Great Britain

Manchester Arena bombing inquiry LIVE as firefighters give evidence

'Clear lack of leadership when it was needed for the biggest terror attack that Manchester has ever had'

Later that morning he was told the chief fire officer, Peter O'Reilly, was coming to speak to them.

However Geoff Harris, the assistant chief fire officer, came instead.

Mr Mottram agreed there was a sense there had 'been a lack of leadership' - and lots of anger was directed at Mr Harris.

The inquiry heard crews turned their backs on him as he couldn't give them any answers over the delayed deployment.

Mr Mottram, months after the bomb, was asked to fill in a questionnaire.

"I can honestly say that I can't think of any aspect of the incident that went well," he said in the form.

Mr Mottram said he still agrees with that today.

"Our RVP was at a different location to the other emergency services," he wrote.

"The NILO not proceeding to the incident or other location where other services were located to gather information and liaise."

He also raised concerns about the lack of information supplied - and the fact that Manchester Central was still open to the public as fire engines and ambulances were based there.

"People were driving past and taking photos," he said.

Had it been a marauding terrorist firearms incident, Mr Mottram said a terrorist would have easily known where the emergency services were based.

He also hit out at a 'clear lack of leadership when it was needed for the biggest terror attack that Manchester has ever had'.

Mr Mottram says he still holds that view.

Crew manager tells inquiry he was 'very angry' his engine wasn't mobilised to arena

National Inter-Agency Liaison Officers (NILO) then arrived at Philips Park station, the inquiry is told.

Mr Mottram said he 'told everybody he spoke to about the information he had received' from his wife.

He said he tried to tell one NILO officer but 'held his hand up and said not now, I'm busy'.

At 11.50pm, Mr Mottram said they were told to proceed to Manchester Central station and 'await further instruction there'. They arrived just after midnight.

Once there, another NILO asked him what his wife's name was and told him he would try and get further information.

At 12.21am, three engines were mobilised with a NILO, Andy Berry, to Corporation Street, near the railway station, the inquiry is told.

At 1.14am, on May 23, two other appliances were mobilised with another NILO.

At that time - almost three hours after the explosion - Mr Mottram says he was told his engine would be the next to go down.

"Then, 10 minutes later, we were told we weren't going as they had found a suspect package," he said.

Mr Mottram did not attend the Arena at any time.

He says he felt very angry.

"It was more towards the NILOs because they did not appear to be very active at progressing us to the scene," he said.

He says he felt embarrassed with a sense he had let 'people and other emergency services down'.

'Frustrated ... a lack of information'

Good morning. It's day 70 of the inquiry today.

The first witness today is Nicholas Mottram, a crew manager with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

At the time of the attack he had over 19 years' service.

He's a trauma technician well trained in treating those with serious trauma injuries.

In May 2017, he was based at Stockport fire station but on the night of the bomb, he was deployed to Gorton to be in charge of one fire engine on a night shift, the inquiry is told. It had equipment on board to treat injuries - oxygen, masks, a combat application tourniquet, bandages and a spine board.

At 10.30pm, he was at Gorton. He tells how he received a call from his wife - a paramedic.

"She asked me if we had heard anything about a bomb going off at the Arena and she was being deployed, on her way," Mr Mottram said.

"She was proceeding to the Arena."

He says she was concerned to know if the fire service were deploying, but he says it was the first they had heard about it.

His manager, Bob Walker, then looked on the 'mobilising system' to see if anything was going on in the city centre. There was no movement of fire appliances around the city centre at that stage.

Mr Walker then phoned Manchester Central station - and was told loud bangs had been heard.

Mr Mottram said his crew was mobilised to Philips Park station, saying he believed that was a rendezvous point for the incident. They arrived at 10.54pm.

Mr Mottram said he went into a mess area, where others were.

"They said 'what are you doing here?' They weren't really aware of it at the time."

His wife called him again, saying 'it's some sort of nail bomb, there was several fatalities and at least 60 casualties'. She told him they - paramedics - were proceeding to the scene, the inquest is told.

He said:

"I was feeling very frustrated we weren't there as well. We seemed to have a lack of information and we seemed to be in the wrong location."

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