Father of Manchester Arena’s latest victim wants to sue MI5 for failure

The father of the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena bombing has said he intends to sue MI5 as he bears “most of the blame” for the attack.

Director General of Security Ken McCallum issued a public apology after the public inquiry into the May 2017 atrocity found it could have been prevented had MI5 acted on information received in the previous months.

Andrew Roussos, the father of Saffie Roussos, who at eight was the youngest of the 22 people killed in the attack by suicide bomber Salman Abedi, which also injured hundreds, said he had instructed lawyers to file a lawsuit against check the security service.

Andrew Roussos carries his daughter Saffie’s (Danny Lawson) coffin

The Sunday Times reported that he said a number of other families have indicated they could join him in the lawsuit.

Mr Roussos’ lawyers, Broudie Jackson Canter, are reviewing a possible High Court claim that would be based on Section 2 of the Human Rights Act, which protects the right to life.

Speaking to Times Radio, Mr Roussos said: “It’s the only way to learn, everyone learns by hitting them hard in the pocket, sorry to say that.

“In 2017 we were on high alert and everyone was warned of an attack in this country and MI5, which has its only job, it is well funded and well equipped, had 22 intels on Salman Abedi.

“So if they had learned lessons, they would not have allowed Abedi to enter this arena.

“So yes, MI5 bears most of the blame for me.”

He added: “It’s fair to say Manchester were unprepared that night, which they weren’t and the arena were so unprepared for an attack like this, knowing the information that we knew at the start, shouldn’t Salman Abedi have made it into this arena that night, there were too many missed opportunities.

Mr Roussos said MI5’s apology came too late for him, adding: “I cannot accept an apology for losing Saffie, I want Saffie back in my life and I can’t have that.

“An apology for missing 22 opportunities to stop the attacker, how can I accept an apology.

“If you want to give something meaningful to an apology, apologize from day one, that would mean a lot more than waiting for an investigation to see if you were in any way responsible for this attack.”

Of his daughter, he said: “I find it so difficult to explain how she was when people ask me, she was just a bundle of love and joy and one of a kind that we miss dearly and wish we could have her back.

“She was just a human magnet full of love, beautiful from head to toe and just a one-of-a-kind child who will always be sorely missed.”

In his 207-page report, investigator chief Sir John Saunders stressed that had Abedi, 22, promptly followed up intelligence information about the parked Nissan Micra where he stored the explosives, which he later took to a rented inner-city apartment for assembly, could have been traced.

The Chairman added that Abedi could also have been stopped at Manchester Airport on his return from Libya four days before the attack.

Sir John’s account of the circumstances surrounding the bombing at the end of an Ariana Grande concert also focused on the radicalization of Manchester-born Abedi, of Libyan descent.

Between September 7, 2020 and February 15, 2022, evidence was heard in the city of the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the atrocity.

Two previous reports on the terrorist attack were issued by Sir John.

The first was in June 2021 and highlighted a series of “missed opportunities” at the arena venue to identify Abedi as a threat before walking through the City Room foyer and detonating his shrapnel-laden device.

Sir John’s second report last November delivered scathing criticism of the rescue services’ response to the bombing.

After the report was released on Thursday, bereaved families said they hoped “lessons would be learned.”

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