Manchester attack: Homeless man who pull nailed from children's faces says he's 'not a hero, just a normal citizen'

Stephen Jones, who pulled nails from the arms and faces of injured children before paramedics arrived, claimed it was what 'anyone would have done'

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The Independent Online

A homeless man who pulled nails from the arms and faces of injured children before paramedics arrived after the Manchester terror attack has said he is “not a hero”, claimed his actions were what “anyone else would’ve done”.

Stephen Jones was sleeping rough near Manchester Arena when he heard the explosion from the homemade bomb, which killed 22 people and injured 59. On seeing “a lot of children with blood all over them crying and screaming”, he immediately rushed to help the injured, “pulling nails out of their arms”.

Speaking to ITV News days later, the 35-year-old said he was touched by the recognition he had received, and rejected claims that he was a hero for doing what he did.

“I had tears in my eyes when I was reading some of the comments that people have put, but I’m no hero,” he said.

“I don’t class myself as a hero. I class myself as a normal citizen that would’ve done the same as anybody else would’ve done.”

Mr Jones’ actions have been recognised and rewarded by West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan and his son, who have offered to pay rent on a house for him for the next six months to “help him get on his feet”.

Mr Sullivan's son, Dave Sullivan Junior, made an appeal on Twitter on Tuesday to “find Steve”, saying that if he was found he and his father would pay rent on a house for him for six months, saying: “Such a selfless act needs rewarding.”

Shortly afterwards, Mr Sullivan posted: “WE HAVE FOUND STEVE ! Shows the power for good social media has. Thank you to all those involved, you have helped change a mans life.”

Responding to the Mr Sullivan’s offer, Mr Jones said it was a chance for him to get back into employment and get his life “back on the straight and narrow”.

“This is my chance now. I’ve done a few bad things in my life. I’ve been to prison. I was a drug user. So I want to get back on the straight and narrow. Back into work and sort my life back out again,” he told ITV News.

“The donations, the kind words and the acknowledgement was good enough for me, honestly. Even if you see my in the street and took me for a coffee that would’ve been good enough for me.”

Explaining why he decided to offer Mr Jones the offer of rent for six months, Mr Sullivan said: “Dave and myself were both hugely impressed by the bravery shown by Steve, the emergency services and all those who rushed to the aid of those affected by the Manchester attack.

“This was a terrible incident, but the response of the people of Manchester has been one of bravery, togetherness and resilience – the hallmarks of what makes Britain such a fantastic place.

“Steve was just one of hundreds of people who forgot about their own safety and rushed to the aid of others, and we were both moved by his story.”

Having located him, the Sullivans are now working with a local charity to work out how to fund a life-changing move for the hero.

“We are just trying to work out with a charity in Manchester how we pay for the accommodation for six months and give him some money for clothes and other essentials to give him as chance of getting a job and a normal life," added Mr Sullivan.

“Dave is in touch with several charities in Manchester, so they can tell us how much money to send and we'll send it. Steve deserves this chance to improve his own life after his selfless and heroic acts undoubtedly improved the lives of so many others.”

A JustGiving page set up to raise funds for ‘Steve the Hero’ had, at time of writing, raised nearly £40,000.

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