Manchester Arena bombing inquiry: Mother pleaded with police to save 14-year-old daughter, public inquiry told

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.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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.

Members of the public observe a minute's silence in central Manchester in memory of the 22 people who were murdered in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in May 2017 (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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.”

Read More
When was the Manchester bombing? What happened at Arena in 2017 as inquiry into ...

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.

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.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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

Sorrell 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 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.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.