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The Manchester Arena Inquiry has now concluded. The closure notice from the Inquiry Chairman is available here.

Volume 2 is divided into two sub-volumes: Volume 2-I and Volume 2-II. Volume 2-I is 695 pages long. Volume 2-I begins with a Preface and then continues with Parts 9 to 16. Volume 2-II is 189 pages long. It contains Parts 17 to 21 and the Appendices. A list of the names of the twenty-two who died is at page vii of Volume 2-I and at page iii of Volume 2-II.
A large format version combining Volume 2-I (ia, ib and ic) and Volume 2-II is also available.
Volume 2-I (standard format)
Volume 2-II (standard format)
Volume 2 (large format)

Members of the public

Key findings

  • Members of the public in and around the City Room showed extraordinary courage and compassion in response to the Attack.
  • Members of the public made an important contribution to the emergency response.
  • On the night of 22nd May 2017, they represented the very best of our society.


While the Inquiry did not receive evidence from every member of the public who provided assistance in the City Room, evidence was received from a significant number of people. What follows are just some of the accounts the Inquiry received.

In relation to each of these individuals, it is important to record that every one of them acted heroically and selflessly. None of them had any form of protective equipment. Many were dressed for a night out or were in casual clothing. I accept that, in the case of each and every person I heard from, they were doing the very best they could that night. The circumstances with which they were presented were appalling. That night they represented the very best of our society.

In Part 17 in Volume 2‑II, I will identify some of those who were helped by the people listed in paragraphs 16.166 to 16.194. In Part 18, I will deal with those they helped who were killed by the explosion. Some of the people whose experience I summarise below responded to the incident, despite having been in the City Room when the bomb detonated.

Members of the public in the City Room at 22:31

Jonathan Woods

Jonathan Woods was waiting on the mezzanine to collect his wife and daughter from the concert in the City Room. He recalled seeing people start to come into the City Room. He described the atmosphere as being “good”.317 When the bomb detonated, he saw “an incredible flash being red black and purple in colour”.318 He felt the shock wave. He was struck in the knee, and his leg buckled. He believes that he was lifted off the ground and deposited in front of the JD Williams entrance. Despite this, he did what he could to assist those affected by the explosion.319 He tried to help Michelle Kiss.320

Michael Byrne

Michael Byrne was waiting in the City Room to collect his daughters.321 After the explosion, he stayed and assisted casualties in the City Room, including Alison Howe322 and Lisa Lees.323

Ronald Blake

Ronald and Lesley Blake were in the City Room at the time of the detonation, waiting to collect their daughter and her friend after the concert.324 Ronald Blake described seeing a large orange flash about four car lengths away from where he was standing, followed by a loud bang.325 He felt something hit his right inner thigh. He found himself lying on the floor looking up towards his wife, Lesley.326

Having checked that his wife was uninjured, Ronald Blake noticed John Atkinson lying on the floor covered in blood. He approached John Atkinson and made a 999 call.327 With the encouragement of the operator, he applied his wife’s belt to John Atkinson’s right leg as a tourniquet.328 Colonel Professor Jonathan Clasper, a member of the Blast Wave Panel of Experts who considered John Atkinson’s care, gave evidence that Ronald Blake “did brilliantly”.329 Ronald Blake stayed with John Atkinson until 23:29, at which point John Atkinson was evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Station and was being treated by a paramedic.330

Ronald Blake helped others injured outside Manchester Victoria Railway Station.331 He had no previous first aid training.332 He provided help while he himself was injured. He further injured himself when carrying down the stairs the makeshift stretcher bearing John Atkinson.333

Philip and Kim Dick

Philip and Kim Dick were in the City Room waiting to collect their daughter and granddaughter at the time of the explosion.334 They immediately went to help an injured girl and, later, a second injured girl in the City Room. They assisted with those children’s evacuation from the City Room to the Casualty Clearing Station.335

They stayed with the two injured girls until Philip and Kim Dick were reunited with their daughter and granddaughter around midnight.336 Kim Dick expressed her “upset that it took in excess of an hour before any paramedic or medically trained person attended to the girls”.337

Members of the public who went to the City Room to help

Bethany Crook

Bethany Crook, a nurse, had been at the concert with her daughter, Hope, who was 13 years old at the time.338 They were in the Arena bowl when the bomb was detonated. On entering the Arena concourse and seeing the injured there, Bethany Crook was encouraged by her daughter to help, which she did.339 She left her daughter with staff at the Arena and was taken by another member of staff to the City Room. She entered the City Room at 22:52.340

Bethany Crook went on to assist many in the City Room, including Saffie‑Rose Roussos341 and Georgina Callander.342 Having given assistance in the City Room, Bethany Crook also continued to help many in the Casualty Clearing Station into the early hours of 23rd May 2017.

Bethany Crook described her experience in this way:
“Never had I felt so helpless, lost or alone. All I had before me were my two bare hands, no equipment, some skills, my faith and hope that somewhere there were people trying to get to us to help. But this wasn’t the case. No one was coming and what may have been seconds to you all felt like minutes for me, what were minutes felt like hours, and what were hours felt like an eternity, alone with people and children’s lives literally in my bare hands.”343

Daren Buckley

Daren Buckley attended the concert with his son, who loved music.344 His son enjoyed the concert: he sang every word.345

The bomb detonated as they were walking towards the City Room. There was a huge flash, and the doors to the City Room slammed shut.346

Daren Buckley left his son with a member of staff and went into the City Room to help.347 The CCTV showed he was in there for over 21 minutes.348 Armed police officers told him to leave.349 Daren Buckley initially refused. He said: “[N]obody’s helping, so somebody’s got to help.”350 He stated that the police said it was a crime scene and he had to leave.351

