UK: Brother of Manchester Arena bomber guilty of murder

UK: Brother of Manchester Arena bomber guilty of murder

Max Hill QC

Hashem Abedi, 22, the younger brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, has been found guilty of murdering 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in 2017.

Murder carries an automatic life sentence with offenders having to serve a minimum prison term before they can apply to the Parole Board for release.

In all, 237 people were injured and 670 survivors have reported suffering from psychological trauma. Police have identified nearly 1,000 victims.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) worked with others to ensure the trial was broadcast live from the Old Bailey to three locations in England and one in Scotland so families and survivors who could follow the case.

To assist the jury the prosecution presented a timeline of events leading up to the attack using animation, images, crime scene photos and mobile phone evidence.

Items that Mr Abedi used to make early prototypes of the bomb were carefully reconstructed using fingerprints and DNA he left at various properties in Manchester.

The jury was able to see how they had been handled by him and that there could be no innocent explanation for his manipulating household items like cook oil cans.

At the Old Bailey, the jury accepted the prosecution’s case that Mr Abedi had assisted and encouraged his brother, and knew of the plans to detonate a bomb in a public place to indiscriminately kill innocent people.

Mr Abedi was in Libya at the time and became the first suspect to be successfully extradited to the UK from the country in July 2019.

Abedi did not give evidence in his defence and the jury took just four hours and 33 minutes to find him guilty of 22 counts of murder, one of attempted murder in relation to those who survived, and one of conspiracy to cause an explosion.

Max Hill QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “My thoughts are with the families of those who died and the hundreds of survivors. We should remember the 22 lives lost and those around the country whose lives have been changed forever.

“I met with some of the families last year and the CPS kept them informed in the run up to the trial. We also ensured there were live video links in court so they could follow the case from secure locations in Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, and Glasgow.

“Each bereaved family was given the opportunity to meet one of our specialist prosecutors to discuss and explain the trial process. This was taken up by a number of the families. I hope the conviction gives them a sense that some justice has been done.

“Hashem Abedi encouraged and helped his brother knowing that Salman Abedi planned to commit an atrocity. He has blood on his hands even if he didn’t detonate the bomb.

“The CPS worked closely with the police and partners to build a strong case from the outset.  We then took steps to successfully extradite him from Libya and placed compelling evidence before the court. I want to congratulate those in the CPS’s Counter-Terrorism Divison who have been working tirelessly for three years to secure Abedi’s conviction.”

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