8-year-old girl among 22 Manchester bombing victims

Young Saffie Rose Roussos attended concert with mother
An injured concertgoer is helped by police and emergency responders at the Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion.
An injured concertgoer is helped by police and emergency responders at the Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion.

LONDON — An 8-year-old girl is among the first identified victims of the bombing attack in Manchester, England.

The girl, Saffie Rose Roussos, from Lancashire in northwest England, was at the Ariana Grande concert with her mother and older sister. Her death was confirmed Tuesday by the Lancashire County Council. News reports said her mother and sister, who is in her 20s, were being treated for injuries from the attack.

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Chris Upton, the principal of Tarleton Community Primary School, which Saffie attended, said she was a “beautiful little girl,” who was “quiet and unassuming, with a creative flair.” He said that news of her death had been a “tremendous shock.”

“I would like to send our deepest condolences to all of her family and friends,” he added. “The thought that anyone could go out to a concert and not come home is heartbreaking.”

The Manchester Evening News identified another victim, John Atkinson, a 26-year-old from Radcliffe, a town in the Greater Manchester area. A fundraising page was set up to help raise money for his funeral.

Earlier, Georgina Bethany Callander, an 18-year-old health and social care student with a big smile and a love of pop music, became the first victim of the Manchester attack to be publicly identified.

Callander’s Instagram account showed a young and joyful woman who appeared to adore animals and Disney films. She had also posted a photograph of her driver’s license, which she received in December 2016. News reports said she had died with her mother at her side. Old photographs on social media showed her posing wearing glasses and braces.

She was a student at Runshaw College in Leyland, Lancashire, where administrators expressed their “enormous sadness” and said they would offer counseling to students. “Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to all of Georgina’s friends, family, and all of those affected by this loss,” they wrote in a statement on Facebook.

Callander was a fan of the British bands Fifth Harmony and One Direction. On her Instagram account she named “Beauty and the Beast” and “Captain America” as her favorite films, and “Wicked,” which she saw in London in September 2015, as her favorite musical.

Her social media accounts show a young and idealistic woman who was socially conscious. She had expressed her distaste for a dog meat festival in Yulin, China, and lent her support for the Women’s March on London in January.

Born on April 1, 1999, Callender was fond of using the internet to make friends and had posted numerous photographs with people she met online, writing, “The internet is an amazing place.”

Those stories were only the first in what is likely to be a stream of heartbreaking tales in the coming days about young people in the optimistic bloom of life.

The bombing, which the police said had killed 22 people and wounded at least 59, took place at the end of the concert Monday night in Manchester Arena. Grande’s concerts attract legions of young female fans with their parents in tow, and the targeting of an arena hosting thousands of children and teenagers gave a particularly terrifying edge to the attack.

At least 12 children under the age of 16 were among the wounded hospitalized after the attack, according to the North West ambulance service, which serves the Manchester area.

On Saturday, Callander had written on Twitter that she was “so excited” to see Grande, with whom she had posed for a photograph at a concert two years ago.

Her friends took to social media to express their grief. “To my beautiful best friend I hope you rest in peace my darling,” one wrote on Twitter. “I love you so much and will always miss you.”

Andy Burnham, mayor of Manchester, said that the targeting of innocent youth had filled everyone with disgust. “We all feel a sense of abhorrence,” he said, describing the attack as “the most appalling evil” he could imagine.


As the authorities scrambled to identify the dead and as relatives scoured local hospitals for their loved ones, one mother clasped a framed photograph of her young daughter and made a tearful appeal on BBC television for any information about her, saying she was worried sick. Dozens of others posted photographs of the missing on social media, asking for information about relatives and friends.

Some Polish citizens were among the missing, said Jakub Krupa, the British correspondent of the Polish Press Agency, citing the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Blood donor centers in Manchester said there had been a surge in volunteers. A vigil for the victims was planned in front of Manchester Town Hall for Tuesday evening.

Prime Minister Theresa May appealed to the public to contact the Manchester police if they had any information about the attack, noting that relatives and friends of the victims and the missing were experiencing unimaginable pain. She said the attack stood out for its cowardice.

Grande expressed her sorrow on Twitter. “Broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words,” she wrote.

Callender was a fan of the fairy-tale-themed U.S. television series “Once Upon a Time,” and in April she met actors from the series, several of whom expressed their condolences.

“This is beyond upsetting. Dearest, Georgina…RIP kind & beautiful lady,” Karen David, one of the actresses on the series, wrote on Twitter.

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