In 2019, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) estimated that there were 940 victims of the Attack who survived. Of those 940 victims, 337 people were in the City Room at the time of the explosion and a further 92 people were in the immediate vicinity. Of the victims, 237 people were physically injured. A total of 111 people required hospitalisation. A total of 91 people were categorised as being seriously or very seriously injured.
This section of the Report will describe the experience of some of those who were present in the City Room in the aftermath of the explosion and their recollection of the moment the bomb detonated. It will set out their views of the emergency response that followed, where it was effective and where it failed.
These accounts, which are harrowing, show the courage of the human spirit in adversity. For most, if not all, the Attack is something they will never forget. The physical and mental scars will always be there. The testimony each person gave to the Inquiry was moving and powerful. It forms an important part of the record of the events that night. I am very grateful to all those who provided evidence to the Inquiry and for the courage they showed in doing so.
In this section, I summarise and quote from the evidence given, largely without comment. This is to convey the experiences of each witness, through their words and their perspective. This section does not seek to review the experience of every person who was a victim of the Attack. Nor is it a record of the most seriously injured people. It provides the accounts of some of the members of the public in the City Room, many of whom were severely injured. Part 16 in Volume 2‑I contained evidence from others in the City Room, viewed from the perspective of their contribution to the emergency response. Some of those I mentioned in Part 16 in Volume 2‑I were also casualties themselves.
At the end of this section, I consider the experience of those who were present in the City Room and survived the explosion but whose loved ones died in the Attack.
Where appropriate, I have included references to occasions on which a survivor saw SA prior to the explosion.
Before the Attack
Many people described their excitement, and that of their children, at the thought of attending the Ariana Grande concert. For a large number, this was their first ever concert. For many, the ticket was a Christmas or birthday present, often purchased with a second ticket so that a friend could also attend.
In the moments immediately prior to the explosion, the atmosphere in the City Room was described as joyful. Josephine Howarth described a “family atmosphere”, with “lots of parents and grandparents around waiting to pick up children”. She said: “Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves.”
Sarah Gullick described the atmosphere in the City Room as “good natured”. She recalled: “You could hear the music playing and people were coming out of the arena excited with happy faces.”
Janet Capper remembered standing in the City Room, looking back to the main doors to the Arena. She could still hear the music playing. The staff had opened the doors as there were people leaving. She said: “I vividly recall seeing how happy all the children looked as they were leaving.” David Robson recalled spotting his daughter and her friend. He started waving at them. He stated: “I looked at them and they had spotted us and they were running towards us, excitedly.”
What happened next is in stark contrast to those positive emotions. Witnesses heard a loud bang and saw a bright orange flash. Some were knocked to the ground. It was, many said, like nothing they had ever experienced before. Witnesses went on to describe a scene of chaos and devastation in the City Room in the immediate aftermath of the explosion.
After the Attack
Amelia Tomlinson and Lucy Jarvis
Amelia Tomlinson, known as Millie, went to watch the concert with her friend Lucy Jarvis.“really hot”.They left just as the encore ended. They walked across the City Room arm in arm. Millie Tomlinson felt a rush of warm air. She said it was like when you jump in a pool and feel water in your ears. Lucy Jarvis did not hear the explosion but recalled it being
Millie Tomlinson and Lucy Jarvis were separated by the force of the blast.They were able to get up and run back into the Arena bowl. Lucy Jarvis fell over. She could not walk due to an ankle injury. She was losing a lot of blood. Millie Tomlinson tied her jacket around Lucy’s leg to try to stop the bleeding. Lucy Jarvis described having holes in her jeans from the shrapnel and an injury to her arm.
Millie Tomlinson and Lucy Jarvis were helped out of the Arena bowl by SMG and Showsec staff.Lucy Jarvis was evacuated first, and recalled that she was taken to the Arena concourse, where two SMG staff cared for her and bandages were applied. After about 30 minutes, she was put on a stretcher. The two SMG staff stayed with her, even though firearms officers told them to leave. Lucy Jarvis was evacuated over the raised walkway and down in the lift.
A Showsec first aider stayed with Millie Tomlinson while she waited for her family and then drove Millie Tomlinson and her family to Manchester Royal Infirmary.She had injuries to her hand and foot.
