Father of 8-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos refuses to accept apology from emergency services after damning report

3 November 2022, 20:09

Saffie-Rose Roussos's father has refused to accept an apology from the emergency services
Saffie-Rose Roussos's father has refused to accept an apology from the emergency services. Picture: Family/Inquiry/Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The father of eight-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos has refused to accept the apology from emergency services after a report found there was a 'possibility' she could have survived the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing if the response had been better.

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Saffie was the youngest of 22 victims when Salman Abedi detonated a bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22.

A damning report released on Thursday found emergency services repeated mistakes made in the response to the 7/7 bombings.

Whilst it said that Saffie's death "highly likely [to be] inevitable", it did say there was a "remote possibility" she could have survived "with different treatment and care".

In a press conference this evening, emergency services said they were 'truly sorry' for the failings - but Saffie's dad Andrew Roussos has refused to accept their statements and said he believed his daughter would have survived had she received better care.

Saffie was one of 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena bombing
Saffie was one of 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena bombing. Picture: Family/Inquiry

"We know Saffie as a person - she would do everything she possibly could to stay alive, and she did," he told Sky News.

"She was alive nearly an hour after detonation.

"She was talking, she was sipping water, she understood what was happening."

He went on: "I don't accept apologies.

"You know, what I do expect is for them to be honest and put their hands up, particularly throughout the inquiry, and admit to the failings because without admitting to the failings, how can you change for the future?

"Now I've heard for the last two years, excuse after excuse, that that night went well - but it didn't go well."

When he was asked if he believed his daughter would have survived with better care, he said: "100 per cent."

Andrew Roussos carries his daughter's coffin in July 2017
Andrew Roussos carries his daughter's coffin in July 2017. Picture: Alamy

Sir John Saunders started a public inquiry into the bombings in 2019.

His findings have been divided into a three-part report.

The first report looked into the security for the arena, the second part – published today – looked into the emergency service report and the third will look into whether it could have been prevented.

In today’s publication Mr Saunders concluded that there was "only a remote possibility that [Saffie] could have survived with different treatment and care".

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Read more: Two victims of Manchester Arena bomb including Saffie, 8, 'could have been saved' as emergency services slammed

"On the evidence that I have accepted, what happened to Saffie-Rose Roussos represents a terrible burden of injury," he said.

"It is highly likely that her death was inevitable even if the most comprehensive and advanced medical treatment had ben initiated immediately after injury."

The scathing report also confirmed that John Atkinson, a 28-year-old healthcare worker, could have been saved.

He said that Mr Atkinson’s injuries were 'survivable' but that he did not receive the 'treatment and care' that he should have.

Stepfather of Manchester bombing victim shares feelings on report

Following the publication, his family said: "It is now clear beyond any doubt that on the night of the bombing John was totally failed at every stage, both by the private medical providers at the Arena, ETUK and the emergency services.

"As the report says, timely medical treatment to stop or slow John's catastrophic bleeding and get him to hospital would have saved him.

"He was left, dying, without his dignity, on the floor when it should have been obvious to medics that he needed to get straight to hospital.

Read more: Manchester Arena bombing: Security failings led to 'missed opportunities' to save lives

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"As we know from witnesses, John kept asking if he was going to die. John must have known that he was dying and the pain that causes us is too great to put into words. This should simply never have been allowed to happen.

"The apology from North West Ambulance Service means nothing unless they act rapidly on this report to ensure that no family ever has to go through this horrific experience again."