Father of Manchester Arena bombing victim on heartache

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The father of the eight-year-old girl killed in the Manchester terror blast has spoken of his family's heartache for the first time.

Saffie Roussos was the youngest of the 22 murdered in the horrific attack during an Ariana Grande concert in May.

Speaking on what would have been the youngster's ninth birthday, her father Andrew has described the 'nightmare' of losing his daughter and said that his family have 'lost everything'.

He also released cherished and previously unseen video and pictures of Saffie beaming as she dances and plays up to the camera.

Saffie's mother Lisa Roussos attended the concert with her daughter and was severely injured during the attack at the Manchester Arena.

She was placed in a coma by doctors, but on regaining consciousness she turned to her husband and uttered the heart-breaking words: 'Saffie's gone, isn't she?'

Speaking to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme Mr Roussos described the moment he was told by a police officer that his daughter had died.

He said: 'I couldn't take it in. I just sat there looking at him. It's just your worst nightmare. I didn't know what to say, I didn't know what to think.'

Mr Roussos, from Lancashire, said his family were remaining 'strong for each other' and do a 'little bit of crying and cuddling' to 'get through the day'.

He described his daughter as a 'little joker' and a 'huge character' who loved dancing, music and gymnastics.

Mr Roussos spoke to Derbyshire alongside Saffie's brother Xander and her 26-year-old sister Ashlee Bromwich, who was at the gig with her.

Ms Bromwich, who described being thrown to the ground by the explosion, said of Saffie: 'She was Ariana Grande-obsessed, so to see how happy she was, it was just ... Obviously I had to go with her.'

She added: 'She was so happy, just elated all night.'

Mr Roussos aid he wanted to speak out so as not to let her birthday go by unmarked.

He said: 'We didn't want to just let her birthday pass. Saffie loved the limelight and I just wanted to celebrate Saffie's birthday through doing this.'

He added: 'You couldn't be out with Saffie without having fun, but her dream was to be famous. It was her everything and we bought her the tickets for Christmas.

'She was just counting the days, the seconds and it was just Ariana Grande until nine, 10 o'clock at night. And she would sing and dance every single song.'

Mr Roussos also revealed that he met with Ariana Grande before the One Love tribute concert in Manchester last month and shared a touching moment with the US pop star.

The father said: 'All she could say to me was, ''I'm sorry'', and I said, ''You've got nothing to be sorry for. You made Saffie so happy with what you do''.

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