Andrew Roussos, the father of Saffie Roussos, has spoken for the first time about losing his little girl. Saffie was the youngest victim of the Manchester terror attack. She had attended the ill-fated Ariana Grande concert with her mother Lisa and 26-year-old sister Ashlee, and was tragically killed by the explosion at Manchester Arena. In a moving interview on what would have been Saffie's ninth birthday, Andrew spoke of the family's heartbreak. He also opened up about the moment his wife woke up from her induced coma, and immediately uttered the words: "Saffie's gone, isn't she." Andrew told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme that he had "nodded, and that was it. That was all she said really".
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Saffie Roussos was just eight years old when she was killed in the Manchester terror attack
Of his young daughter, Andrew said: "She was a joker. She was a huge character. She was just everything you could wish for in a little girl. She loved dancing, music, gymnastics. If she wanted something, she would do it. [She loved] fame, stardom. I know that Saffie would love her pictures to be on, and to be spoken about on TV."
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Andrew also spoke about the moment he arrived at the scene of the attack, and found Ashlee being treated on site – but he was unable to find Saffie and his wife. "We just walked around and all the police were there. It was chaos. You're panicking and worrying. You don't know what's going on," he said. "As the hours went on, I thought the worst." He was later informed about Saffie's death by a police detective. "I couldn't take it in," he said. "It's just your worst nightmare. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to think."
In total, 22 people lost their lives as a result of the explosion
Andrew said his wife was still recovering from the attack and has had multiple surgeries. He added that the family were "all strong for each other". "We do a little bit of laughing, a little bit of joking, a little bit of crying and cuddling, and that's how we get through the day," he said.
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Andrew further revealed that he had met with Ariana Grande ahead of her One Love Manchester concert in June. "I wanted to tell her what she meant to Saffie," he said. "I wanted to tell her I don't want her to blame herself. All she could say to me was, 'I'm sorry', and I said, 'You've got nothing to be sorry for. You made Saffie so happy with what you do.'"