Lucy was assessed in the Casualty Clearing Station. Initially, she was triaged as ‘orange’ and wondered what that meant.“quite stressful” and “scary”. People all around her were injured, but she did her best to remain calm. Lucy Jarvis gave evidence to the Inquiry and set out the extent of her injuries. She underwent a 14‑hour operation and was in hospital for eight weeks.She had to wait on the station concourse floor for two hours. During that time she vomited. Her status became ‘red’ and she was taken to an ambulance immediately. Lucy described her experience of waiting as
Andrea Bradbury is a retired counter‑terrorism police officer. She served for 30 years in the police and retired two months before the Attack.“addict”, who loved watching her on television and wearing cat ears. Andrea Bradbury texted her daughter throughout the concert. She said she had “an absolute ball”.She drove her 15‑year‑old daughter with her friend, and her friend’s mother, Barbara Whittaker, to the concert. Andrea Bradbury described her daughter, like so many of those who went, as an Ariana Grande
At 21:52, Andrea Bradbury and Barbara Whittaker can be seen on CCTV on the raised walkway, walking towards the City Room.“big white flash” and said it felt like her legs had been hit by a garden strimmer.They had arranged to meet their daughters on the McDonald’s staircase after the concert. At the time of the explosion, they were near to the merchandise stall, facing the doors to the Arena. There was a massive blast from behind them. Andrea Bradbury described a
Andrea Bradbury said, as a former counter‑terrorism police officer, it was immediately obvious to her that it was a bomb explosion.She did not think at any point that a firearm was involved, nor that it was an active shooter incident. She was concerned about a secondary device and said to Barbara Whittaker that they needed to leave to get to a place of safety. They were confident they had not seen the children come into the City Room before the explosion and crawled to the Arena bowl to find them. In the period of time she was in the City Room, Andrea Bradbury did not see any members of the emergency services.
It was loud inside the Arena, with tannoy messages and alarms.They were able to speak to their children on the phone. The children had left the Arena via Hunts Bank. Andrea Bradbury said she went back through the City Room. She was only there a very short time. She saw three police officers run in but no wider emergency response at that stage. Andrea Bradbury said she telephoned the on‑call counter‑terrorism officer in Lancashire to provide an account from the scene. She did this three times. She felt it was important for senior officers to know what had happened and that there had been a single explosion.
Later that evening, once reunited with her daughter, Andrea Bradbury went to GMP Headquarters (GMP HQ). She went there to tell them what had happened.“Gold”. Assistant Chief Constable Deborah Ford, who was duty Strategic/Gold Commander for GMP on the night, said that this was not her. Andrea Bradbury made concerted efforts, despite her own injuries, to give the police information about the Attack.She spoke to an officer at the security gatehouse and then a police officer who said she was
Andrea Bradbury required medical treatment and arrived at hospital at 00:48 on 23rd May 2017.She has suffered permanent nerve damage to her legs.
Dr Darah Burke is a general practitioner.He went to the concert with his wife, Ann, and their 10‑year‑old daughter. They left the concert as Ariana Grande was singing the last song of her encore. They made their way towards the railway station.
Dr Burke described a sudden, very loud bang as the family made its way through the City Room. He was thrown forwards slightly.His daughter was on the floor, screaming. They were about halfway to the doorway leading out to the raised walkway.
His daughter could not stand up. Dr Burke and his wife carried her out to the raised walkway.Dr Burke and his wife were bleeding from their legs. Dr Burke had shrapnel injuries to his right leg and left buttock. His wife had shrapnel injuries to her thigh and heel. His daughter’s right arm and leg were bleeding heavily, as was the right side of her head. Dr Burke took off his shirt and tied a tourniquet around his daughter’s arm and a coat around her leg.
Dr Burke assessed that his daughter was not in immediate danger and went back into the City Room.“shadows and people were starting to stand and … provide assistance”. Dr Burke returned to the raised walkway where he ensured that an injured person was not in “immediate danger”. He described how emergency responders arrived. He stated that as he and his family were “relatively stable, not in immediate danger”, he directed emergency responders onto the City Room. He recalled police firearms officers pointing their guns at him and his family.Due to his own injuries, he was not able to provide assistance, but described how he saw
He and his family were on the raised walkway for an hour.At some point, they were given a trauma pack with bandages. They were small. There were no major trauma dressings. A doctor in plain clothes re‑dressed his daughter’s wounds. A police officer told them they needed to leave the area. The officer carried his daughter off the raised walkway in his arms. No one triaged them when they were on the walkway or in the station.
His daughter was carried to an area outside Chetham’s School of Music. After about 15 or 20 minutes, they were triaged as a family as P3 casualties.‘P3’ refers to priority three casualties and means casualties whose treatment may be safely delayed for beyond four hours. Dr Burke could not remember anyone giving his daughter a full medical examination.
