Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Brother of Manchester Arena bomber is 'just as guilty as sibling who killed 22'

The younger brother of the Manchester Arena bomber is "just as guilty of the murder of 22 people" as his sibling, a court has heard.

On May 22, 2017 Salman Abedi, 22, killed himself and 22 other people by detonating an explosive device at an Ariana Grande concert.

Today the trial of his brother Hashem Abedi has begun.

It is alleged that the 22-year-old helped him plan the suicide attack.

A jury was sworn in at the Old Bailey in London on Monday.

On Tuesday Abedi appeared in the dock of court number two accompanied by three security officers, wearing a dark blue shirt, dark trousers and glasses.

Senior prosecutor Duncan Penny QC outlined the case for the Crown.

He described how Abedi's brother detonated a "large home-made improvised explosive device - a bomb" in the public foyer of Manchester Arena at a concert by Ariana Grande.

The lawyer said the bomb was "packed with shrapnel, contained in a rucksack on his back".

"The effects of the resulting explosion were both sudden and lethal," Mr Penny said.

The lawyer said 22 people were killed, 28 people were very seriously injured, a further 63 were seriously injured.

He added that 111 others were also taken to hospital.

He said: "In all, 237 were physically injured in addition to those killed, whilst a total of 670 people have since reported psychological trauma as a result of these events."

He said police have identified "nearly 1,000 victims".

Mr Penny said Abedi had assisted and encouraged his brother.

Abedi allegedly obtained chemicals for a home made bomb; got metal containers to construct it; found an address in Manchester to manufacture the explosive and store it and bought screws and nails for shrapnel.

In mid-April 2017, he also purchased a Nissan Micra to store bomb-making equipment, the court heard.

Mr Penny said: "The Crown's case is that this body of evidence suggests that the defendant in this case - the surviving brother - is just as responsible for the crimes that resulted in so much death, serious injury and damage following the detonation of the bomb by his dead brother."

The lawyer said the bomb was "self-evidently designed to kill and maim as many people as possible".

He added: "The law is that Hashem Abedi is just as responsible (as his brother) for this atrocity and for the offences identified in this indictment."

The trial, which is being heard before Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, is expected to go on for up to eight weeks.The trial, which is being heard before Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, is expected to go on for up to eight weeks.