John Atkinson

A carer for young autistic adults, John Atkinson received tickets to the Ariana Grande concert as a Christmas present. He attended with his lifelong friend Gemma O’Donnell and they had a fantastic time.

When Salman Abedi detonated his suicide bomb, 28-year-old Atkinson was approximately six metres away in the City Room of the Manchester Arena. He suffered serious injuries, principally to his legs, but attempted to drag himself across the floor of the City Room to seek help. He left an obvious trail of blood behind him.

The first member of the public to call 999 to report the attack was advised to apply a tourniquet to Atkinson’s right leg, which he did during the call using his wife’s belt. In order to help stem blood loss, police-issue “leg restraints” were also applied around the top of both of his legs approximately 43 minutes after the explosion.

He remained in the City Room for 47 minutes after the attack and was not treated by paramedics during that time. He was conscious throughout, speaking to those helping him.

John Atkinson
John Atkinson. Photograph: Facebook

At 11.16pm, he was placed on to an advertising hoarding and dragged from the City Room. Soon, the hoarding broke and he was lifted on to a metal barrier and carried towards the casualty clearing station at 11.22pm, where paramedics were treating the injured.

At 11.47pm, while still waiting in the clearing station, he went into cardiac arrest. NWAS paramedics and a doctor gave CPR and he was put into an ambulance. When he arrived at Manchester Royal Infirmary at 12.06am he was again in cardiac arrest. He was taken to the resuscitation room and given advanced life support. This was unsuccessful and he was declared dead by the treating clinicians at 12.24am on 23 May 2017.

Two experts gave evidence to an inquiry into the atrocity, which the chairman accepted, that concluded that his death was caused by the leg injuries, which he could have survived if given prompt and expert medical treatment.

Saffie‐Rose Roussos

Eight-year-old Saffie‐Rose Roussos also received tickets to the concert as a Christmas gift. She was ecstatic to finally be going to see her idol along with her mother, Lisa, and big sister, Ashlee.

Lisa told the inquiry she remembered her daughter as a “pure, gentle, beautiful soul who touched people’s hearts with her kindness and infected people with her smile”.

As the concert came to an end, Lisa said, she decided to stay for the encore. She had considered leaving to miss the crowds, but did not want to disappoint her youngest daughter. After the final song, 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, who were picking the girls up. Lisa Roussos’s last memory of Saffie‐Rose before the explosion was of being pulled along by her, their arms outstretched.

Saffie-Rose was approximately five metres away from Abedi when he detonated his deadly nail bomb. Witnesses recalled seeing her briefly pushing herself up off the floor with her arms and raise her left arm in the immediate aftermath.

She remained in the City Room for a period of 26 minutes. During that time, she drifted in and out of consciousness and was able to give her name to a member of the public. Members of the public, Arena first aiders, Showsec security staff and police officers – but not paramedics – helped her but no tourniquets or leg splints were applied to her injuries.

At 10.56pm, while she was still conscious, police officers and two members of the public placed Saffie‐Rose on to an advertising hoarding and she was placed in an ambulance. At 11.17pm, 46 minutes after the detonation, the ambulance left for the Royal Manchester children’s hospital. She was declared dead at 11.40pm.

Expert evidence suggested her death was caused by the multiple injuries. Whether those injuries made her death inevitable was “a complex issue”, said Sir John Saunders, the inquiry chair, who concluded there was “only a remote possibility that she could have survived with different treatment and care.”

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