The family waited at Chetham’s School of Music until about 02:00 on 23rd May 2017. By then, his daughter’s situation had deteriorated. She was cold, shivering and light‑headed. A decision was made to take her to hospital by ambulance.She was reassessed as a P2 casualty. ‘P2’ refers to priority two casualties and means casualties who require surgical or other interventions within 2–4 hours.
Ann Burke accompanied her daughter in the ambulance.Dr Burke went to a different hospital on a bus transporting casualties to hospital. Apart from Dr Burke, there were no medical practitioners on the bus. He arrived at hospital at about 03:00. His daughter arrived at hospital by ambulance at about 02:15.
Dr Burke stated that the response from bystanders and first responders was “rapid, highly professional”. He stated that there were, however, very few stretchers available and that the dressings in packs were inadequate. He stated that they were reassessed frequently, it was slightly chaotic and they were asked the same questions. He stated that new dressings were removed unnecessarily and not everyone seemed to be aware of the triage system.
Janet Senior and Josephine Howarth
Janet Senior drove her sister, Josephine Howarth, and her two young nieces to the concert.The girls were really excited. Janet Senior and her sister arranged to meet the girls in the City Room after the concert.
Janet Senior and Josephine Howarth returned to the City Room shortly before 22:00.They initially sat on the JD Williams staircase and then moved to sit at the top of the McDonald’s staircase. They can be seen on CCTV appearing from those steps and making their way across the City Room at 22:30.
Janet Senior recalled a petrol‑like smell and then the explosion happened.“crack bang” with a flash and that there was pink‑coloured smoke. Janet Senior felt a horrendous impact on her chest and neck. In common with others, she said it was similar to being underwater. She said: “Everything seemed to move in slow motion for a few minutes.” Shrapnel was “buzzing around”.She described it as a
Josephine Howarth described seeing the merchandise stall turn “to shreds”. She knew instantly it was a bomb. She described rolling, orange flames. The explosion was “very bright, very loud”, and debris struck her. Her leg was badly injured, and there was blood gushing from it.
Janet Senior had the presence of mind to telephone 999. She told the operator that there had been an explosion, people had died and they needed help.The connection was lost. Janet Senior later found a voicemail from the emergency services asking for her to call back. The voicemail was timed at 22:44. At about this time, Janet Senior’s nieces also left voicemails saying they were OK.
Janet Senior and Josephine Howarth were both seriously injured.Josephine Howarth told her sister to use her handbag strap as a tourniquet. They both had knowledge of first aid. Janet Senior had done a course as part of her role as a horse‑riding coach. They had both been taught about tourniquets and how to use them to stem severe bleeding.
The CCTV confirms that they were both evacuated from the City Room at 23:14.Janet Senior arrived in the Casualty Clearing Station at 23:18. She was placed in an ambulance at 00:42 and arrived at hospital an hour later at 01:40. Josephine Howarth left the Casualty Clearing Station at 01:34. She was placed in an ambulance at 01:41 and arrived at hospital at 02:08.
Janet Senior said that when she was in the City Room, she was praying for more people to come: “time was clocking on”, people were dying and the room was getting quieter. She vividly recalled seeing a dog and hearing it panting. It was at that point she realised that a bomb had exploded and thought she and her sister were not going to make it home. She said that help was very slow in coming. People were “dotted about”, but she did not think anyone was actually doing a lot. Her experience of the Casualty Clearing Station was that it was “organised chaos”. She felt that no one regularly checked on her, even though she was a P2 casualty. No one gave her pain relief. When the ambulance drove her to hospital, it had to turn around because of road blocks. The satnav did not work.
Josephine Howarth said she slipped in and out of consciousness and only had short clips of memory.“[O]h my God, there’s only three for all these people, where are the paramedics?” She also recalls being very cold, lying on a marble floor without any blankets.She did recall seeing three people giving first aid in the City Room and thinking,
Martin Hibbert went to the concert with his daughter, Eve. It was, he said, “daddy and daughter time”: a happy occasion. The sun was shining. It was a beautiful day. Martin Hibbert said that the concert was amazing. They were in a VIP box.
On CCTV, they can be seen walking into the City Room, from the Arena bowl, at 22:30.“almighty bang”. There was a high‑pitched, piercing sound. Then it felt like a ten‑tonne truck had hit him. He immediately felt he could not breathe and noticed he was losing a lot of blood.They were between five and six metres from SA. Martin Hibbert said that he heard an
At that point, he saw how seriously injured Eve was. It was “like she had been shot through the head”. She was bleeding and gasping for breath. He had shielded Eve from much of the blast, but one bolt got through. Eve suffered a very significant brain injury.
