Inquests & Public Inquiries

Manchester Arena Inquiry: ‘Still nobody has been held responsible for not stopping it happening. That needs to change’

Lisa Bridgett in hospital after the manchester Arena terror attack

Terry Wilcox

Manager, Public Inquiries & Senior Associate Solicitor

8 min read time

More than five-and-a-half years since she suffered life-changing injuries in the Manchester Arena bombing, survivor Lisa Bridgett has still not received a single penny in compensation from the Government.

At the arena waiting to meet her 17-year-old daughter Ashleigh at the end of the Ariana Grande concert, she was stood just metres away when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his device, killing 22 people and seriously injuring hundreds of others.

Ashleigh and her friend were thankfully physically unharmed as they were still inside the main auditorium at the time. Lisa, however, was left with a steel nut from the bomb embedded in her nose, leaving her with scarring and lifelong breathing difficulties.

The bolt had initially hit her phone, which she was using at the time, damaging a finger on her left hand so badly it had to be amputated. She also suffered a broken right ankle.

Like hundreds in attendance that night in May 2017, Lisa has also been left carrying the mental scars related to what happened too, having being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Distress Order (PTSD). She says her outlook on life now is that ‘even the safest place in the world no longer feels safe’.

Yet, despite all she has suffered, she has been offered less that £20,000 in compensation from the Government, through its Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme, which is responsible for making awards to victims of crime and terror attacks.

Almost half who have made claims to the Authority have not been offered compensation at all.

Figures published last year revealed that out of 741 applications for compensation relating to physical and mental injuries suffered as a result of the terror attack, 331 did not result in a financial award, meaning 45 per cent of claims had been rejected.

Lisa Bridgett’s damaged phone after the explosion at the Manchester Arena terror attack.

Criminal Injuries compensation offer ‘disgusting’

Lisa, 50, describes the offer made to her as ‘an insult’ and says it is ‘disgusting’ that families who lost loved ones, and injured survivors, have been offered ‘scraps of help’.

“I think it’s appalling. Like most others, the only help I have had over the past five-and-a-half years has been through the public donations and the initial fundraising events after the attack.

“We had that tremendous help and support from the public initially, but I’ve not had a penny from the Government, or anyone else involved who let us down that night. That initial fundraising helped us so much, but for many, who have not been able to work or return to anywhere near a normal life since, that money will be long gone.

“I’ve been unable to bring myself to accept the offer made to me by the CICA so far as I feel it’s simply an insult. It’s like offering scraps of help.

“It’s all done by working to a spreadsheet and a table of payments dependent upon the physical and psychological injury suffered. How can that be right? They give you 100 per cent of the set award for what they class as your first injury, 30 per cent for your second injury and then 15 per cent for your third injury.

“They have offered me £13,500 for mental injuries, which they have classed as not lasting for more than five years, £3,300 for my broken ankle as the second injury and £550 for the loss of my finger as the third injury.

“It’s a joke. I simply don’t think it reflects the suffering of all from that night. I’ve been left always looking over my shoulder, untrusting, unable to breath properly, and unable to type having lost a finger. Not a day goes by when you don’t think back to what happened.

“They’ve given me a deadline to accept the offer in April or then it is taken off the table. I think it’s a terrible way to treat people who have been through so much.

“Had we all been injured by an airplane falling from the sky we would all have had significant compensation and support to help us, as somebody would have been held responsible. As yet nobody has been held responsible and that needs to change, as it was entirely preventable. The Inquiry has highlighted just how poor the security was.”

Hudgell Solicitors’ legal team preparing civil claims for compensation

Holding organisations responsible for failing to prevent Abedi is now the focus of a specialist team of lawyers at Hudgell Solicitors.

Our legal team has represented the interests of two families who lost loved ones at the Public Inquiry, and more than 150 injured survivors as civil claims for compensation are prepared, which are planned to be launched against defendants before the end of the year.

“Throughout the inquiry we saw organisations steadfastly deny being at any level of fault, but thankfully the Chairman saw through that and made it clear in his various reports and findings that serious errors contributed to this attack happening,” said solicitor Terry Wilcox.

“There are organisations who have been exposed for catastrophic failures in their duties and responsibilities to protect everybody who was injured at Manchester Arena, yet in close to six years since that attack happened, no organisation has stepped forward with an offer to make things right for those who have suffered so immeasurably.

“Every day we speak to families who lost loved ones, and to the people who were left so badly injured, both physically and psychologically, by what happened. It is a lifelong impact for them and we’ve had to partner with others willing to offer services and support out of their own pockets.

“Many have been left with life-changing injuries, many have been unable to work, and many have been left struggling to return anywhere close to the lives they lived before. They must be our focus now.”

“We need to be helping the hundreds of people whose lives were so badly affected to now live their best possible lives, with a focus on ensuing the best possible outcomes for each and every person who was there that night, and whose lives have been left forever changed.

“They need to be fully compensated for the unimaginable suffering they’ve endured, and that means much more than financially, ensuring the very best result is achieved for each and every individual from a social and wellbeing perspective, securing them the vital rehabilitation and support they need to help them towards a better future.

“Whilst we can never erase the horrors of the past, we can hopefully now work to help people towards a better future.”

‘You never move on, you live with it’

Looking ahead, Lisa, who owns a boat business near Abersoch, North Wales, says each and every person who was injured as a result of the bombing has deserved better. “You never recover and you never move on, it’s always there, you live with it” she said.

“Ashleigh never talks about it, but I know she has blamed herself for what happened as we were there for her. It has affected her but she can’t talk about it. You can be in the safest place in the world, and you don’t feel confident it’s safe anymore. I’ve had to do my best to learn to live with the fact that I was there, and with what happened to me. Everyone else is the same.

“I’m fortunate in that I was able to get back to work at my own business, but for many they have not been able to work again, left with even more serious injuries, and of course lost loved ones.

“For it to go beyond six years to compensate people is appalling, and even then we are having to fight for people to take responsibility. That’s why I’m pursuing a civil claim through my lawyers. It may be the only way to get some form of justice.”

Manchester Arena Bombing Compensation Claims

Our team of leading civil liberties and serious personal injury solicitors can represent anybody who has suffered loss and injury directly as a result of attending at the Manchester Arena on the night of the bombing.

Compensation will be sought for the pain and suffering caused by physical and psychological injuries, for loss of earnings (since the attack and into the future), rehabilitation and treatment, care needs and any broader impact on life.

If you suffered injury in the Manchester Arena bombing and are yet to secure legal support, call our team today or complete our short claim form.

Read more: Manchester Arena Bombing Compensation Claims

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