An off-duty nurse who valiantly battled to save the life of Saffie-Rose Roussos fought back the tears as she relived the horrific ordeal.

Bethany Crook waited with the eight-year-old for an ambulance and said: "I was watching her slip away and I couldn't do anything."

Saffie, from Leyland, was the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack and was one of 22 people murdered by suicide bomber Salman Abedi in May 2017.

READ MORE: Policeman who helped Saffie-Rose knew paramedics were not coming 'any time soon'

The public inquiry into the atrocity heard how Ms Crook was with her daughter at the Ariana Grande concert and did a 'huge' amount to help Saffie and others who were injured.

She spent 14 minutes in total with Saffie - squeezing her hand and assessing her breathing and pulse - before Saffie was carried from the City Room blast zone on a makeshift stretcher to Trinity Way outside, the M.E.N reports.

Giving evidence today (November 30), Ms Crook said she believed Saffie 'would have every emergency service that she needed there' - but the inquiry heard no ambulances were present.

A police officer eventually 'fortunately' flagged down passing paramedics.

Ms Crook was captured on an officer's body-worn CCTV camera saying 'squeeze my hand darling - stay with me' as Saffie lay on the pavement, the inquiry heard.

"I knew I was losing her," she said.

"She was struggling to make efforts at that point.

"When I was first with her, she was working hard and fighting.

"I think she was fighting as hard as she could - but we needed to help her."

Ms Crook said there was a 'decline' in Saffie's condition as she was carried out to Trinity Way.

"I did think that if we didn't have...if she wasn't treated in that moment, I didn't know whether she would survive," she said.

"Saffie wasn't able to support herself enough to get the oxygen she needed.

"I was losing her.

"If we didn't get a line in...I was watching her slip away and I couldn't do anything."

Bethany Crook giving evidence to the inquiry
Bethany Crook giving evidence to the inquiry

Saffie died, the inquiry has been told, as a result of blood loss from injuries to her legs, although experts commissioned by the inquiry are divided as to whether she could have survived.

Saffie arrived at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital at 11.23pm, 52 minutes after the blast, but was declared dead at 11.40pm after she went into cardiac arrest.

Giving evidence on Monday her parents, Andrew and Lisa Roussos, slammed the response of the emergency services on the night of the attack - and the failure of MI5 to prevent it.

Ms Crook - who was thanked and praised for her efforts by Saffie's family - recalled the City Room, referencing the smell and 'blood underfoot'.

"I would actually say that no amount of CGI or any kind of movie would even...it doesn't come close to actually what it is to be in that environment," she said.

She said she was focused on Saffie's pulse and breathing, and 'keeping her safe'.

Ms Crook had no equipment - just her 'bare hands' - and admitted she was 'waiting for a team' to come.

"And that never happened," she said. "I didn't know there was going to be no help or medical assistance for as long as there was.

"I had hold of Saffie's hand quite a lot during that time and asked her to just keep squeezing it and to hold on tight."

Ms Crook said she 'believed help was outside'.

"I thought we were taking Saffie to a better situation," she said.

"I thought I was taking her to everyone. I thought she would have every emergency service that she needed. My memory makes me recall 'where are the ambulances?'

"There weren't any."

Saffie-Rose Rousos
Saffie-Rose Rousos

BTP sergeant Mark Haviland told the inquiry he made the decision to move Saffie for 'medical intervention'.

"We didn't have a choice," he said.

He said he realised paramedics 'wouldn't be coming at once' because there were reports of 'an active shooter' and the possibility of a 'second device'. "I knew they wouldn't be coming," he added.

Sgt Haviland said he found an aluminium sign that had been blown off the box office roof - and that was used to carry Saffie out to Trinity Way. He detailed running up the road to find an ambulance, before eventually flagging one down.

He said he believed at the time that if Saffie hadn't have been taken out of the City Room, she would have died there.

GMP Sgt Leon McLaughlin, who assisted Ms Crook with Saffie's care, said the youngster looked 'very seriously injured. "I just felt we needed to get her out as quickly as possible," he said.

"I felt that if we just waited, she would have died. It was a complete assault on the senses, the entire scene, with the noises, the smells, the sights.

"The vast majority of the people there were either members of the public or police officers. There wasn't anyone that I would normally identify as the ambulance service.

"We were not trained, nor did we have the equipment, to provide any meaningful intervention there. There was no plan. You were thrown into this situation.

"There was no briefing. That simply was not there. You are on your own and you have to make that decision."

Gillian Yates, an NWAS paramedic who took Saffie to hospital, told how Saffie asked her in the ambulance whether she was going to die.

"She asked if she was going to die," said Ms Yates.

"It sometimes can be a pre-terminal sign. People almost have a moment of clarity before they go into cardiac arrest.

"If a patient ever said that to me, I would take that very seriously."

In her statement, Ms Yates said Saffie was in stage four shock and believed she could go into cardiac arrest at any moment.

Blood transfusion and surgery were her only chance of survival, she added.

"It was obvious that what was going to save Saffie was going to be getting her blood and getting her surgery and getting her to hospital. That was our priority."

The inquiry continues.

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