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Manchester Arena Inquiry: Relatives present pen portraits

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image copyrightFamily handout
image captionSaffie-Rose Roussos was described as a "born entertainer" who "captured people by her magic"

The youngest victim of the Manchester Arena bombing was "so pure and innocent she melted people's hearts", the inquiry into the attack has heard.

Saffie-Rose Roussos was eight years old when she was killed in 2017.

Her family told the hearing they are "never going to accept life without her," adding "never will there be another Saffie".

The loved ones of the 22 victims are presenting "pen portraits" to give an insight into those who died.

Saffie's father Andrew Roussos, from Leyland, Lancashire, spoke of his love for his daughter with her "amazing big brown eyes and beautiful smile".

"How can I describe perfection? It's like the best artists got together and drew her from top to toe," he said.

Her mother Lisa, who was badly injured in the attack, gave a tearful video tribute to her daughter, describing her as a "beautiful soul".

"The day I woke up from the coma, Andrew held my hand and looked up at me. I instantly knew," she said.

"I did die that day, inside I'm dead. My heart is so heavy, it weighs me down," she said.

  • What is the Manchester Arena inquiry?
  • Relatives to give 'pen portraits' to arena inquiry

Her sister Ashlee Bromwich told the inquiry how the things that once brought her joy no longer do but her sibling gives her the strength to go on.

"I feel so naive to think that life could bring no harm to those I love. Saffie didn't know of the horrors of this world.

"A child should be allowed to live an innocent life. At eight years old she should have only known of love and happiness and what she could only dream to become one day.

"She should never have had to experience that."

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionWendy Fawell "loved spending time with her family and friends," the inquiry heard

The inquiry also heard how the family of Wendy Fawell, 50, endured "double heartache" when her father died 11 months after the bombing.

Ms Fawell, a former primary school worker from Otley, West Yorkshire, was the "life and soul of the party" and "loved her role of being a mum", her family said.

"She tried to mother everyone. She was just a nice and caring person that way," her family added.

The inquiry heard how "her father never got over her death when he passed away 11 months later".

"I like to think he's with her doing what he always did - looking after her," Ms Fawell's mother said.

"It's a different world now without Wendy."

image copyrightManchester Arena Inquiry
image captionElaine McIver's partner paid tribute to the love of his life

Paul Price, the partner of Cheshire Police officer Elaine McIver, 43, said "these are the hardest and most heart-breaking words I will ever write".

"I know that words will never be enough to convey my feelings. Quite simply, there are no words," said Mr Price in a statement read out by family friend, Jo Doyle.

"So this is the pen portrait of my partner, the love of my life, Elaine McIver.

"Elaine and I met in 2014, through mutual friends on a blind date. We came together because of our love of music.

"Elaine knew so many people from work. She would stop and talk to everybody - that is what I loved about her.

"We loved travelling, but equally, we loved weekends snuggled up on the couch.

"We couldn't have been happier. We were so in love, and looking back, it was perfect. It almost doesn't seem real."

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionOlivia Campbell-Hardy was described as "funny and cheeky" in her early school reports

The mother of Olivia Campbell-Hardy, from Bury, Greater Manchester, thanked the inquiry "for making my princess a person, and not a number".

Charlotte Hodgson described her daughter as "funny, loving, smiley, and a pain in the neck when you had one of your moods on - but that was you".

The 15-year-old was her "shadow" who "would follow her everywhere," she said.

"Olivia's favourite things were dressing up and drawing. She loved performing.

"She had her whole life ahead of her. With her determination, she would have accomplished whatever she set out to achieve," her mother added.

"She would put 100% into everything. But she always did it with a smile on her face, she'd have made people laugh, she just wanted everyone to be happy."

image copyrightFamily handouts
image captionTwenty two people were killed in the Manchester Arena bombing

The inquiry was due to start in June, but was delayed by the trial of Salman Abedi's brother Hashem, who was jailed for at least 55 years for 22 murders on 20 August.

It was set up to examine the background to the attack and the response of the emergency services.

The chairman will write a report and recommendations once all the evidence has been heard, which is expected to take up to six months.

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