The mother of Manchester arena terror attack victim Saffie Roussos has been taken off life support and is aware of her daughter’s death, according to a family friend.
Tragic Saffie, eight, was the youngest of 22 people killed in a rucksack bomb massacre at an Ariana Grande concert on May 22.
The “adorable” little girl attended the gig with her mum Lisa, 48, and elder sister Ashlee Bromwich, both of whom were hospitalised with serious shrapnel injuries.
Lisa is understood to have undergone two operations for her injuries sustained in the blast detonated by vile jihadi Salman Abedi, but is “pulling through”.
A massive display of floral bouquets, balloons and flowers has been left outside the fish and chip shop in Leyland, Lancashire., run by Mrs Roussos’s husband Andrew, 43.
Well-wishers have been desperately hoping the girl’s mother and sister survive the serious shrapnel injuries they suffered and have been waiting anxiously for news.
Today close friend Mike Swanny, who has been asked to be the family spokesman, said Lisa has been taken off her life support machine and is conscious.
The 38-year-old also explained that Lisa is aware of her daughter Saffie’s death, who is one of the UK’s youngest-ever terror victims.
He said: “The news about Lisa being out of danger is the biggest in this since the start.
“She was in a critical condition at first, but she came off life support on Saturday and was up and talking on Sunday.
“She’s aware of the situation with Saffie.
“She’s still in hospital, but she’s moving her legs, which is fantastic. Lisa’s pulling through and it’s really important people know that.
“Ashlee is remarkably well. She went to a different hospital to her mum with wounds, but it looks like she might be out as early as Wednesday.”
“Andrew has been so strong. He’s not wanted to grieve until he knew his wife was going to be okay. He’s been a machine all week.”
In total, 22 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the attack carried out by Abedi, believed to have entered the Manchester arena just as the Ariana Grande concert ended.
Many survivors are still being treated in hospitals across Greater Manchester for shrapnel wounds.
When news of victims began to filter through on Tuesday morning, Saffie’s name was on the ‘missing’ list with desperate appeals for information on her whereabouts going viral on social media.
Mr Swanny, who runs a computer shop next to the Roussos family chip shop in Hough Lane, was involved in the search with the family.
The father-of-two, whose daughter Lily was best friends with Saffie, has now been asked by Saffie’s father Andrew to handle fundraising donations, cards, and information to the public.
“Me and Andrew are very close and I was there from the very beginning when this all happened,” he added.
“It’s been hell since last Tuesday. I had to come home and tell my little girl that her best friend was not coming back.
“To take the weight off Andrew’s shoulders I’ve been dealing with all the cards and sorting out piles and piles of messages to Saffie and the family.
“I’m also going to open a charity account for funds. Money is coming in from everywhere, I get calls everyday. Yesterday I collected about £9,000 or £10,000 just from people’s pockets.”
Local residents have rallied round to support the family, and hundreds of bunches of flowers have been left in memorial to the little girl outside the chip shop where she used to play.
“Andrew’s been overwhelmed by it all, he said he didn’t know these people were out there,” said Mr Swanny.
“I’m so proud of him, he’s so commendable. Every time I’ve been to see him he’s given me the strength to inform the people of Leyland.
“People have been asking me about how they’re doing, and I’ve been able to talk positively because of him. It’s been bloody amazing that someone in his position can be like that.”
The Roussos family, who originate from Limassol in Cyprus, first lived in Southport with their children – Saffie and Zander, 10, attending Tarleton Primary School.
When they moved later to Leyland, the children remained at the school. Headteacher Chris Upton described Saffie as “a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word”.
“She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly. Saffie was unassuming with a creative flair,” added Mr Swanny.