Andrew Roussos, the father of the youngest Manchester terror attack victim, 8-year-old Saffie Roussos, has paid tribute to her daughter on what would have been her ninth birthday
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Tuesday, Roussos also revealed his wife’s first words as she woke up from a coma caused by the blast, as reported by The Guardian.
“Saffie’s gone, isn’t she?,” Lisa, 48, asked her husband as she woke up and was taken off life support after suffering shrapnel injuries from the Manchester attack.
Mr. Roussos, struck by grief, only said, “Yeah.” Lisa responded, “I knew.”
“That’s all that was said really,” the grief-stricken dad told BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire as he recalled his family’s ordeal after the tragic attack.
Saffie Roussos was the youngest victim out of the 22 who died after 22-year-old Salman Abedi detonated an IED at an Ariana Grande concert inside the Manchester Arena in May.
Saffie had attended the Ariana Grande concert with her mom and older sister Ashlee Bromwich on the night of the Manchester explosion.
When Andrew arrived at the scene of the attack, he found Ashlee, who was then being treated by medics for shrapnel injuries. He said there were people, many of them children, screaming and crying in the wake of the blast.
He then found out that his wife had been taken to Salford Royal Hospital. Hours later, a detective at the scene told him that his daughter Saffie had been killed by the blast.
“I couldn’t take it in. I just sat there looking at him. It’s just your worst nightmare. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to think,” he said.
Bromwich, who recalled being thrown to the ground by the Manchester explosion, said Saffie was “Ariana Grande-obsessed,” and was so happy and elated all night before the explosion took her life.
Roussos said his young daughter loved stardom and would have loved having her face be remembered by people across the country.
“She was just everything you could wish for in a little girl,” he said.
His wife Lisa, who has undergone several operations in the hospital, is quickly improving, as previously reported by Mirror. Last month, close family friend Mike Swanny, 38, said she was in a critical condition at the start, but her condition gradually improved after being taken off life support.
Roussos described his wife as “like a soldier” fighting her way to recovery.
He also revealed on the program that he met Grande before her One Love Manchester tribute concert in June.
“I wanted to tell her what she meant to Saffie,” he said. “I wanted to tell her I don’t want her to blame herself.”
“All she could say to me was: ‘I’m sorry,’ and I said: ‘You’ve got nothing to be sorry for. You made Saffie so happy with what you do.’
“She thanked me. She appreciated me telling her that.”
[Featured Image by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]