Manchester Arena bombing victim John Atkinson pleaded with a police officer to help him and told her he did not want to die, the inquiry into the bombings has heard.

Mr Atkinson, 28, from Radcliffe, was six metres away from the detonation which took place at 10.31pm at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22 2017.

The public inquiry sitting in Manchester was told a member of the public, Ronald Blake, used his wife’s belt to act as a tourniquet on Mr Atkinson’s right leg soon after the blast in the City Room foyer of the venue and he did not let go of it for nearly an hour before paramedics took over.

Just before 11pm a police body-worn camera captured Mr Atkinson in conversation with Pc Chelsea Meaney in which he tells her: “I’m gonna die.”

The officer replies: “You’re not. What I need you to do is to keep breathing for me, keep your eyes open and keep talking … but you need to keep that leg still.

The Bolton News: John Atkinson, from RadcliffeJohn Atkinson, from Radcliffe

“The ambulances are on their way and they will be coming. They are not that far off and there are plenty of them coming in now.”

Pc Meaney asked Arena first aider Ryan Billington, now employed by North West Ambulance Service, to review Mr Atkinson’s condition.

Mr Billington told the inquiry he saw no signs of catastrophic bleeding, which he assessed was under control, but thought Mr Atkinson needed to be moved out of the City Room as soon as possible.

Soon after Mr Atkinson’s friend Gemma O’Donnell, who attended the Ariana Grande concert with him, managed to drag herself over and recalled him being “a bit out of it”.

She could see one of his legs was injured and reassured him, which he acknowledged with a nod, she said.

An injured Ms O’Donnell was then reluctantly evacuated herself from the City Room but thought he was OK as he was moving.

Mr Atkinson later tells arena first aider Marianne Gibson: “I’m going to die, aren’t I?,” to which she replies: “Not on my watch you’re not,” the inquiry heard.

British Transport Police (BTP) constable Jessica Bullough also assisted Mr Atkinson and recalled he was vocal and in pain.

The Bolton News: Police response at the Manchester Arena Bombing 2017Police response at the Manchester Arena Bombing 2017

He asked her to help him and said he did not want to die, she said.

A decision was made to grab a display board to carry Mr Atkinson out of the City Room, the inquiry heard.

Pc Bullough stated: “We realised that no-one was coming to help us and so it was better to get people downstairs.”

Mr Atkinson gripped on to the side of the board as he was pulled along the floor to the footbridge leading to the stairs to the station.

However, a metal barrier then needed to be fetched as the board was too “flimsy” and would not fit in a nearby lift.

Around this time Mr Atkinson was said by a police officer to be “falling in and out of consciousness” and “very pale”, with blood pumping out of both of his legs and groin area.

Another officer trying to get Mr Atkinson on the makeshift stretcher asked him where he was injured and Mr Atkinson replied: “Everywhere.”

Mr Atkinson was eventually carried down the stairs, with the journey alone from the City Room to the casualty clearing station at the adjoining Victoria railway station taking almost seven minutes, the inquiry heard.