Wales

Manchester Arena attack: Girl 'can't talk' about bombing

Vanessa and Andy Leach on their wedding day with daughters Emily and Sally Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Vanessa and Andy Leach are married with two daughters - Emily and Sally

A girl caught up in the Manchester Arena bombing when she was 12 is still unable to talk about it one year later.

Salman Abedi killed 22 people and injured more than 800 when he detonated a home-made bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017.

Vanessa Leach from Buckley, Flintshire, picked up her daughter Emily, now 13, and nephew Ben, 19, near the venue just after the attack. They escaped unhurt.

Mrs Leach said it was "as if she can't verbalise her experience to me".

The mother-of-two bought concert tickets for her daughter and nephew as a Christmas present and arranged to pick them up - she heard the bomb go off as she was sitting in her car, but thought the loud bang was a car crash.

Image copyright Various
Image caption Twenty-two people were killed in the blast on 22 May 2017

The three found each other shortly after the explosion, so Mrs Leach said she did not have "the period of time like other parents where I was thinking 'where are my children?'"

The family and a police officer helped another girl who had a badly injured leg - it transpired she had severed an artery but has recovered and keeps in touch with Emily on Snapchat.

Amid the "screaming and shouting" outside, Mrs Leach said there was almost a sense of calm within the car as they waited for a couple of hours until they were able to leave while the two girls talked about netball.

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Media captionVanessa Leach says her daughter Emily cannot talk about what she saw on the night of the bombing

Mrs Leach said, 12 months on, what Emily went through is still a mystery.

She added: "We haven't spoken about it really, we've spoken about the fact there was an incident and we were there, that's about it - it's as if she can't verbalise her experience to me so I've no idea what her memory is of that night.

"I think she's getting better at processing what happened, but I don't think you can ever process something like that, you just have to live with it.

"Life goes on, it just goes on in a slightly different way."

Image caption Salman Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994 to Libyan parents who fled Libya after opposing Colonel Gaddafi's regime

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