Manchester Arena attack: bomber’s brother admits involvement

Hashem Abedi, 23. Photograph: Greater Manchester police/Reuters

By Amy Walker

Hashem Abedi, 23, makes admission for first time over bombing that killed 22 people, inquiry hears

The imprisoned terrorist Hashem Abedi, 23, has admitted for the first time his involvement in planning the Manchester Arena bombing that killed 22 people, a public inquiry has heard. Abedi, 23, the brother of the suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, made the admission in prison in October while being interviewed by two members of the inquiry’s legal team as part of the inquiry into the atrocity on 22 May 2017.

Abedi pleaded not guilty earlier this year to 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life. He did not give evidence at the Old Bailey but provided a pre-prepared defence statement in which he denied involvement, claimed to have been “shocked” by what his brother had done, and was a practising Muslim who did not hold extremist views.

In the statement, he added: “Had I any idea of it I would have reported it to my mother initially and then to other family members to prevent it from happening. “I was shocked my brother had done this and felt bad for everybody.” Abedi was convicted by a jury of all the offences and was handed 24 life sentences in August, at a sentencing hearing he refused to attend, with a minimum term of 55 years before he can be considered for parole.

On 22 October Abedi was interviewed in County Durham’s maximum-security Frankland prison where he admitted he played “a full and knowing part”, the inquiry was told.

Questioning temporary DCS Simon Barraclough, who was the senior investigating officer for Operation Manteline, the criminal investigation into the attack, Paul Greaney QC said: “On the 22 October of this year in prison serving his sentence, Hashem Abedi was interviewed by members of the inquiry legal team.

“During that interview, Hashem Abedi admitted that he had played a full part and a knowing part in the preparation for the arena attack.” Barraclough said there had been “no doubt in my mind” that the prosecution of Abedi had been “entirely well found”.

Greaney added: “So the point you are making is that it didn’t need him to tell you that you had got it right?” Barraclough responded: “I think we had got there with the trial.”

The Abedi brothers, from Fallowfield in south Manchester, spent months ordering, stockpiling and transporting the materials used in the terror attack, using multiple mobile phones, addresses and vehicles. The month before the bombing, they joined their parents in Libya, although Salman returned to the UK on 18 May 2017.

He then bought the final components needed for the bomb and rented a flat in the city centre to build it in, carrying out reconnaissance around the Manchester Arena before launching the attack as fans left an Ariana Grande concert.

Source: The Guardian