Mum relives 'senseless' murder of teenager Georgina Callander at Manchester Arena terror attack

A mother relived the “senseless, pointless murder” of her teenage daughter during a moving tribute at the public inquiry into the Manchester Arena terror attack.

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 6:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 6:54 pm
Georgina Callander

Lesley Callander, from Hesketh Bank described the moments looking into the eyes of her daughter, Georgina, 18, who was murdered along with 21 other people by suicide bomber Salman Abedi on May 22, 2017.

Mrs Callander said: “I must be living in a nightmare, I thought, as I looked down at Georgina clutched in my arms - wondering why? Her bloodshot eyes were wide open and I was staring in a trance at her beautiful, pure, soft white skin.

“As I watched a tear rolling down her face on to my arm, it was a look I felt that she was telling me, ‘I’m so sorry, mummy, I guess I’m not going to get through this, I’m not going to make it, I am so sorry.’

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“Then I realised she was dead. ‘Is this really happening? I’m not so sure’, I thought.”

She added: “I wish it would have been me, not her. But she was murdered by a brain-washed Isis fanatic.

“For me it’s a daily, living nightmare.”

Mrs Callander, unable to bear visiting the city where her daughter died, spoke in a video tribute at the hearing on Wednesday, during the commemorative phase of the public inquiry where the victims are remembered by their loved ones.

Five of Georgina’s friends sat in the inquiry hearing room in Manchester as the video played, dabbing tears away as photos of their friend were displayed as her mother spoke.

Mrs Callander said she never imagined she would have to describe the “senseless, pointless murder of my beautiful, innocent daughter Georgina”.

She added: “I am, and always will be, a severe, distraught mother overwhelmed by grief, with a broken heart in pieces and my family now broken.

Georgina, from Hesketh Bank, a village near Preston, was an Ariana Grande “super-fan” and had gone to the concert with a friend.

She died after Abedi, 22, detonated his home-made rucksack bomb packed with shrapnel in the foyer at the Arena as the crowd left at the end of a concert.

Her mother found her as she was being taken from the foyer on a makeshift stretcher.

She was pronounced dead in hospital shortly after.

Mother and daughter were “joined at the hip” - chatting each day, enjoying shopping and holidays, trips to London to see shows and breeding Chihuahu puppies together.

Mrs Callander said she was now “not healing but just surviving” having joined the “special group of parents” who have buried their own child.

She added: “Quite simply I adored her. I can’t and will never accept I will never see her again.

“All I am is a shadow of a broken mum.”

Georgina had passed a social care course at college and had been accepted onto a course at Edge Hill University to study paediatrics.

Her older brothers, Daniel and Harry, said their “geeky” sister shared their interest in Marvel comics.

Harry’s statement said: “The one grievance that stains me the most is the life she will never ever get to experience.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the inquiry heard tributes from the family of three more victims - Polish couple Angelika and Marcin Klis and mother-of-two Lisa Lees.

The commemorative hearings will conclude next week.

The public inquiry, chaired by Sir John Saunders, is to examine the background to the attack and the response of the emergency services and will conclude next spring.

The hearing was adjourned until Thursday morning.