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September 15th 2020

Public Inquiry

‘Sorrell was not only my daughter, but my best friend – I want nothing more than to have her back.’

Terry Wilcox

Terry Wilcox

Solicitor, Civil Liberties

‘Sorrell was not only my daughter, but my best friend – I want nothing more than to have her back.’

The Manchester Arena Inquiry has heard a moving tribute to 14-year-old victim Sorrell Leczkowski in which her mother told how her death has left her family ‘broken’.

The Manchester Arena Inquiry has heard a moving tribute to 14-year-old victim Sorrell Leczkowski in which her mother told how her death has left her family ‘broken’.

Over the next two weeks of the Inquiry, relatives will provide personal insights into the 22 people killed in the 2017 bombing, and reflect upon how their own lives have been forever changed as a result.

Sorrell had gone to the Manchester Arena with her family to pick up her sister, who was at the Ariana Grande concert. Her mother Samantha and grandmother Pauline were also both seriously injured in the blast, but survived.

In a statement read out on her behalf by counsel to the inquiry, Paul Greaney QC, Sorrell’s mother described her as ‘so precious’ and said she was ‘doted on’ by her family.

She described her as a ‘very happy, positive and caring girl’ who would ‘light up the room as she entered singing and dancing’ with a ‘long, fun-filled life ahead of her’.

Samantha said: “Losing one of my children has killed me. I want nothing more than to have her back. She was my daughter and I was proud of her but she was my best friend. I could talk to her and trust her.

“It was me and my kids against the world and losing one of my children has killed me. I miss Sorrell and we want her back. I want us all to be together again. The four of us could conquer the world together and now a family is left broken.

“I don’t care that my leg doesn’t work properly. I don’t care that I’m constantly in pain from it. I feel empty, I feel sick all the time. I am beyond devastated. I’m broken. We want to do nothing and we cry so much. Our house is not a home anymore.”

Sorrell was ‘hungry for knowledge’ and had ‘whole future planned’

The inquiry heard how Sorrell was ‘hungry for knowledge’ and dreamed of studying in New York to become an architect.

She was always decorating her bedroom after watching YouTube for ideas and had created a picture wall full of images of her many friends and family.

She had her heart set on enrolling on an eight-year course in architecture at Columbia University in New York. Her family said that Sorrell had her ‘whole future planned’ and had no doubt she would have ‘achieved everything and more’.

After her death, the family received a letter from the university in which they said they wanted to offer Sorrell ‘honorary membership in our community’.

Samantha told how Sorrell’s bedroom has been left untouched since she left it when heading to Manchester on May 22, 2017.

“I cannot bring myself to alter Sorrell’s room and wish for it to remain how she liked,” she said.

“I open and close her curtains and I find comfort sitting in her bedroom talking to her. Sorrell was clever, determined and beautiful inside and out. She was not only my daughter, but she was my best friend.”

The inquiry was told how Sorrell was also ‘a constant presence’ in the lives of her grandparents, Pauline and Michael Healey, who said they had “so many laughs together.

Samantha added: “She was never bothered for material goods and as a family we made the best memories with what we had. She would help me in the house and spend lots of time with her grandparents wanting to learn how to bake and cook for all of us. She was clever, determined and beautiful inside and out.

In the final section of her statement, Samantha said: “Sorrell’s unnecessary, senseless and wrongful death has left an entire family broken.”

Terry Wilcox, of Hudgell Solicitors, is representing the family of Sorrell, and of Philip Tron, 32, of Gateshead, who also died in the attack, at the ongoing Inquiry.

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