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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

First responder to Manchester Arena attack describes final moments he held dying Saffie in his arms

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EIGHT-year-old terror victim Saffie Roussos called out for her mum as she was held by a first-aider in her dying moments.

Distraught Paul Reid, 43, tried to reassure the little girl that she would be OK as they waited for help amid the carnage in the Manchester Arena.

In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Mr Reid said he dashed back in to look for the terrorist after he heard the bomb at the end of the Ariana Grande gig on Monday night.

Instead he found himself comforting the injured strewn across the floor, including little Saffie, who he wrapped in his coat before helping onto a makeshift stretcher.

He discovered the following day that she had died in hospital from her devastating injuries — the youngest of the 22 killed in the atrocity.

In floods of tears the forklift truck driver said yesterday: “She was a dying little girl and she just wanted her mum. It was devastating.”

Dad Paul had been at the concert and was one of the first to dial emergency services after hearing evil Salman Abedi blow himself up in the foyer.

He recalled: “The concert was just about to end and I was at the bottom of the stairs at the main exit. Then I just heard a boom. I could see dust, smoke and stuff flying around.

“I ran back up the stairs and I was actually looking for a terrorist. I knew it had been a bomb.

Paul then wept as he described seeing a dying teenage girl just a few feet away.

He said: “She was trembling all over.”

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Paul then told how he saw Saffie, who had been at the concert with her mum Lisa and an older sister.

She was lying 15ft from an exit door wearing a T-shirt, leggings and ankle boots. He said: “I saw the little girl was conscious and I said, ‘What’s your name?’

“I thought she said Sophie. When I asked her how old she was she said she was eight.

“I wanted to keep her talking and asked her if she had enjoyed the concert but then I realised she was having difficulty breathing.

“She said, ‘Where’s my mum?’ I said to her, ‘I don’t know but we are going to find her in a minute. Don’t worry. We are going to sort it out. You are going to be all right’.

“The little girl’s legs were mangled in a bad way and she had a big round hole above her hip but there was no blood coming out of it. She also had a big head injury to her temple. She said, ‘What’s happened?’ What could I say to her? I just tried to reassure her, then one of the paramedics came.

“She cut the girl’s trousers off, did a quick assessment and told me to stop with her.

“The girl kept trying to fall asleep but I knew I had to keep her awake and conscious. I was stroking her face and saying, ‘Come on Sophie stay awake. You’re going to be all right. They are coming to take you away in a minute.’

“But she kept drifting into unconsciousness. I cannot bear to think about it. Then she started shivering and told me she felt cold. I took my coat off and put it over her but she was still shaking a bit.

“Once we got outside one of the police flags down an ambulance. We gently put her in and she is still alive with her eyes open. That’s the last time I saw her.”

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Paul rang the police when he arrived back at 4am. He recalled: “I asked the operator what happened to a little girl called Sophie but no one could tell me anything.”

However, when he saw the news reports the next day he recognised one of the first victims as the girl he had tried to save.

Paul said: “I saw the pictures and knew it was the child I called Sophie. We did our best to save her but in the end no one could.

“I only knew her for a few minutes but I will never forget her.”

SECOND YOUNGEST VICTIM NAMED

A young girl missing after Monday’s attack is the latest confirmed victim.

Eilidh MacLeod’s parents released a statement paying tribute to the 14-year-old, saying “words cannot express how we feel at losing our darling Eilidh”.

She was the second youngest victim in the attacks.

Eilidh went missing with her friend Laura MacIntyre, who was found in hospital with serious injuries.

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TEENAGE COUPLE ‘MEANT TO BE TOGETHER’

A teenage couple killed in the attacks, Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19, from South Shields in northeast England, were inseparable, their grieving families said.

“They were perfect in every way for each other and were meant to be” and were “beautiful inside and out,” the joint statement said.

“They lived to go to new places together and explore different cities. They wanted to be together forever and now they are.”

FAMILIES FRANTIC SEARCH END IN LOSS

Olivia Campbell, 15, was at the concert with her friend Adam, who survived and received hospital treatment. Olivia’s family spent Tuesday frantically searching for her and in the early hours of Wednesday Charlotte Campbell confirmed on Facebook her daughter had died in the blast.

Alongside a photo of Olivia she wrote: “RIP my darling precious gorgeous girl Olivia Campbell taken far too soon go sing with the angels and keep smiling mummy loves you so much.”

Olivia’s devastated mother, Charlotte, broke down at a vigil in tragic scenes, comforted by Olivia’s stepfather, Paul Hodgson.

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REALITY TV STAR NAMED AS VICTIM

Martyn Hett was a former reality TV star who’s campaign to help his mum’s knitting stall went viral last year.

The 29-year-old has been named as one of the 22 victims of the suicide nail bombing, after a high-profile social media appeal to find him led by his family and comedian Jason Manford.

Martyn hit the headlines in November last year — when he made his hardworking mum a viral sensation. He appeared on the programs Come Dine with Me and Tattoo Fixers.

After news of the bombing at Manchester Arena, Martyn’s friends, including comedian Jason Manford, had taken to social media to appeal for information about him before his boyfriend, Russell Hayward, announced the tragic news on Twitter.

He wrote: “We got the news last night that our wonderful iconic and beautiful Martyn didn’t survive. He left this world exactly how he lives, centre of attention. I’m in a really bad way so please forgive me if I don’t reply. Thankfully I have his wonderful family and amazing friends to keep each other strong. I love you Martyn. I always will.”

ANOTHER YOUNG LIFE CUT SHORT

Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, of Leeds, died after the attack in which her mother and grandmother were also hospitalised.

Michael Healey, Sorrell’s grandfather, said in a statement issued through Greater Manchester Police he said he was “absolutely heartbroken” to confirm she was killed in the Manchester attack.

He said his wife Pauline remains in intensive care and Sorrell’s mother Samantha is recovering from surgery “as she tries to make sense of the devastating loss of her daughter”.

In a tragic twist, the teenager, her mum and her grandmother did not even attend the concert but were there to collect her sister, who was not injured, the BBC reported.

“Sorrell was only 14, but she was our rock, she kept us all grounded,” said Mr Healey. “She was such a clever, talented, creative girl, there was nothing she couldn’t do.

“She was going to be an architect and wanted to go to Columbia University in New York to study so that she could build hotels with slides coming out of the rooms and so that she could build her mum a house.”

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“Fourteen and not even lived your life yet. You’ll be sadly missed by us all,” a friend, Mark Burton, wrote on Facebook.

Sorrell’s aunt Stacie Healey wrote on a fundraising page for the young girl’s family: “[Pauline] was seriously hurt, she has had a 15 hour surgery to remove shrapnel from her body and has compound wounds to her arms and legs, she is still not awake from this, we are a long way from home and my dad will not leave her side, he is self employed and will not work for months,” she wrote.

“Above all this he and my mum lost their granddaughter Sorrell in the attack, please please please donate so he does not have to worry about money as well.”

Allerton High School headteacher Elaine Silson described Sorrell as “a delightful member of the school community”. “Our staff and students are very upset,” she wrote in a letter to parents.

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‘FAMILY WAS HER LIFE’

The family of Michelle Kiss is “devastated” after learning of her death following Monday’s terror attack.

She was a loving wife to Tony and mother to Dylan, Elliot and Millie, her family said in a statement.

“Family was her life and we are all obviously devastated by her loss. She has been taken away from us, and all that love her, in the most traumatic way imaginable,” they said.

“We hope to draw from the courage and strength she showed in her life to get through this extremely difficult time.”

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Online Source: news.com.au

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