Martin Hibbert said he thought he was watching Eve die. He was not in pain. He did not panic. He had a job to do: make sure Eve survived.“Where is everybody? Where are the paramedics?” He got fed up of being told that they were on the way. He said it seemed like forever.He could feel his body shutting down, but fought to stay awake to ensure that Eve got out. He kept asking:
He saw Eve covered up twice with T‑shirts and posters. People thought she had died.“big frustration”, as he felt that if he had lost consciousness, Eve would have died. He thought that unqualified people were being left to make a life or death choice.Martin Hibbert said he could see she was gasping for breath. Her lips were quivering. People thought her injury was non‑survivable. They were going to cover her up and leave her. It was a
Martin Hibbert was taken out of the City Room at 23:21. Eve was taken out at 23:25.“baffling” that she was not put straight into an ambulance. In those circumstances, he thought it was a miracle that she was still alive. He said he had “just no words for it”.They were both taken to the Casualty Clearing Station. Eve left by ambulance at 00:18. He found it
Martin Hibbert left for hospital at 00:24, 1 hour and 53 minutes after the detonation.“life saving”. A different paramedic might have made a different decision. That was another frustration for him.When he was placed in an ambulance, he was going to be taken to Wythenshawe Hospital. This was a 25‑ to 30‑minute journey. The paramedic, however, went to Salford Royal Hospital, 10 minutes’ away. Martin Hibbert said that decision was
Martin Hibbert noted that the equipment that was available, such as plasters, scissors and bandages, was inadequate and that the responders didn’t have “the right equipment”. He has reflected on whether Eve’s treatment would have been different with more strategic planning and marshalling of vehicles; whether it might have shortened the period to get to hospital.
Martin Hibbert described the life‑changing impact of his injuries. He suffered 22 shrapnel wounds, one to the centre of the back which severed his spinal cord. He has been left paralysed from the waist down.“inspire the world”.Sometimes, he said, the post‑traumatic stress disorder is a greater battle than the spinal injury. He tries to motivate and inspire people. He does everything he had done before and more and is thankful to be alive. Eve was in hospital for ten months. Initially, her family were told that Eve would probably remain in a vegetative state, but she can now eat, talk and walk unassisted. Martin Hibbert said she would
Sarah Nellist was in the City Room to collect her daughter and niece. She arrived at about 21:50 and waited by the box office, near to the exit doors from the Arena. This is where she was at the time of the explosion..She described seeing SA a couple of minutes before the explosion. She thought he looked “a bit odd”
She saw the bomb detonate. It was, she said, like “black powder paint”. There was a high‑pitched noise. The heat was “unbelievable”. The force of the blast knocked her over. Sarah Nellist was able to get up. She ran onto the Arena concourse and was then directed outside. She was able to find her daughter and niece, and they went to their car. They did not see any paramedics but were assisted by members of the public.
Suzanne Atkins took her daughter and her daughter’s friend to the concert.She described how the children were happy and excited as they went into the Arena. They arranged to meet at the doors to the City Room after the concert. Suzanne Atkins went back to the City Room with her mother at about 22:20 to collect the children. At the time of the explosion, she was standing against railings by the merchandise stall.
She described seeing SA walk across the City Room. He was about a metre in front of her. She said he was “stooped and had a bit of a swagger about him”. He looked out of place in a crowd of young girls and families. She said that SA looked like he was going somewhere, but from the direction he was going, he could not have been going anywhere.
Suzanne Atkins described seeing an orange flash from the explosion. It felt like something had rolled into her that was burning her legs. The impact sent her backwards.She found her mother on the floor and quickly took her out to the raised walkway. Suzanne Atkins said she went onto autopilot. She went to find her daughter. She recalled someone saying there had been another explosion. She thought she had lost her daughter and needed to get into the Arena to find her. She scoured the City Room.
After some time, she was able to contact her daughter by mobile phone, but it kept cutting out.“It felt like no one was coming … and we had to deal with it ourselves.” Suzanne Atkins saw a police officer, who told her to drive her mother to hospital. The police officer said people had been shot. Suzanne Atkins said to the officer that it was an explosion.She was trying to escort her mother away from the City Room and speak to her daughter. It was a frightening situation. Suzanne Atkins explained:
Eventually, Suzanne Atkins was reunited with her daughter outside the station.
Family of those who died
I heard oral evidence from a number of those bereaved by this atrocity who were at or near the City Room at 22:31. I am extremely grateful to them for the courage and dignity that they displayed when recounting their terrible experience of the Attack and its aftermath. What follows is a summary of that evidence.
