A mum who survived the Manchester Arena bomb has told how she is haunted by the unfinished sentence of her dead friend Wendy Fawell.
Caroline Davis Osborne was with her best friend in the foyer of the concert as they waited for the Ariana Grande show to finish so they could collect their children.
Mum-of-two Ms Fawell, 50, was in the middle of telling her friend how she would move to another staircase to look for the kids when the blast – set off by killed in the terrorist Salman Abedi – hit.
Wendy was killed in the attack while Mrs Davis Osborne suffered shrapnel wounds and a dislocated shoulder.
Mum-of-three Caroline, from Otley, Leeds, West Yorks., said: “I don’t know how I am still here. I must have had someone looking after me.
“I keep looking at my children and when I am alone I cry for the friend I have lost and for the fact my children almost didn’t have a mother.”
She said her memory of the moment the bomb exploded is sketchy.
“Wendy and I had been window shopping and had a coffee and we came back to the arena to pick the children up.
“Ben, my middle child, was there with my older son, Lee, and Wendy’s daughter, Charlotte, was not feeling well and sent me a text.
“We made our way back there to wait. We saw a few people coming out. The foyer was busy with people.
“Wendy said to me that she’d walk over to another stairway in case the children came up that way.
“She had began to move away from me but didn’t finish her sentence.
“I don’t remember anything after that. I had been knocked unconscious and when I came round there was mayhem. It was dusty and smoky.
“Someone was asking me if I could sit up. My arm hurt and I was screaming and looking around for Wendy.
“There were bodies strewn all over. Some were covered up so I knew I had been knocked out for a while.
“Others were just lying there and there was bits of flesh and everywhere was wet.
“All I could think about was Wendy. She couldn’t have been more than two yards from me
“My sister rang to see if I was alright, not knowing I was injured.
“I remember saying to her I couldn’t find Wendy and the children and that my arm hurt.
“I then got a phone call from Lee asking if I was okay and saying he and the others were outside safe.
“Someone had helped me get up and somehow I got down three flights of stairs.
“I was taken to hospital where I was treated brilliantly. I can’t fault the care they gave me and the help they gave the children.
“I had to have an operation on a dislocated elbow and one on the back of my leg which had shrapnel in it. I also had a cut on my head.
“Even with these injuries I think I got off lightly. When I wake each morning I see bodies and flesh on the floor and hear the last half sentence with Wendy.
“As soon as we found out she had died I asked the hospital to discharge me and when I came home I went up to the market place, in Otley, with my husband, Mark, and we put flowers there for her.
“We’d only been friends for a couple of years but we were so close.
“We worked together at St Oswald’s School, in Guiseley, me as a lunchtime supervisor, and Wendy as a breakfast and after-school club helper.
“Her daughter became good friends with my oldest son and Wendy trusted me enough to agree that Charlotte could come to Florida with us next Easter to celebrate my 40th birthday and Ben’s 13th.
“I feel guilty because I bought the tickets. The children were so excited.
“She said she was determined they would go and she ended up driving.
“But I will never to a concert again in Manchester and the children won’t be going again until they are old enough to go on their own.
“Charlotte is moving in with her brother Adam in Rawdon, for the time being but she will continue to visit here and stay overnight.
“She’s welcome at any time.”
Mrs Davies Osborne says all she feels towards the bomber is hatred.
“I hate him and those who helped him, for what he did to thousands of people that night, and for what?”