A Jewish father who was at the Manchester Arena last night to pick his daughter up from the Ariana Grande pop concert has described the horrifying moment the suicide bomber detonated his device, killing 22 people.
Joel Lever, who lives in Whitefield, told Jewish News: “I parked up and messaged my daughter who was at the concert with three friends. I told her to come out early because it gets very crowded. She wanted to get some memorabilia, which was being sold at the front. I came up to the main steps.
“All of a sudden there was the biggest boom. I felt it in my chest. It’s like when you stand next to one of those huge speakers. The doors flung open and there was a stampede coming down the steps towards me, as if someone had just spilled a full cup of coffee with it pouring all over the sides, rushing towards you.”
Joel added: “I couldn’t get hold of my daughter. Parents were screaming, kids were screaming, everyone was falling over each other, sirens were wailing, police officers were shouting ‘get back!’. It was horrendous and surreal. No one could say what had happened. Finally I got hold of my daughter, took her out to the car and we made a quick getaway. Thankfully she’d done as I asked so she’d been near the exit. We only found out later that it was a terrorist attack.”
Some 59 people were also injured in the blast, targeted at young fans of the American singer and their families.
Joel continued: “Ariana Grande, she appeals to kids, so I think the terrorists wanted to cause the biggest upset possible. They’ve been waiting to do something in Manchester for a while now. It’s despicable, and it’s about time someone stood up for them and did something about it. They’re animals, with no respect for human life. Something’s got to happen. Life’s sacred, but they’re not interested in that. It turns my stomach.
“This morning, I had an early business meeting but you couldn’t get anywhere, it was like a ring of steel. Everyone’s very glum today, they’re all wondering why. Manchester is a great city, you only need to look at how all the hotels and restaurants opened their doors in the early hours for people with nowhere to stay and no way to get home. But these bastards just don’t care. It’s really hit me now. I just feel for the poor parents you’ve lost children.
My daughter is OK. She’s 14, the same age as the friends she went with. It didn’t really hit her until she heard it on the news on the way to school this morning, when she started crying. People are waking up in England today and realising what people across the world have been feeling for years. When you see it on the news, you think ‘poor people,’ then it happens to you. Luckily it could have been a lot worse, because when a concert finishes there’s hordes and hordes of people pouring out. It really makes you feel sick inside.”