Local News

UPDATED: Mum finds "hero" homeless son after Manchester terror attack

Instead of running away from the arena, these homeless men ran towards it.

By Lorna Gray
Update:
Two homeless men were hailed as heroes for their actions following the Manchester terror attack for rushing to help victims injured by the suicide nail bomb.
Now, one of the men's mothers has reached out to her son online after seeing coverage of him on TV - she didn't even realise he was sleeping rough.
Jessica Parker saw her son Chris Parker on the news as he recounted how he comforted an injured child and cradled a woman as she died.
Mrs Parker said she'd had a rocky relationship with her son but she thought he was living with a girlfriend. Now she's desperately reaching out to him after the tragedy.
“I’m extremely proud of him and I just feel like I need to get in contact," she told Norwich Evening News. "He was knocked down in the blast and he so easily could have died — I realised that if that had happened I might have never known about it, which has really upset me the most.”
“It’s exactly the sort of thing he would do - he has such a good heart,” she continued. “He wouldn’t think twice about helping those poor people."
We hope these two are reunited soon.
Original story:
Two homeless men are being hailed as heroes after comforting the injured in their final moments after the Manchester terror attack.
Instead of running away from the pandemonium in the arena, they ran towards the victims of the suicide bomber’s blast.
Chris Parker and Stephen Jones both sleep rough in Manchester and were eye witnesses to the horrific attack following the Ariana Grande concert.
They described the horrors they witnessed in harrowing detail.
Parker regularly begs in the arena and was in the foyer when the blast exploded through the exiting crowd.
“Everyone was piling out, all happy and everything else,” Parker recounts. “As people were coming out of the glass doors I heard a bang and within a split second I saw a white flash, then smoke and then I heard screaming.”
He ran towards the victims and wrapped a bloodied child in merchandise.
"I saw a little girl. I wrapped her in one of the merchandise T-shirts and I said, 'Where is your mum and daddy?' She said, 'My dad is at work, my mum is up there.'"
Once he was sure the little girl was OK, he cradled a woman he believes to have been in her 60s as her life slipped away.
"I haven't stopped crying,” Parker told the Manchester Evening News. “The most shocking part of it is that it was a kids' concert.
"There were nuts and bolts all over the floor. People had holes in their back. It's the screams I can't get over and the smell... I don't like to say it but it smelled like burning flesh."
A fundraising page has been set up in his honour. At time of publishing, it had reached £22,056 of its £1,000 goal.
Another homeless man, Stephen Jones, was sleeping near the arena when the blast occurred.
He told ITV News: "It's just instinct to go and help if someone needs your help and it was children.
"It was a lot of children with blood all over them - crying and screaming.
"We were having to pull nails out of their arms and a couple out of this little girl's face."
"Some lady, she got cut from her side so my mate had to hold her legs up and then an ambulance guy came and a fireman and they assisted after that.
"We just held her legs up because we thought she was just going to bleed right out."
These two men prove that you always see the best in humanity along with the very, very worst.
Stephen Jones via ITV News
Police have now identified the suicide bomber who carried out the explosion that killed 22 people and injured 59 others.
The attacker, Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a homemade bomb at around 10:30 p.m on Monday near the foyer of Manchester Arena as children, teenagers and parents exited the Ariana Grande concert.
Several news outlets have revealed the assailant as a British national of Libyan descent, but police officials have declined to provide any further details.
Among his victims were eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, who attended the concert with her mother Lisa and sister Ashlee Bromwich.
Saffie has since been described by her school as “simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word.”
“She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly. Saffie was quiet and unassuming with a creative flair,” Chris Upton, her headteacher, said.
Her mother and sister are currently being treated for injuries in hospital, according to friends.
Georgina Callander, 18, was confirmed as another fatality.

Before attending the concert in Manchester, she sent a Twitter message to the American-based performer, saying: "SO EXCITED TO SEE U TOMORROW".
And in August last year, the superfan sent out a heartbreakingly eerie tweet, writing: “@ArianaGrande i miss you sooo much - can wait to see you on the dw tour, its gonna kill me.”
The militant group Islamic State are claiming responsibility for the attack.