Brother of Manchester bomber 'just as responsible for causing so much death', court told

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Hashem Abedi, the brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi, is on trial for mass murder. (Force for Deterrence in Libya via AP)

The brother of the Manchester bomber is “just as responsible for the murder of the 22 people killed as was his sibling”, a court has heard.

Hashem Abedi, 22, appeared in court on Tuesday charged with mass murder.

He is alleged to have been involved in planning the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert on May 2017, which killed 22 people and injured 260.

His brother Salman detonated a bomb as fans left the event at Manchester Arena.

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

Police help concert goers close to the Manchester Arena after the terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert (PA)

Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC described how Salman Abedi detonated a “large home-made improvised explosive device” packed with shrapnel.

Mr Penny said that, by helping his brother, it was as if Hashem Abedi had “detonated the bomb himself”.

He said: “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.”

Mr Penny said Abedi had assisted and encouraged his brother.

People look at flowers and tributes left in St Ann's Square in Manchester a week on from the attack at the Ariana Grande concert (PA via AP)

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.

The bomb was made of chemicals which Mr Penny said are readily available to the public online.

The improvised device was packed with “nuts, cross dowels and screws”, he told the jury.

Salman Abedi detonated the bomb at 10.31PM in the foyer of the Manchester arena.

“Such was the ferocity of the explosion that Salman Abedi was dismembered in the process,” Mr Penny said.

“The scene that met the survivors and those that attended thereafter, as you’ll understand, was one of destruction and chaos.”

Investigators the began to take an interest in Hashem Abedi’s alleged involvement, he added.

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

Mr Penny said the explosion was the result of months of planning, experimentation and preparation by the brothers.

He said: “The bomb which was detonated was self-evidently designed to kill and maim as many people as possible.

“It was packed with lethal shrapnel and it was detonated in the middle of a crowd in a very public area – the intention being to kill and to inflict maximum damage.”

The 22 victims of the terror attack during the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in May 2017. (top row left to right) Off-duty police officer Elaine McIver, 43, Saffie Roussos, 8, Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, Eilidh MacLeod, 14, (second row left to right) Nell Jones, 14, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15, Megan Hurley, 15, Georgina Callander, 18, (third row left to right), Chloe Rutherford,17, Liam Curry, 19, Courtney Boyle, 19, and Philip Tron, 32, (fourth row left to right) John Atkinson, 26, Martyn Hett, 29, Kelly Brewster, 32, Angelika Klis, 39, (fifth row left to right) Marcin Klis, 42, Michelle Kiss, 45, Alison Howe, 45, and Lisa Lees, 43 (fifth row left to right) Wendy Fawell, 50 and Jane Tweddle, 51.

Abedi, who was raised in Manchester, travelled to Libya before the attack and was arrested in Tripoli before being extradited to the UK last year. He faced 22 counts of murder, one count for each death.

Abedi also faces one count of attempted murder for the other victims, and conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.

He has previously denied the charges. The case is due to last eight weeks.

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