Saffie’s life ‘is not a practice exercise’
THE father of eight-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos – the youngest person to die in the Manchester Arena bombing – told the public inquiry that lessons should already have been learned from past terrorism attacks.
The life of his daughter ‘is not a practice exercise for the security services or the emergency services’, Andrew Roussos said.
Mr Roussos – who described Saffie-Rose as ‘my star, my admiration, my perfect daughter’ – stood up to address the inquiry’s chairman, Sir John Saunders, after his wife, Lisa, paid tribute to their daughter.
He said the ‘biggest lesson and wake-up call should have come from 7/7 and 9/11’ – the terror attacks in London and New York.
Mr Roussos said that if lessons were still being learned in 2020, ‘nothing will ever change’.
He said: “Sir, could I just say something. With the highest respect I feel I need to say this.
“What we are all going through, the failures we are all listening to and the excuses we will all sit through, needs to stop. “Enough is enough, Sir. “At present, in 2020, if we are still learning lessons, then nothing will ever change. The biggest lesson and wake-up call should have come from 7/7 and 9/11.
“Saffie’s life is not a practice exercise for the security services or the emergency services.
“Lessons should have already been learned and in place.”
The public inquiry into the atrocity on May 22, 2017, which claimed 22 lives, entered its ninth day on Tuesday.
Pen portraits from the families and friends of the deceased, and moving personal evidence about them, are continuing to be heard and shown to the inquiry.
Saffie-Rose attended Tarleton Community Primary School, having previously gone to Kew Woods Primary School in Southport.
In his tribute Mr Roussos said: “My daughter Saffie – how can I describe perfection?
“How do you describe heartmelting love? How can I explain those big brown eyes.
“She is my star, my admiration, my perfect daughter.
“I am never going to accept life without Saffie.
“Going out with Saffie was like magic, she captured people by just looking at them and smiling.”
Mr Roussos said the family would be stopped on the street by people telling them how beautiful Saffie was.
Andrew recalled the pranks she played on her brother – and talked of an adventurous free spirit who loved gymnastics, singing and dancing.
“She would fight to the end and not show defeat,” he said.
“She loved to explore and see new things. She loved big cities, big cities at night when all the lights were switched on. “I can go on and on. “Never will there be another Saffie. Never will there be another kiss, cuddle or a smile.
“I try and picture what she would look like now, what she would be doing. What career she would choose to the wedding dress she would pick.”
He said Saffie was a ‘victim of innocence’.
“All she wanted to be was a loving girl.”
Tributes from Saffie’s sister, Ashlee Bromwich, followed, as well as testimonies from other family members, friends and Saffie’s headteacher.
Sister Ashlee said: “I was always proud to call Saffie my sister. I still am. She was someone I always wanted to tell people about and talk about.
“She was more than special, a rare soul.
“Our family will never be the same. I have lost the ability to feel such emotions other than grief