Paul Price, partner of Elaine McIver
Paul Price and Elaine McIver were in the City Room to collect his daughter and her friend. As the concert ended, he recalled that a wave of people came out of the exit doors into the City Room. He was seriously injured by the explosion. He saw Elaine McIver lying about three or four metres away from him, but he could not reach her because of his own injuries. Paul Price was evacuated from the City Room at 23:18.
Claire Booth, sister of Kelly Brewster
Claire Booth went to the concert with her daughter, Hollie, and her sister, Kelly.Claire Booth said the drive to Manchester was a lovely one. Kelly and Kelly’s partner Ian had just had an offer accepted on a house. Kelly and Kelly’s partner Ian talked about all the plans for the move, the layout for a future nursery and a holiday they were planning to Disneyland.
It was a good concert. They all enjoyed it. Claire Booth described “loads of little girls just dancing”. They left their seats as the last song ended, walking in a line. Claire Booth was at the front, Hollie in the middle and Kelly at the back. They went into the City Room and started to walk towards the Trinity Way link tunnel.
As they passed the box office windows, there was a huge yellow flash. Claire Booth described it as like a “blowtorch”. It was really loud and the hottest heat she had ever felt. The force of the blast pushed her into the box office wall. Claire Booth described the room then going momentarily silent. It took a moment to focus, but then she was able to see shrapnel on the floor. At that point, she knew it was a bomb and could see some of its components. She was worried about a second explosion or someone shooting them.
Claire Booth described looking back to find Kelly and Hollie. Kelly was lying on her side. Hollie was leaning on her hands as if about to get up. Hollie called out.Claire Booth explained how she picked Hollie up and started to run out of the City Room, towards the Fifty Pence staircase. She called for Kelly to follow them. Claire Booth only stopped when Hollie said she was bleeding. At that point, she realised that Kelly was not with them.
Claire Booth described the scene as one of chaos and panic. People were screaming. Some were running and others were still on the floor. Hollie was very upset. Claire Booth was torn: she wanted to care for her daughter but also find her sister. She begged people to look after Hollie. People kept running past. No one helped. Claire Booth realised she was on her own. She ran back into the City Room and found Kelly was still lying on the floor where they had left her, as if she were asleep. She did not look injured. Claire Booth described kicking at her legs, shouting at her to get up. Kelly did not respond at all.
Claire Booth went back to Hollie. She used her daughter’s mobile phone and called Hollie’s father, Dale, to tell him what had happened. He told her to go back and check on Kelly. Claire Booth went back and stood over her, screaming her name over and over. Dale said to check Kelly’s pulse. It was only at this point, as she leaned over Kelly, that Claire Booth realised she was also injured. Hollie was screaming for her. Claire Booth described her sense of hopelessness. She said “sorry” to Kelly over and over and walked away.
Some help started to arrive. Someone told her to elevate Hollie’s legs. Claire Booth was by this time concerned about her own injuries. She did not know if she was dying. She asked a police officer if her throat had been cut. She was told that she had a facial injury. This made her calmer. She was then able to focus on getting help for her sister and Hollie. Claire Booth spoke to her own mother when her mother rang Hollie’s mobile phone. Claire Booth told her mother that Kelly had died.
Showsec staff tried to help. One person gave her a T‑shirt to hold against Hollie’s leg. When she pressed it down, another part of Hollie’s jeans started to go a deeper red with more blood. She was given another T‑shirt but noticed another hole. Hollie’s legs were covered in holes. Claire Booth begged the Showsec staff not to let Hollie die.
When asked about the emergency response, Claire Booth said: “Every minute in the foyer felt like an hour.” She told anyone who approached her to offer their help, to go to Kelly. She could see no one was staying to give first aid, and she could not understand why. Nobody came back to tell her anything. Eventually, an off‑duty police officer did stay with Kelly. He moved her and checked her pulse.
Hollie needed urgent attention. She had started to go quiet and close her eyes. She spoke very slowly and said she wanted to sleep. Claire Booth described calling out to Emergency Training UK staff.
The room suddenly seemed full of police officers, all in different uniforms. At one point, she was told that Kelly had a faint pulse but did not hear anything further after this. Someone helped to cut Hollie’s jeans, and it was clear her legs were very badly injured. Claire Booth said it felt like hours had gone by. She repeatedly asked where the ambulances were. She could hear sirens. She was told they were coming but then they would never arrive. At one point, firearms officers asked her to leave. She was asked to carry Hollie, which was impossible.
