A TEENAGE girl presumed dead and covered over with T-shirts and posters in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing went on to make a “miracle” recovery, an inquiry has heard.

Martin Hibbert, 44, from Bolton, fell to the ground with his daughter, Eve, then aged 14, as suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his suicide bomb around five metres away in the City Room foyer at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

Mr Hibbert suffered 22 shrapnel wounds including one which hit the centre of his back and totally severed his spinal cord, a public inquiry into the arena bombing heard.

He said where he was standing had meant he shielded Eve from the blast but one bolt got past him and struck her which caused a “very significant” brain injury, “almost like she had been shot through the head”.

He told the inquiry as he lay next to her he looked over and “one moment she was there, I could see her and the next minute she was fully covered”.

Mr Hibbert said: “It was obvious people thought she had died but, given that I was close to her, I could see even though I knew she was dying she was still breathing and and you could see that, it was almost gasping for breath.

He added: "That was always a big frustration of mine that, if I had lost consciousness, Eve wouldn’t be here.

“People were looking at her injury and saying that it was not survivable and they just covered her up even though she was alive and they weren’t qualified to make that kind of choice.

“Even if they were, you do your damnedest to ensure survivability and preservation of life. You don’t make that decision yourself and walk away.

“I don’t think I will ever get my head around that.

“I have spoken to medics and other emergency professionals and they can’t believe that has happened.”

It was up to an hour before they were moved out of the City Room and up to another hour before Mr Hibbert and his daughter were taken to separate hospitals.

Mr Hibbert said: “Given her injuries it’s just baffling why she was not put into an ambulance straightaway from the City Room and again it’s just a miracle she is still with us given the extent of her injuries ...the fact we are still in the vicinity nearly two hours later, there are just no words for it.”

The football agent said he owed his life to paramedic Paul Harvey, who went against instructions to take him to Wythenshawe Hospital and instead headed to Salford Royal Hospital, a shorter journey, where a major trauma unit was based.

He told the inquiry Eve, now 18, was at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for 10 months.

He said: “I have recently been told that the coroner actually was ringing Eve’s ward every day.

“We believe she is the only person to survive that injury in the world.

“There has been a paper written on her, so if anybody else suffers that injury they know how to care for them and get them through it."

Mr Hibbert, now confined to a wheelchair and lives in an adapted house, said his daughter would need care for the rest of her life and Eve’s mother, Sarah, had to give up her job to be her full-time carer.

He said: “But she is still there, it’s still Eve, she is still alive and I keep telling her she will inspire the world when she is ready to do it. She is a little princess.”

Mr Hibbert, who is now confined to a wheelchair, added: “I am just thankful to be alive and to be here so I’ll take it because I know there are 22 families that weren’t so lucky.”

He told the hearing it was adding “insult to our injury” for families of the deceased and survivors that medals had been given to “certain professionals where the evidence shows their professional and moral duty was not acted upon appropriately”.