Hasham Abedi, the younger brother of Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi, has been found guilty of murdering 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert at the venue on May 22, 2017.
The 22-year-old was not in court to hear the verdict. The Crown Prosecution Service worked with others to ensure the trial was broadcast live from the Old Bailey to three locations in England and one in Scotland, ensuring families and survivors could follow the case.
A timeline of events was presented by the prosecution to assist the jury. The timeline of events used animation, images, crime scene photos and mobile phone evidence, while items used by Abedi to make early prototypes of the bomb were carefully reconstructed using fingerprints and DNA he left at various properties in Manchester.
The jury accepted that Hasham Abedi assisted and encouraged his brother and knew of the plans to detonate a bomb in a public place. Abedi was in Libya at the time and became the first suspect to be successfully extradited from the country to the UK in July 2019.
Abedi did not give evidence in his defence. The jury took 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.
Murder carries an automatic life sentence and offenders are required to serve a minimum prison term before they can apply to the Parole Board for release.
As well as killing 22 people, the attack injured 237 and 670 survivors have reported suffering from psychological trauma. The bombing was the worst terror attack in the UK since the London Underground bombings in 2005.
Max Hill QC, 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 Division who have been working tirelessly for three years to secure Abedi’s conviction.”
In December, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed a new law that would ramp up security at public venues, including stadia and arenas, to deal with the threat of terror attacks.
Martyn Hett was among the victims of the Manchester Arena attack and his mother Figen Murray has campaigned for the introduction of ‘Martyn’s Law’, which would see public venues legally required to carry out counter-terror training and enforce specific security procedures.
Image: Matthew Hartly