Father of girl murdered in arena attack hopes bomber 'rots in hell'

Father of teenager, 18, murdered in Manchester Arena terror attacks tells public inquiry he hopes suicide bomber Salman Abedi ‘rots in the deepest, darkest part of hell’

  • Simon Callender said Salman Abedi had ‘snatched away’ his daughter Georgina
  • He paid tribute to his ‘little bundle of joy’ in a video which chronicled her life 
  • Georgina, from Hesketh Bank, near Preston, Lancashire, was among 22 killed 

The father of a teenager killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack today told the public inquiry he hopes the bomber ‘rots in the deepest, darkest part of hell’. 

Simon Callender said Salman Abedi had ‘snatched away’ his daughter Georgina, 18, who ‘had so much more to give’.

He paid tribute to his ‘little bundle of joy’ in an emotional video which chronicled her life from the day she was born to the fateful Ariane Grande concert on May 22, 2017 when the 22-year-old suicide bomber blew himself up and murdered 22 victims.  

In the clip which was played at the inquiry, Mr Callender said told how Georgina, from Hesketh Bank, near Preston, Lancashire, was enjoying the independence that a car and a part-time job provided as she looked ahead to studying at university. 

Georgina Callender, from Hesketh Bank, near Preston, Lancashire, (pictured with Ariane Grande in 2015) was killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena attack


Simon Callender said Salman Abedi had ‘snatched away’ his daughter Georgina, 18, who ‘had so much more to give’ (pictured in a tribute video played at the inquiry)

He said: ‘This little bundle of joy became the glue that held our family together.

‘Bright as a button, heart as big as the moon, funny, caring, warm and always laughing.

‘Every day I hear that laugh, it’s like she is still here. To this day I stand in the window looking for her … walking back down the road after school.

‘Sometimes other school kids remind me of her for a second but no, that’s not my Georgina.’

He described how she ‘absolutely loved’ working part-time at the local Booths supermarket where she ‘made the deli counter her own’.

Mr Callander said: ‘Lots of people came up to me and said what a lovely, pleasant girl she was and how proud I should be.’

Then she passed her driving test first time and ‘couldn’t wait to get on the road’ with her new car which she affectionately called Peggy, the hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court was told.

On May 22, 2017 the 22-year-old suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up and murdered 22 victims

Mr Callander said: ‘Peggy would unfortunately be Georgina’s one and only car. She even drove to the concert that night to watch Ariane Grande. You can’t imagine how excited she was.

‘Just a normal little girl, not a bad bone in her body, never hurt anyone, she gave so much love and had so much more to give.’

Georgina was ‘over the moon’ when she was accepted on a paediatric nursing course at Edge Hill University, he said.

He went on: ‘Sadly she never got to go and she never got to see her exam results. She got all distinctions. When they arrived in the post it was another dagger to the heart.

‘All that hard work for nothing. All that potential snatched away by an evil person who did not even know her or care about my little girl.

‘A person who did not know what a very special person he was about to murder. I hope he rots in the deepest, darkest part of hell.

‘I am so proud to stand here and say I am Georgina’s dad. She changed my life and I will never get over losing her.

‘Her smile lasted forever, her smile I can picture every day. Her laughter that once echoed all over the house has gone.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi (pictured entering a lift to the Manchester Arena) detonated his large Karrimor rucksack which contained the explosive on the day of the attack

‘For me things have changed so much. My life is unrecognisable from what it was. Such a massive hole is left.

‘Ill health, divorce, a black cloud that follows me constantly, sometimes it feels like it is going to swallow me up. I can see Georgina in everything.

‘Sometimes I can hear her when the house is quiet. I find myself talking to her and chuckle to myself but then sadness takes over.

‘Sadness always wins the battle with happy memories. Sometimes life has no point.’

He spoke of how Georgina’s elder brothers, Daniel and Harry, were ‘dealing with things in their own way and seemed to be coping OK’.

Mr Callander said: ‘I am so proud of the way they are turning out. I know they both miss their little sister and she would be so proud of them.’

On Wednesday, Georgina’s mother, Lesley, told the hearing of her ‘daily, living nightmare’ and how she wished she would have died instead.

During the terror attack, suicide bomber Salman Abedi waited an hour in the City Room, the foyer outside the venue, before detonating his large Karrimor rucksack which contained the explosive at 10.31pm.

His body, which was recovered in four parts, was identified by his DNA and finger prints which were on the police database after he was arrested for shop lifting in 2012. 

The forensic investigators recovered 1,675 nyloc nuts, 156 flanged nuts, 663 plain nuts and 11 fragments from the deceased, survivors, and crime scene. 

It was previously revealed that the Arena bomber who had been studying for a degree in business and management at Salford University, had used his student loan to fund the terrorist attack with the help of his brother, Hashem, who has been sentenced to life in prison.

The 22 victims of the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 

  • Elaine McIver, 43: the off-duty police officer died in the attack, which injured her husband and children;
  • Saffie Rose Roussos, 8: the youngest victim was separated from her mother and sister in the seconds after the blast;
  • Sorrell Leczkowski, 14: schoolgirl died in the bomb blast, while her mother, Samantha and grandmother Pauline were badly hurt;
  • Eilidh MacLeod, 14: confirmed dead having been missing since being caught up in the blast with her friend Laura MacIntyre;
  • Nell Jones, 14: farmer’s daughter travelled to the pop concert with her best friend for her 14th birthday;
  • Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15: her family searched desperately for her for nearly 48 hours and went on TV to plead for news;
  • Megan Hurley, 15: the Liverpool schoolgirl was with her brother who suffered serious injuries in the blast;
  • Georgina Callander, 18: met Ariana Grande backstage at a previous gig and died in hospital with her mother at her bedside;
  • Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19: couple from South Shields ‘wanted to be together forever and now they are’, their family said;
  • Courtney Boyle, 19, and Philip Tron, 32: criminology student and her stepfather were confirmed dead following a Facebook appeal;
  • John Atkinson, 26: pop fan from Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, was in a local dance group and was leaving the gig when the blast happened;
  • Martyn Hett, 29: public relations manager from Stockport, who was due to start a two-month ‘holiday of a lifetime’ to the US two days later;
  • Kelly Brewster, 32: civil servant from Sheffield who died trying to shield her 11-year-old niece from the bombing;
  • Marcin Klis, 42, and Angelika Klis, 39: both killed as they waited for their daughters who both survived the blast;
  • Michelle Kiss, 45: mother-of-three from Clitheroe, Lancashire, went to the Ariana Grande concert with her daughter;
  • Alison Lowe, 44, and friend Lisa Lees, 43: both killed when they arrived to pick up their teenage daughters who were not hurt;
  • Wendy Fawell, 50: mother from Leeds was killed by the blast while picking up her children at the Arena with a friend;
  • Jane Taylor, 50: mother-of-three from Blackpool was killed as she waited to collect a friend’s daughter from the concert

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