Claire Booth described how it did not make any sense that ambulances were not arriving. Claire Booth said she was desperate. Police officers were helping to apply pressure to Hollie’s legs. They found even more injuries at the top of her legs. She did not think Hollie was going to get out of the City Room alive. Dale telephoned and said he and Ian had arrived from Sheffield but could not get through the police cordon. He said he could see ambulances. Claire Booth said that she felt relieved because she hoped that Ian could stay with Kelly, so that Kelly would not be alone. Claire Booth said, at around this time, the atmosphere in the room started to change: things were happening. A paramedic saw them. It was very quick. Hollie was given a card with a number two on it. Claire Booth was given a number three.
It became their turn to be taken out of the City Room to the Casualty Clearing Station. On the CCTV, this can be seen at 23:29. Hollie was put on a metal crowd barrier and Claire Booth in a wheelchair.“very scary, incredibly painful”. She was not fastened to the barrier. She had to grip on. It felt like she would slide off. Claire Booth said it was a “horrific way” for anybody with injuries to be moved.Hollie described the experience as
Claire Booth and Hollie arrived in the Casualty Clearing Station at 23:31.Claire Booth described how lost she felt there. It was cold and bright. They had no blankets, but someone gave them a curtain to wrap up in and keep warm. There were lots of injured people. She described how it felt. It was chaotic. There was no plan. It seemed that no one knew who would be treated next. It felt like a long time before anyone checked Hollie. Hollie was reassessed as a priority, P1 patient, but it still took a long time for her to be taken to hospital. They were taken to hospital at 01:59 on 23rd May 2017, 3 hours and 28 minutes after the explosion. Both Claire Booth and Hollie received treatment for their injuries and were in‑patients for weeks after the Attack. They underwent a number of operations. Hollie had lost so much blood that she needed a blood transfusion at hospital.
Reflecting on what happened, Claire Booth said: “I remember feeling like we had been abandoned … I could hear the sirens so close by but help never came.” She stressed the need to educate the public that in a situation such as this, medical help might not always come immediately. Claire Booth said if she had known that, she would not have sat and waited for help to arrive.
Bradley Hurley, brother of Megan Hurley
Bradley Hurley attended the concert with his 15‑year‑old sister, Megan Hurley. His sister was a big Ariana Grande fan, and they were both excited to see the show.“really fun night”. They left as soon as the concert finished, and as they approached the doors to the City Room Megan Hurley said: “What an experience that was.”Bradley Hurley described it as a
Bradley Hurley said they were in the City Room for about five seconds before his vision went completely white. There was a high‑pitched, piercing sound. It was like a mosquito. His whole body felt extremely hot. He thought he might have collapsed or had a heart attack.
After the immediate shock, Bradley Hurley realised he was on the floor. He tried to get up but knew straightaway that his legs were broken. He lay on his back, propped up on his elbows. His legs were bent and his skin was burning all over. His vision was blurred and his hearing distorted, like being underwater.
Bradley Hurley described looking at his sister. He knew straight away that she had died. She was not breathing. He tried, but couldn’t find a pulse. Bradley Hurley said at that moment he felt strangely calm: he felt an acceptance about what had happened and that there was nothing he could do to change it.
He knew it had been a terrorist attack: a bomb with shrapnel.They were a few metres away from the seat of the explosion.
Bradley Hurley found it difficult to put things in a precise order, but he described how the City Room quickly descended into chaos. There were screams of pain from every direction. The room was dimly lit and smoky, and he had never felt so alone or helpless. He could not move and was bleeding heavily. There were other people in a similar situation lying around, but he did not have the words to speak to them. He recalled it being “the worst imaginable situation”.
Bradley Hurley remembered people coming over to him. One person wrapped their belt around his leg as a makeshift tourniquet. To him, it seemed like the right thing to do. Someone else later joined him and told him to take off the tourniquet. They said he could lose his leg. Bradley Hurley said he was “conflicted”, but the tourniquet was taken off.
Someone was handing out Ariana Grande merchandise to cover those who had died. Someone covered his sister.
More police arrived, and Bradley Hurley described trying to get their attention. He did not feel like anyone checked him properly. No one cut off his jeans to see how bad his injuries were.“uncomfortable” and “scary”. From the CCTV, he later knew that North West Ambulance Service Advanced Paramedic Patrick Ennis assessed him at 23:06. This lasted ten seconds, but he had no memory of it.He felt helpless, lying in pain on the floor, unable to move. The feeling of large police boots walking around close to his face was
The police reassured him that the paramedics were on the way, but they also seemed to be frustrated and confused that the ambulance personnel were not in the room.At some point, he was given a wristband with a number two on it.
