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Arena bomber’s brother guilty of 22 murders

Image copyright GMP Image caption Hashem Abedi was arrested in Libya the day after the bombing The brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi has been found guilty of murdering 22 people.Hashem Abedi had denied helping to plan the “sudden and lethal” blast which killed or injured “nearly 1,000”.The Old Bailey heard the pair worked…

Hashem AbediImage copyright
GMP

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Hashem Abedi was arrested in Libya the day after the bombing

The brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi has been found guilty of murdering 22 people.

Hashem Abedi had denied helping to plan the “sudden and lethal” blast which killed or injured “nearly 1,000”.

The Old Bailey heard the pair worked together to source materials used in the suicide blast after an Ariana Grande show at the venue.

Prosecutors said Hashem was “jointly responsible” with his brother for the attack on 22 May 2017.

The Manchester-born siblings “stood shoulder to shoulder” in the plot, with younger sibling Hashem “just as guilty of murder” as the bomber himself, the court heard.

Hashem was also found guilty of one count of attempted murder encompassing the remaining injured and conspiring to cause explosions.

Some of the victims’ family members burst into tears as the verdicts were delivered following a seven-week trial.

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Top (left to right): Lisa Lees, Alison Howe, Georgina Callender, Kelly Brewster, John Atkinson, Jane Tweddle, Marcin Klis, Eilidh MacLeod – Middle (left to right): Angelika Klis, Courtney Boyle, Saffie Roussos, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, Martyn Hett, Michelle Kiss, Philip Tron, Elaine McIver – Bottom (left to right): Wendy Fawell, Chloe Rutherford, Liam Allen-Curry, Sorrell Leczkowski, Megan Hurley, Nell Jones

Twenty-two men, women and children, aged eight to 51, were killed in the attack while 264 “were physically injured” and 670 more have since “reported psychological trauma as a result of these events”.

Duncan Penny QC, prosecuting, said the Abedi brothers had spent “months” planning the blast and had a “shared goal [to] kill, maim and injure as many people as possible”.

They worked together to source chemicals and buy screws and nails to use as “anti-personnel shrapnel” in experimental improvised bombs, the court was told.

The brothers used 11 mobile phones in five months – some for as little as two hours – and used a variety of vehicles, despite neither passing their driving test, to transport components around the city.

Afterwards, police found Hashem’s fingerprints at key addresses and in a car, which still contained traces of explosives.

Although Hashem was in Libya when the device was detonated he was “just as guilty”, Mr Penny said.

Greater Manchester Police said Hashem may have been the senior figure in the plot, and intended to cause “further bloodshed” around the world.

Det Ch Supt Simon Barraclough said: “He was with his brother throughout the entire process of making this explosive and building this bomb, I believe he provided encouragement right up to the end.

“This was all about the sick ideology of Islamic State and this desire for martyrdom.”

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Salman Abedi was caught on CCTV arriving at Manchester Victoria station carrying a rucksack

Det Ch Supt Barraclough said he believed Hashem had taken a four-minute phone call from Salman on the night the device went off.

“At that point he (Salman) is getting that last-minute inspiration (from Hashem)…and he’s telling him what he’s about to do,” he said.

“These two brothers are literally hand in glove in this process.”

The sentencing hearing will take place at a later date but the judge Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said it was a “little way off”.

A public inquiry into the bombing is due to begin in June.

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