Saffie-Rose’s mother urged 999 and security officials to admit their “failings”. (Image: Getty)
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Saffie-Rose Roussos, the youngest person to die, was among 22 people killed in the terror atrocity. Hundreds more were hurt when terrorist Salman Abedi blew himself up at a concert by Ariana Grande. Saffie’s father Andrew said yesterday his “poor little girl hung in there for someone to come and help her. “What she got was a bloody advertising board and untrained people”. He told the inquiry into the blast: “I have never heard so many excuses, so much justification that the response…was somewhat acceptable.”
Failures “The response on that night was shameful and inadequate. The people that excuse it should feel shame. The response of the security services should go down in history as one of the worst failures from start to finish. That’s what we should learn.”
Saffie-Rose’s mother also urged 999 and security officials to admit their “failings”. Lisa Roussos, 53, said yesterday: “I want to thank those who tried to help Saffie. 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?”
Mrs Roussos said Saffie was “jumping for joy” when she was given a ticket for the concert as a Christmas present, and was “dancing all the way through” it on May 22 2017. Saffie, of Leyland, Lancs, was just 16ft away from the bomb, holding her mother’s hand as they walked with elder sister Ashlee. Mrs Roussos said: “She was like pulling me because she wanted to go outside and see her dad and [brother] Xander.”
She heard a “big thud” and “muffled white noise” and found herself on the floor unable to move before someone asked her name. “I was really breathless and all I managed to say was ‘Saffie’. I felt so tired and just wanted to go to sleep.”
Mr Roussos did not know where Saffie was until a policeman told him the following lunchtime she had died. Saffie suffered serious leg injuries but spoke before she was carried out of the wrecked foyer on an advert hoarding and put in an ambulance.
She died soon after reaching hospital – an hour after the blast – but experts disagree whether Saffie might have survived with different care.
Mrs Roussos, in a coma for weeks, said: “I remember waking up and Andrew was sat next to me and he held my hand. I thought ‘Why is he not mentioning Saffie?’… and I just knew.” She was in hospital for three months and has had many operations, with more surgery to come. The inquiry continues.
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