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Manchester Arena Inquiry: Saffie-Rose Roussos a 'beautiful soul'

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media caption'Saffie found joy in everything she did'

The mother of the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena bomb, Saffie-Rose Roussos, has described her daughter as a "beautiful, sensitive soul with an amazing magnetic personality".

The relatives of the 22 people killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing are providing a personal insight into the lives of their loved ones and how their lives were changed forever.

Saffie's father Andrew Roussos opened the "pen portrait" describing the eight-year-old as "my star, my perfect, precious beautiful daughter" who "melted people's hearts" with "those big brown eyes".

He told Manchester Magistrates' Court: "It's like the best artists got together and drew her from top to toe."

image copyrightManchester Arena Inquiry
image captionSaffie was a "born entertainer who loved to make people laugh", her sister told the inquiry

He said Saffie, from Leyland, Lancashire, was "my star" with "so much charisma and confidence" who was a "free spirit… without a care in the world".

She loved gymnastics - always practising "back flips and somersaults" - as well as "big cities and exploring" recalling her excitement at seeing Times Square in New York.

He said she captivated people - citing the trip to the Big Apple as an example.

"With her big brown eyes and beautiful smile" she persuaded the manager at the hotel they were staying at to open the kitchen early for her after explaining "what a tiring day she had had and how hungry she was".

She always wanted to help people, he said, but added she had a "naughty side" that could drive "us up the wall".

He said she would prank her brother before school - putting empty yoghurt pots in his shoes - so she could get in the car first and sit where she wanted to.

He said it was like an "out of body experience" being without her.

"I am never going to accept life without her.

"Never will there be another Saffie, never will there be another kiss, a cuddle or another 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 to the adult Saffie will be."

He added she was a "victim of innocence that all she wanted to be is happy, loving and free to be a child - as every child should be".

Saffie's sister Ashlee, who was also in court, described her as a "born entertainer" who brought "so much joy and energy" to all she knew.

"She lived to put a smile on everyone's face... and loved to make everyone laugh," she said.

A number of emotive video tributes were then played to the court including one from her mother, Lisa, who was also injured in the bomb.

She described Saffie as a "beautiful and sensitive soul who loved and gave generously".

image copyrightManchester Arena Inquiry
image captionSaffie's best friend says she dreams Saffie is waiting at the school gates for her

"She had this amazing magnetic personality that drew people of all ages to her, and I'd watch with wonder," she said.

"She loved to dance and make people laugh [and] would leave little notes of 'I love you' everywhere."

Mrs Roussos talked of the family's devastation at losing Saffie.

"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."

Saffie's best friend told the inquiry: "I have dreams of Saffie waiting for me at the school gate and wake up and it isn't real.

"I feel torn, I feel broken and I miss her so much, so much."

The head teacher of Tarleton Community Primary School said Saffie was "highly thought of by everyone" and "extremely well-liked by her classmates".

"She could've been anything she wanted to be."

The tributes were followed by a compilation of family videos and photographs of Saffie dancing, doing gymnastics and talking about her idol Ariana Grande.

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