Manchester Arena victim’s mother says safety measures have been delayed

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Figen Murray, who lost her 29-year-old son Martyn Hett in the Manchester Arena bombing, said she now wanted to look ahead and make sure the same mistakes never happen again .

Speaking at Manchester Magistrates’ Court shortly after the publication of Thursday’s inquest report, Murray said: ‘Today we learned of the failings in the emergency services. There’s no denying that those failures resulted in death, but I’m not here to play the blame game.

“What’s important from now on is to learn from those mistakes so they don’t happen to anyone else in the future.”

Inquiry chairman Sir John Saunders delivered a scathing report on the emergency services response on Thursday and said significant aspects of the May 22, 2017 response “went wrong”.

Murray is campaigning for “Martyn’s Law”, a series of changes that would make public places safer.

“Despite the apparent government support I have been promised, this much-needed law seems to be constantly delayed,” she said.

“If Martyn’s Law had been in place that night, we now know that precious lives would have been saved. We can’t go back, but for every day that passes that today’s recommendations and Martyn’s law are not in place, it’s another day that our entire security is at risk.

Stuart Murray, Martyn’s father-in-law and GP, said the inquest report showed people had been disappointed: “I sat down and listened,” he said. “And now we have proof. It is absolutely shameful that big companies can make money by cutting back on basic first aid measures that have been proven to save lives.

Kim Harrison, a lawyer speaking on behalf of 11 families, said the report confirmed “everything we feared about the catastrophic failures of emergency services”.

She added: “So many failures occurred that night, it is impossible to list them all here. This damning report details how emergency services failed to prepare, plan, communicate, resources, equipment, almost everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

“It is completely unacceptable that members of the public have been seriously injured and dying in the streets for what must have seemed like an eternity. It is clear that the so-called golden hour after the attack was completely ruined by the catastrophic response of the emergency services.

Survivors who were among those closest to suicide bomber Salman Abedi when he detonated his device said they felt like they had been ‘left for dead’ by emergency services.

Sisters Janet Senior, 64, and Josie Howarth, 66, of Knottingley, West Yorkshire, were waiting for their nieces at the end of Ariana Grande’s concert.

Senior recalled, “We were injured in the hall for about an hour without any help and that weather will haunt me forever.

“Josie was fading and losing consciousness and I was scared she was going to die. I felt so alone, so helpless, so scared. We found ourselves waiting for what felt like an eternity.

“People were dying around us. I can still hear the sounds of everyone around moaning in agony and crying out desperately for help. Over time, that call faded and people stopped calling.

“I remember thinking, as time went on, ‘No one is coming for us. They’re leaving us to die.

“There were too many chefs, not enough actors.”

Law firm Hudgell Solicitors is preparing civil actions for more than 150 survivors of the attack.

At a briefing after the report’s release, emergency service workers all said they accepted the report’s findings, admitted shortcomings and issued full and unqualified apologies.

Nothing could approach the emotions felt by the survivors or the families of those who died, they said.

British Transport Police Chief Lucy D’Orsi said she had walked through the arena the night before and Thursday morning. “I felt terribly emotional,” she said. “I felt really angry and extremely disappointed with the delivery that night. But… I absolutely know that today we are in a different position, we would react more effectively.

Related: Who were the Manchester Arena victims who could have lived?

Stephen Watson, Greater Manchester Police Chief, said his emotions on Thursday were quite raw. “Personally, I feel very strongly for the families we left behind,” he said. He felt a combination of “real sadness, real disappointment, an element of shame… But also a real, genuine determination to make sure this never happens again.”

Dave Russell, Greater Manchester Fire Chief, echoed those sentiments: “I feel saddened and ashamed,” he said.

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