A survivor of the devastating Manchester Arena bombing has spoken out about the tragic terror attack which claimed his partner’s life almost five years ago. Paul Price was at the arena on May 22, 2017 with his wife Elaine waiting to collect their daughter Gabrielle, then aged 13, from the Ariana Grande concert when the unthinkable happened.
Paul’s partner police officer Elaine McIver, 43, lost her life in the suicide bombing as one of the 22 murdered by Salman Abedi. As next month marks five years since the suicide bombing, Paul has now bravely spoken out to reflect on losing his partner and the aftermath that has affected his life ever since.
Paul, who sustained life-changing injuries as a result of the bombing, says he owes his life to T-shirt and poster seller Paul Reid, 48, who was one of the first on the scene after Abedi detonated a device in a rucksack. Mr Reid stayed with Paul, keeping him conscious until an ambulance arrived.
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Paul opened up about his grief and the trauma he experienced on Good Morning Britain ahead of the final part of the new ITV documentary airing tonight. Worlds Collide: The Manchester Bombing is said to uncover the truth of what really happened five years on.
Speaking to GMB hosts Adil Ray and Charlotte Hawkins, Paul said: “In the early days I found it really difficult to talk about Elaine because the hurt, the sadness, the loss was so great and it was too upsetting, but now that I can I love talking about her.
“Elaine was everything to me, she was the love of my life and I was the love of her life. But she was one of these people that you meet and you feel like you’ve known forever. She was someone that had the ability to make you want to open up to her.
“To me she was my world. Living without her everyday is so difficult but I know she would want me to carry on and live the best life that I could, and to be happy. I think if the roles were reversed I’d want her to live the best life possible and so I try and do that for me, my children and for Elaine.”
Paul revealed he is still coping with the physical injuries he sustained as he is still undergoing surgery.
“I’ve lost count of the amount of operations I’ve had, I think I had about 20 procedures whilst I was still in a coma. I was in hospital for eight months, when I eventually came out I was back and forth with surgery,” Paul said.
“I have surgery again at the end of this month. It has been ongoing the last five years its been rehab, physio, surgery, recovery. But my injuries aside it doesn’t compare to the loss of Elaine for me.”
Speaking about the traumatic events on the night and how his daughter Gabrielle, now 18, is coping, Paul said: “On the night she was waiting for her dad to pick her up and I was never going to come.
“A couple befriended them and managed to get them in a taxi and got them safely home. But it must have been so difficult for her to see me the way that I was. I felt helpless.
“It’s been a journey. Gabrielle has been so brave as has my son. You can’t look inside their heads but from what I can see she’s doing everything that a normal 18 year old should be doing. She works, she’s got lots of friends and she lives a full life. I hope she’s fine.”
Paul revealed him and his family still struggle to speak about what happened on the night of May 22.
“It’s still difficult, it’s still a touchy subject. She might get upset so she doesn’t want to talk to me about it and then I’ll get upset. But we are able to talk about it. Not so much what happened but bringing Elaine into the conversation,” Paul said.
“We don’t talk about it as much as I’d probably like to but its all ongoing.”
Paul then spoke about T-shirt and poster seller Paul Reid who saved his life and whom he met with recently.
“Everyone was running out of the arena but he ran against the tide and ran into that place. The professionals were even standing back and were told not to go in but he ran in and was there for me,” Paul said.
“I’ve got no memory of him whatsoever on the night but he stayed with me and helped me. He stopped the flow of the loss of blood and held my hand, he spoke to me all that time.
“Meeting him was really powerful, it was emotional for him and for me. What do you say to someone who potentially saved your life, how do you thank them. But I was so blessed to meet him.”
Episode 2 of Worlds Collide: The Manchester Bombing is on ITV tonight (April 14) at 9pm.