County is counting the human cost of atrocity
GREATER Manchester has been counting the human cost of the worst atrocity to hit Britain in a decade.
A total of 22 people - including an eight-year-old girl - are confirmed dead after a bomb went off at American pop star Ariana Grande’s show on Monday night.
Around 120 were confirmed injured - some to a life-threatening degree - when a suicide bomber detonated a device at the end of the concert, which was packed with children and teenagers.
On Tuesday Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, as police staged two dramatic raids at addresses in south Manchester, arrested one suspect and appealed for witness footage which might provide vital clues.
In one raid - at Elsmore Road in Fallowfield - police carried out a controlled explosion. Meanwhile, armed police raided an address at Carlton Road, Whalley Range and at another address in South Manchester a 23-year-old man was arrested.
The North West Ambulance Service has confirmed 12 children under the age of 16 were among the casualties. Some remain seriously ill in intensive care units.
Confusion and disruption gripped Manchester city centre in the hours after the attack and police advised people to stay out of town.
The Royal Exchange and the Arndale Centre were both evacuated. The evacuation at the Arndale followed the arrest of a man who police say is unconnected to the bombing.
Manchester City’s Ethiad stadium was turned into a support centre for those affected by the attack, while United’s Old Trafford stadium closed its doors to tours.
Armed police patrolled Manchester city centre and the Trafford Centre as workers were seen weeping in the streets.
Student Georgina Callander, 18, from Leyland, was the first to be named as among the dead. Also tragically killed was eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos. She was at the show with her mother and sister, who are believed to have been injured by shrapnel.
Saffie was reported as missing before being confirmed as dead.
The fates of a number of others who were at the show remain unknown and appeals are circulating on social media as families search and wait anxiously for news.
And John Atkinson, 28, from Radcliffe was also fatally injured in the attack. He was described by friends as a ‘beautiful soul’.
The Queen said in a statement the whole country was ‘shocked’ by the ‘dreadful event’. Expressing her sympathy to the families of the dead and injured, she thanked emergency services for their ‘professionalism and care’ and praised the people of Manchester for ‘responding with humanity and compassion to this act of barbarity’.
Prime Minister Theresa May met the chief constable in Manchester after condemning the ‘appalling, sickening cowardice’ of the bomber in a speech outside 10 Downing Street.
Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins speaks to the Prime Minister Theresa May during her visit to Manchester Yesterday