from start to finish, and that is what we should learn from this."

Saffie and her dad Andrew.

The inquiry into the atrocity, on 22 May 2017 bombing that killed 22 people, heard Saffie had suffered multiple fractures, shrapnel wounds and massive blood loss.

The school girl suffered massive blood loss from shrapnel wounds to her legs, caused by the 10.31pm explosion in the City Room foyer of the venue after an Ariana Grande concert.

Saffie's mother, Lisa, who also gave evidence to the Inquiry, urged the emergency services and MI5 to admit their "failings".

The 53-year-old, who was also at the concert with sister Ashlee Bromwich, said: "I want to thank those who tried to help Saffie that night and for being with her.

"I also want to say to the professionals like the emergency services and MI5 that this inquiry is not about your job, your reputation or your uniform.

"We understand the sheer panic and fear you were faced with that night, but until you admit the failings how can there be a positive change?"

The inquiry has heard only three paramedics from North West Ambulance Service ever entered the City Room on the night, and one of them briefly leaned over Saffie-Rose before, seconds later, he moved on.

MI5 witnesses have given evidence in closed sessions at the inquiry, but a parliamentary committee found in 2018 that MI5 and counter-terrorism missed a number of potential opportunities to prevent the attack in their handling of bomber Salman Abedi's case.