Bradley Hurley said that at some stage he was able to speak to his parents on Megan Hurley’s mobile phone. He told his father that there had been a bomb and where he was in the City Room. He said that his sister was with him. Bradley Hurley’s father told him that he was going to come to the Arena and to stay there. Bradley Hurley also described speaking to his mother. He told her that Megan Hurley had died. It was the worst thing he had ever had to do.
Bradley Hurley’s father can be seen on the CCTV in the City Room with Bradley Hurley and Megan Hurley at 22:56.“mad” that he was the first person to suggest it. The people using the defibrillator seemed to be in a state of shock and panic. His father was constantly asking for medical help. Bradley Hurley said that the help they expected never came. The defibrillator did not help Megan Hurley. They were in a major city, and he could not fathom how few resources there seemed to be.At that point, some men began to assess Megan Hurley. One of them thought she had a pulse. Bradley Hurley recalled that he suggested they get a defibrillator. He thought it was
Bradley Hurley’s father left the City Room for a short time, but returned at 23:20 with his wife. Bradley Hurley described how hard it was seeing his parents confronted with what they saw. They were in shock. It was something he will never forget.By this time, Bradley Hurley said, although his skin was still burning, he was getting very cold. His teeth were chattering. He was covered with a green plastic sheet. His parents were continually asking where the paramedics were. There were police all around him. He was continually knocked, which was very painful. His mum asked for him to be given oxygen and pain relief.
Bradley Hurley praised an officer, Police Constable (PC) Lauren Moore, who stayed with him. She reassured him and asked him about normal life. It meant a lot.
Bradley Hurley’s parents became frustrated with the speed of the evacuation. His father found a fence panel, but passed it on to another casualty who needed it. Bradley Hurley recalled the pain and discomfort of that person as they were put onto the makeshift stretcher. It made him scared.His father found another barrier, and it was finally his turn to be moved. The pain from being moved onto the barrier was excruciating. He screamed and swore. The barrier was uncomfortable and unsteady. Every step would send a jolt of pain. He thought he would slide off.
CCTV showed Bradley Hurley being taken out of the City Room at 23:39. He said he felt sick at leaving Megan.Bradley Hurley explained how he struggles to understand why he was the last survivor taken out of the City Room, despite being assessed as a P2 patient. He was on the floor of the City Room for one hour and eight minutes.
Bradley Hurley arrived at the Casualty Clearing Station at 23:42.“touch the sides” and just made him sick.He was placed on the floor. It was freezing cold. At some point, he was covered with a foil blanket. It felt like he was back to square one, waiting for treatment again. An off‑duty nurse, Bethany Crook, cut off his jeans up to his thighs and took off his shoes. It was the first time it felt that someone was taking charge. She assessed him properly. He had 11 large holes in his leg and a large hole in his foot. He was given pain relief and the anticoagulant tranexamic acid (TXA). He recalled that it did not seem to
At 02:44 on 23rd May 2017, Bradley Hurley was taken from the Casualty Clearing Station to an ambulance. He arrived at hospital at 02:51, more than four hours after the detonation.He was taken straight to theatre for an operation. His injuries were extensive, with shrapnel injuries to his legs, feet and jaw. His legs had external braces for six months. The impact on him, physically and mentally, has been significant. The loss of his sister affects his family every day.
As someone who experienced it, Bradley Hurley did not believe that the emergency response to the Attack worked well. If his parents had not been there, he fears that his extraction would have taken even longer.
Lisa Roussos, mother of Saffie-Rose Roussos
Lisa Roussos described how Saffie‑Rose was a big fan of Ariana Grande and was so happy to be going to the concert.Lisa Roussos accompanied her daughters, Saffie‑Rose and Ashlee, to the concert and remembers how Saffie‑Rose danced all night.
As the concert came to an end, Lisa Roussos said she decided to stay for the encore. She had considered leaving to miss the crowds, but did not want to do that to Saffie‑Rose. After the final song of the encore, they made their way out of the Arena bowl. Ashlee was in front. Saffie‑Rose was pulling her mother’s left hand, eager to see her father and brother. Lisa Roussos’s last memory of Saffie‑Rose before the explosion was of being pulled along by her, their arms outstretched.
