Mum describes mayhem at Manchester Arena

A North West mum-of-two has spoken of the mayhem inside the Manchester Arena moments after a suspected suicide bomber detonated a deadly explosive.
Georgina Bailey and Bradley EdwardsGeorgina Bailey and Bradley Edwards
Georgina Bailey and Bradley Edwards

Georgina Bailey and her partner Bradley Edwards were sitting in the lower tier at the side of the stage of the Ariana Grande concert on Monday.

Minutes later, after the American megastar had finished her encore, the main steps to the auditorium resembled a “war zone” with a rush of people “running, screaming and crying”.

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Speaking to the Wigan Post, Ms Bailey said she was still in shock yesterday and was thankful to be back at home to give her five and two-year-old children extra cuddles.

The 29-year-old said: “Ariana had just finished her encore, Dangerous Woman, said her goodbyes and exited the stage.

“The lights went on and people started leaving. We always wait a little bit for it to clear so we don’t have to wait on the steps up.

“About two minutes after the lights went on, there was a massive bang which was a very surreal sound, almost like a muffled bang which initially we thought was balloons popping because loads had just been released into the crowd.”

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The loud bang Georgina and her partner, 33-year-old Bradley Edwards, had heard was the explosive device activated by the terrorist.

Inside the arena, understandably, chaos ensued.

Ms Bailey said: “I looked over to where the bang had come from which was the centre back and a load of women ran out of the box screaming.

“Smoke was coming from the box and that’s when everyone panicked. Nobody knew what it was, they just knew they had to get out.

“Everyone from the other side of the arena started running towards where we were and a lot of children where shoved to the floor.

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“My partner spent a good few minutes picking kids off the floor, dragging grown adults back up because they had been pushed over.

“I helped people up the steps who were tripping up them, being pushed into the chairs.

“It was mayhem. There was people climbing over the seating and falling over.

“We got out into the corridor and a massive rush of people were running, screaming, crying and fighting to get out the door.”

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Georgina and Bradley managed to make their way out and the reality of what they had experienced started to hit home as dozens of injured fellow concert-goers, both adults and children, were visible.

The mum-of-two, from Leigh, added: “We got outside to the main steps and thousands of people were screaming, on phones, teenagers trying to find their friends and young children stood on their own because they had lost their parents.

“Police got there within minutes and soon after the ambulances started arriving and that’s when we realised the true extent of what had happened. People were walking past with blood on them, clothes ripped.

“It looked like a war zone. I dread to think what would have happened to us if we left a couple minutes earlier.”