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Mother pleaded with police to save daughter, Arena inquiry told

·2 min read

A mother pleaded with police not to let her teenage daughter die after the family were caught up in the Manchester Arena bombing, a public inquiry heard.

Samantha Leczkowski was injured alongside her daughter Sorrell, 14, who suffered unsurvivable injuries to her neck.

The family, from Leeds, had been waiting with Sorrell’s grandmother, Pauline Healey, in the City Room to collect Sorrell’s sister and her friend at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at 10.30pm on May 22, 2017.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his home made device, packed with thousands of nuts and bolts at 10.31pm, with Sorrell standing six metres away from the bomber.

Her mother was seen in CCTV footage taken at the Arena kneeling alongside her daughter holding her and Mrs Healey lying on the ground next to them.

Elizabeth Woodcock, who worked as a first aider for ETUK, contracted to provide medical assistance at events, could not detect a pulse when she checked on Sorrell, nine minutes after the blast.

Her statement read to the inquiry said: “The teenage girl was deceased but I did not want to give the mother this news as she was also injured.”

Sorrell’s mother, members of the public and several police officers attempted chest compressions and used a defibrillator until at 10.57pm Marianne Gibson, another ETUK worker said: “She’s gone, I’m afraid.”

But her mother “pleaded with them not to let Sorrell die”, the inquiry was told.

Officers continued working on the teenager for another 10 or 11 minutes until a paramedic told them there was nothing more they could do.

Sorrell Leczkowski (Manchester Anrena Inquiry/AP)
Sorrell wanted to study architecture (Manchester Arena Inquiry/AP)

Pc Owen Whittell said they would wait to see what the heart analysis was after using the defibrillator again, only to discover the device indicated no reading.

A post mortem, bomb blast wave experts and forensic pathologists all concluded Sorrell’s injuries were not survivable.

Sorrell, who attended Allerton High School in Leeds, was described as clever and determined, loved school and had already planned out her future, to study architecture at Columbia University in New York.

The institution’s architecture society later made her an honorary member.

Sir John Saunders, chairman of the inquiry said: “It is ironic so many of the victims of this evil act were especially full of life and talented too.

“Sorrell was one of those.”

The inquiry, sitting in Manchester, is currently looking at how and in what circumstances each of the 22 victims died and to probe whether any inadequacies in the emergency response contributed to individual deaths and/or if they could have been prevented.

The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday morning.

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