Manchester Arena Inquiry: Saffie-Rose Roussos asked medics 'Am I going to die?'

  • Report by Granada Reports Arena Correspondent Amy Welch

Warning: The evidence in this story is distressing

The youngest victim of the Manchester Arena bombing asked paramedics "Am I going to die?"

Saffie-Rose Roussos, who was eight-years-old and from Leyland, asked outright whether she would survive as she was taken to hospital.

The inquiry into the atrocity heard she had suffered multiple fractures, shrapnel wounds and massive blood loss.

Paramedic Gillian Yates did her best to comfort Saffie. Her evidence was read by Sophie Cartwright QC.

The proceedings revealed Saffie was in the Arena's City Room, with her mother Lisa and sister Ashlee Bromwich, five metres from the bomber.

Mrs Roussos told the inquiry the trio had been heading out to meet Saffie's father and brother.

In her evidence, she described a "big thud" and that she knew a bomb had gone off. She was badly injured but survived.

A member of the public, Paul Reid, went to help Saffie along with first aiders, an off-duty nurse and several police officers. Mr Reid said he saw "metal in her side" and that her legs were "badly injured, at different angles, and not in a natural position."

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

The court was told that nurse Bethany Crook kept checking Saffie's pulse along the way shouting: "Stay with me, darling - don’t you go on me, darling! You squeeze my hand, baby girl.”

Ms Crook was "surprised" to find no ambulance or medical staff waiting for them when they got outside.

The eight-year-old moaned and cried as she was carried out to the street

A police officer flagged-down an ambulance which took Saffie to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital where, the court heard, she was the first casualty from the attack to arrive.

Doctors there were forced to put fluids directly into a bone because they could not get a needle into any veins. Despite their efforts, she went into cardiac arrest and attempts to revive her did not work.

Saffie's father, Andrew, told the inquiry chair that the response to the bombing was "shameful" and his daughter was "let down."

Mrs Roussos thanked those who helped Saffie that night but said to the "emergency services and MI5" that the inquiry is not about "protecting their job, reputation or uniform."

She also questioned how there could be "positive change" without admission of failings.

Saffie went to the concert with her mother and sister

Ariana Grande was Saffie's "idol," Mr Roussos said, and talked "incessantly" about going to the concert after getting the tickets as a Christmas gift.

Waving her, Lisa and Ashlee off to the show, he said his youngest child was "on cloud nine."

Later, when he drove to the Arena to collect them, he saw people running away in "hysterics" who said either a bomb had gone off or balloons had popped.

He walked towards the building and found Ashlee injured on the ground outside, the inquiry heard. The doctors treating her confirmed it was a bomb but had no information on where her younger sister or mother were.

Mr Roussos struggled to find information on where Saffie was and how she was

Mr Roussos went to Manchester Royal Infirmary, Salford Royal Hospital and Wythenshawe Hospital - in search of both Saffie and Lisa - before he found his wife just after 7am the next day.

No-one could tell him where Saffie was. He asked a detective for help who eventually discovered that she had died.

Chair of the inquiry, Sir John Saunders, paid his own tribute to a "beautiful, talented girl" and said her death was a "waste of a very special person."