A North-east mum and daughter who were in the foyer of the Manchester Arena when the suicide bomber attacked today described a scene of terror and panic as youngsters and families fled.
Vicki McFarlane, from Ellon, had taken daughter Kacey-Jai to the Ariana Grande concert to celebrate her 10th birthday and they were leaving the venue when the suicide bomber struck.
Speaking today from her hotel near the arena, Vicki, 33, said she was walking through the foyer as the bomb went off.
She said: “We passed through the foyer and just heard this huge bang.
“Then people started running. We didn’t know where we were going, but we just ran.
“I recognised the street from earlier in the day so managed to get us back to our hotel which is close by.
“Others followed us and lots of people just gathered in the foyer of the hotel.
“Some of them said they had seen injured people, lots of blood, young children.”
Vicki has also been interviewed by terrorism officers as she believes she may have seen the suicide bomber minutes before the blast.
She said she saw a man acting suspiciously in the foyer during the final moments of the concert.
Vicki said: “I’m pretty sure we saw the guy. It’s tormenting me now.
“Because when we left the concert early to go to the toilet and get back to the hotel ahead of the crowds, there was hardly anyone in the foyer at that time.
“But there was a man hanging around.
“I can’t say much more, but I’ve reported it to the terrorism police.”
It was when Vicki and Kacey-Jai returned to the foyer to leave that the explosion happened.
Vicki and her daughter were today at their hotel and were trying to sort arrangements to get back home to Aberdeen.
She said: “Kacey-Jai is a huge Ariana Grande fan. This trip was to celebrate her birthday.
“When we arrived the first thing we did was go and buy her a jumper so she has a memento of the trip.
“It’s just horrendous. Thankfully we are okay but we are in shock.
“We haven’t slept all night. Kacey-Jai is traumatised and we are just working out how to get home now.
“The street outside the hotel is still cordoned off and we can see police cars.
“When we arrived at the concert there were no bag searches or anything.”
Health care assistant Terri Robertson was at the concert with her partner Kerry Stewart.
The pair, from Aberdeen, said they were surrounded by young children desperately trying to get hold of their parents in the wake of the explosion.
Terri told the BBC: “There were just heaps of people crying and young girl phoning their mums.
“People were trying to get out everywhere, everyone was running in different directions.
“We never saw anyone lying around, but there was lots of crying and shouting, phones going off as people were calling to check their loved ones were safe.”
The couple spoke to a police officer at the scene who advised them to head for safety.
Kerry said: “He told us to get as far away from the area as we could.”