Daren Buckley collected his son from the Arena.352 They were directed to go back through the City Room. They were told it was the safest place to go: the area had been checked.353

Darron Coster

Darron Coster served with the Royal Military Police for 22 years.354 He retired in 2008.355 Through his military service, he was familiar with the aftermath of a bomb explosion. This enabled him to stay calm in a crisis.356 He had basic battlefield first aid training. This included how to apply pressure and, subject to the guidance in force at the time, the use of tourniquets.357

Darron Coster had arranged to collect his son, his son’s girlfriend and a friend from the concert.358 As he arrived at the steps of the raised walkway, he heard an explosion. He stated that it was “a little flash of dust and light”.359 He walked towards it and saw a cloud of dust coming out of the doors leading into the City Room.360 People were evacuating quickly across the raised walkway.361 He received a text message from his son to say they were safe.362

The first action Darron Coster took in the City Room was to shut the doors so that no one else could see in. It was an upsetting scene, and he was aware of the possibility of secondary shooters or explosions.363 He then spoke to various people wearing tabards. They were, he said, in “quite a state”:364 they did not know what to do and did not seem to have any first aid training. Darron Coster told them to get water and check on people. He said to leave those who were not responsive, but to stay with anyone who could communicate and to provide them with reassurance.365

Darron Coster walked around the City Room several times.366 He provided care to a number of people. He applied a tourniquet to a person with a leg injury.367 He used a belt and a handbag strap.368 Another casualty had injuries to his torso and face. Darron Coster spoke to the casualty’s mother on the phone. He provided reassurance that everything would be ok.369 A third casualty was lying on a table by the merchandise stand. That person was already receiving first aid from a police officer. Darron Coster again spoke on the phone. He reassured the casualty’s mother that they looked like they would survive.370 He attempted to assist a man with serious leg injuries, who was sitting down. When they tried to move him, the casualty was in considerable pain, and it was not possible to evacuate him. He stated that they did not have a stretcher.371

After about ten minutes, Darron Coster saw a BTP officer arrive. Darron Coster thought that the police officer identified himself as the Bronze Commander. They spoke and Darron Coster offered any help that was needed. He felt that the police officer was effective and took charge of the situation.372 Four or five further police officers arrived at about the same time, followed shortly afterwards by a medic, with three pips on his shoulder.373 This was the Advanced Paramedic Patrick Ennis. At that point, he thought the “cavalry had arrived”.374

Darron Coster stayed in the City Room helping casualties until between 23:10 and 23:30.375 He provided assistance to many in the City Room. He covered Nell Jones with a jumper.376

Gareth Chapman

Gareth Chapman, a T‑shirt seller, was on Victoria Station concourse when the bomb detonated. His child and the mother of his child were attending the concert.377 As shown in Figure 40, 52 seconds after the explosion, he is captured on the station concourse CCTV running to the City Room.Figure 40: Gareth Chapman running towards the City Room at 22:31:52378

Gareth Chapman entered the City Room via the Fifty Pence staircase less than two minutes later.379 He covered Megan Hurley, Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry with T‑shirts.380 He gave what assistance he could to others.381 He assisted in carrying John Atkinson to the Casualty Clearing Station.382

Michael Buckley

Off‑duty police officer Michael Buckley was waiting in his car near the Arena to collect his daughter when he heard a “loud hollow booming sound”.383 He made his way to the City Room. He provided assistance to injured people. He sought to provide treatment to Sorrell Leczkowski.384 He also sought to provide treatment to Kelly Brewster, with whom he remained for over half an hour.385

Paul Reid

Paul Reid, a poster seller, was outside the City Room just off the Trinity Way link tunnel when he heard the blast.386 He had completed first aid at work training through his employer and had received refresher training about one year prior to the Attack.387 He made a 999 call before he entered the City Room.388 He helped Saffie‑Rose Roussos for over 30 minutes. He returned to the City Room and assisted others.389

Robert Grew

Robert Grew lived in a flat that overlooks the Arena. He was standing outside his flat at the time of the detonation.390 He heard a loud bang from the direction of the Victoria Exchange Complex. He thought it was a train crashing into the buffers at the station. He started to jog over to the station in case people were hurt and there was something he could do to help.391

Robert Grew was an experienced climber and had previous experience with serious fall‑type injuries. He described himself as a “competent first aider” so hoped he might be able to assist.392 On entering the City Room, he described being “not remotely prepared [for] the scene I encountered at the top of the stairs and within the foyer … It was total and utter carnage.”393

Robert Grew sought to help those he could in the City Room, including Lisa Lees394 and Courtney Boyle.395 When she gave evidence, Claire Booth mentioned Robert Grew and the help he gave to her and her daughter Hollie.396 Robert Grew also spoke to John Atkinson in the City Room.397

Sean Gardner

Sean Gardner was waiting to collect his daughter outside the City Room at the time of the detonation.398 He sought to provide assistance to Jane Tweddle.399 It was not until after he had given what assistance he could to Jane Tweddle that he was reunited with his daughter.400

Thomas Owen

Thomas Owen heard the bomb go off when he was with his girlfriend in the Arena bowl.401 They agreed she should go to his home address. He made his way to the City Room along the concourse. Once there, he assisted the injured, including Georgina Callander.402


I have considered above the responses of those organisations based within the Victoria Exchange Complex, and the individuals who found themselves in and around the Victoria Exchange Complex on the night of the Attack. I have pointed out where there were failings in relation to SMG and ETUK’s preparedness and response. Similarly, I have noted the courageous actions taken by members of the public, as well as Northern Rail and TravelSafe staff, present on the night of the Attack.