‘I thought I was going to die in terror attack’ - Pocklington woman

Jess Kelly (left) with her friend Lily Woodward at the Ariana Grande gig, before the bomb terror.
Jess Kelly (left) with her friend Lily Woodward at the Ariana Grande gig, before the bomb terror.

A Pocklington woman described the terrifying moment when a bomb went off at Monday night’s blast in Manchester, leaving her fearing for her life.

Jess Kelly, 22, was at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena with friend Lily Woodward, and were among the last people to head out of the venue when terror struck.

The former Woldgate College student described the horrifying moment the bomb went off in the attack which has so far killed 22 people and left 59 injured.

“We saw straight away that it was a terror attack.

“There was speculation for a while that it was a speaker but I had never heard a noise that loud before,” she said.

“We could smell gunpowder, it was insane.

“We were going to go out for the night after that concert but we spoke to a police officer who said to get back to the hotel as quickly as we could.”

Jess said word about the attack spread so quickly, people were contacting her before she had left the venue.

“It was really weird, we were two of the last people out and we were in the stairwell that the staff use for a while.

“Before we exited the arena, my boyfriend had called, asking if we were okay.

“I couldn’t believe he had heard before we even left the arena.”

Staff at the gig had announced over the tannoy that the bang was a malfunction, which she said calmed everyone down and meant people weren’t all rushing to get out.

“People were calling and I was getting so many messages - we both told each other afterwards that we thought we were going to die.”

Jess said she was at a loss to understand why the attacker had targeted youngsters at a pop concert.

“I don’t get it whatsoever, if they have done it on purpose it’s horrific,” she said.

“Ninety per cent of people there were families, and most were young girls or teenagers.

“Everyone was so young and I cannot imagine being younger and experiencing that - I would not know what to do.

“Instantly, the atmosphere changed, everyone had had such a good time and then we heard the bomb and heard everyone screaming.

“It was instant fear - we just knew.”

Jess said she that in the hours after the attack, once it began to sink in, knowing how many people were killed or hurt was sickening.

“To be honestly, I feel worse about it now, now that all the details have come out,” she said.

“I didn’t know what was happening at the time, but at 3am they confirmed it was a terror attack and now the names of people who have died are coming out, whch makes it a bit more real.”

Jess praised the staff at the arena for their actions.

“The staff made everyone really calm, I think that was really good for us.

“I worked at DisneyWorld last summer and the protocol there was to make sure you were okay and run, but they stayed and made sure everyone was okay.”