There was a big thud, and Lisa Roussos recalled lying on the floor. There was a muffled sound of white noise. She knew something serious had happened and that it was probably a bomb.“Saffie”. Lisa Roussos said she wanted to keep her eyes open, to stay alive, so that she could make sure someone was taking care of Saffie‑Rose.Lisa Roussos could remember trying to move her body, her arms and legs, but nothing would move. She forced herself to stay awake. She thought help would come soon, but it felt like hours before anyone approached her. When they did, she was really breathless and could only say
The next thing Lisa Roussos remembers was the feeling of being moved: her body being thrown from side to side, possibly from being taken out of the City Room on a stretcher. She tried to give someone her age, but because she was so breathless she gave the wrong age. Her breathing was very shallow and she could only take short breaths. She just wanted to close her eyes and give up.
She could then recall being at hospital, her jeans being cut off and someone removing her jewellery. That was her last memory.She was later told that while unconscious she had been assessed as having a very small chance of survival, and amputation had been discussed.
Lisa Roussos was in a coma for about two‑and‑half weeks and underwent a number of operations as a result of the injuries she sustained.“just knew” when she woke up that Saffie‑Rose had died. She wanted to go and be with Saffie‑Rose to look after her.When she woke up from the coma, her husband Andrew was holding her hand. He asked how she was feeling. He did not mention Saffie‑Rose. Lisa Roussos said her last thought before she went into the coma was about Saffie‑Rose, and she
Andrew Roussos, father of Saffie-Rose Roussos
Andrew Roussos went with his son, Xander, to collect his wife, Lisa, daughter, Saffie‑Rose, and step‑daughter, Ashlee, from the concert. He spoke to Lisa at 22:29 to check where he should wait. As Ariana Grande was about to do an encore, he decided to find a parking space. Andrew Roussos was not present in the City Room at the time of the explosion but he was in the vicinity. His evidence relates to the adequacy of the emergency response and I have therefore included a summary of his evidence in this section.
A few minutes later, after he parked in Cathedral Gardens, Andrew Roussos described hearing screams and seeing hysterical children running away. He tried to stop people to find out what had happened. Three women told him that either a bomb had exploded or a balloon had popped causing everyone to panic.
Andrew Roussos decided he needed to find his family. Together with Xander and the family dog, they walked towards the Arena. As they turned onto Hunts Bank, the first person he saw was his step‑daughter, Ashlee, on the floor near to Chetham’s School of Music. She was stable, but injured and confused. He knew then that this was serious and feared that Lisa and Saffie‑Rose would also be injured.
There were two trainee doctors with Ashlee, who confirmed that a bomb had gone off. This was about 22:50. A police officer advised Andrew Roussos that everyone was out of the Arena and that he should go from person to person to see if he could find Saffie‑Rose and his wife, Lisa. He could see hundreds of people now. Many were injured on the floor. The majority were children. He was frightened but trying to keep calm and not panic, for Xander’s sake. It took about 30 or 40 minutes for Andrew Roussos to get to the bottom end of Hunts Bank.
Andrew Roussos continued to search around the perimeter of the Victoria Exchange Complex for Saffie‑Rose and Lisa. Unable to find them, at around 23:45 he went back to check on Ashlee. The trainee doctors agreed to stay with her, and he contacted her boyfriend who was also travelling to Manchester. They agreed to meet at Manchester Royal Infirmary to see how Ashlee’s boyfriend could help with finding Lisa and Saffie‑Rose before he continued on to be with Ashlee.
Andrew Roussos waited at the hospital for hours. He gave the staff the details for Saffie‑Rose and Lisa and felt a growing sense of “panic”. Andrew Roussos said he called the helpline many times, but they were not able to give him any information. One hospital did not appear to know what was happening at another. They told him they would call back, but never did.
At about 04:00, a friend found out that Lisa was at Salford Royal Hospital. Andrew Roussos arrived there after 04:30. He was taken into a private room and told of the extent of his wife’s injuries. Lisa had been airlifted to Wythenshawe Hospital, which was better placed to treat her, but her chances of survival were small. Salford Royal Hospital had no news about Saffie‑Rose. Andrew Roussos said that knowing that Ashlee was injured, then hearing of the serious injuries suffered by his wife, but still not knowing where Saffie‑Rose was, was “indescribable”.
Andrew Roussos drove to Wythenshawe Hospital to see Lisa. It was about a 40‑minute drive. Lisa was so badly injured that she was put into an induced coma. Andrew Roussos said he broke down when he saw her. At 08:00, he spoke to a police officer at the hospital and asked for help to find Saffie‑Rose. He gave the police officer a photo. At about 12:30 on 23rd May 2017, the officer returned and told him that Saffie‑Rose had been killed in the explosion.
As a father, he wished he could have protected Saffie‑Rose more. Andrew Roussos described the emergency response to the Attack as “shameful” and “inadequate”.