Manchester Arena bomber's brother found guilty of mass murder

Will Taylor
News Reporter

The brother of the Manchester bomber has been found guilty of mass murder committed during an Ariana Grande concert three years ago.

Hashem Abedi, now 22, denied being a part of his older brother Salman’s plans to build a suicide bomb and detonate it in the packed Manchester Arena foyer in May 2017.

But a jury found him guilty on Tuesday of 22 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder covering all of the injured victims, and of conspiring with Salman Abedi to cause explosions.

Hashem Abedi, the brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi. (PA)

Judge Jeremy Bake, said Abedi would not be sentenced until a later date so that victims’ families could plan to attend the Old Bailey, and said victim impact statements would also be collected.

The judge said Abedi would be handed a life sentence. He added: “The result of all of that is that a sentencing date is a little way off.”

Court sketch of Hashem Abedi, younger brother of the Manchester Arena bomber, in the dock at the Old Bailey in London accused of mass murder (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Jurors were told during his six-week trial at the Old Bailey in London how Salman’s body was ripped apart when he triggered the blast, which killed victims including children in Britain’s deadliest attack since the 7 July bombings in 2005.

At the time, Hashem was in Libya with his family, but prosecutor Duncan Penny said at the opening of the trial: “The prosecution’s case is that this defendant is just as guilty of the murder of the 22 people killed as was his brother.

“He is equally guilty of the attempted murder of many others and in doing so he was guilty of agreeing with his brother to cause an explosion or explosions of a nature likely to endanger life.”

Pieces of shrapnel, including a novelty money tin, collected from the scene of the Manchester Arena terror attack. (PA/Greater Manchester Police)
Sections of wire, allegedly used in the homemade device, recovered from the scene of the Manchester Arena terror attack. (PA/Greater Manchester Police)

Max Hill, the director of public prosecutions, said: “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 prosecution said Hashem and Salman duped friends and associates into helping buy components for the homemade explosive TATP.

They are alleged to have stockpiled and transported the components for the bomb, including kilograms of screws and nails to use as shrapnel in the blast, using different addresses and vehicles in 2017.

The prosecution told the jury that Hashem would ask his employer for empty tin cans under the guise of selling them for scrap, while intending to use them as part of the bomb.

The scene close to the Manchester Arena after the terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert (PA)

Jurors were shown CCTV images of Salman carrying out reconnaissance on the arena and the final moments before he detonated the homemade device, including a still of him standing in the crowded foyer just moments before the blast.

A piece of metal found at the scene of the blast was linked to a vegetable oil tin with Hashem’s fingerprints on it and his DNA was found on several items recovered from a car said to have been used to store explosive chemicals and shrapnel ahead of the blast, the court heard.

Hashem, who said he is a practising Muslim and does not hold extremist views, denied the charges against him but did not provide evidence in his own defence.

Defence barrister Stephen Kamlish told the judge his client was aware that the jury could draw inferences from his failure to give evidence.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The Manchester Arena bombing was a vile and vicious attack that targeted innocent young people and children.

“I want to thank the police and everyone involved in securing today’s conviction, which is a welcome result and provides justice for the victims and their families.

“My thoughts continue to be with everyone affected by the attack, and in particular the victims who witnessed and suffered unimaginable horrors.”