Manchester Arena sentencing date set despite coronavirus crisis

By Emily Pennink, Old Bailey Correspondent, PA

The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber will be sentenced next month despite the coronavirus crisis.

Last Tuesday, a jury convicted Hashem Abedi in his absence of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and conspiring with his brother Salman to cause explosions.

The Old Bailey had heard how Hashem, 22, had helped plan the bombing which his brother carried out on May 22 2017.

He had made prototype bomb components, compiled two of the three chemicals to make TATP explosives and bought shrapnel, the court heard.

He was in Libya when Salman detonated the device, killing 22 men, women and children and injuring hundreds more as they left an Ariana Grande concert.

Hashem was detained by militia within 24 hours and eventually extradited back to Britain last year to face trial at the Old Bailey.

He had refused to give evidence or attend much of his trial and was absent from the dock when jurors returned unanimous verdicts.

His conviction – the result of a painstaking police investigation – came on the same day the Chief Justice for England and Wales announced moves to delay new trials involving juries.

On Monday, a court official confirmed Mr Justice Jeremy Baker would sentence Hashem over two days, on April 23 and 24, at the Old Bailey.

The defendant, who is in custody, faces a mandatory life sentence.