Manchester Arena bombing: Hashem Abedi jailed for at least 55 years | Manchester Arena attack



Hashem Abedi, the brother of the Manchester Arena bomber, has been given a life sentence with a minimum of 55 years in prison for the murder of 22 people.

Abedi, 23, who helped to plan one of the deadliest terrorist attacks ever to take place on UK soil, was not present in the courtroom after refusing to leave his cell.

Mr Justice Jeremy Barker, passing sentence, said: “Although Salman Abedi was directly responsible, it was clear the defendant took an integral part in the planning.

“The motivation for them was to advance the ideology of Islamism, a matter distinct to and abhorrent to the vast majority for those who follow the Islamic faith.

“The defendant and his brother were equally culpable for the deaths and injuries caused,” he continued.

“The stark reality is that these were atrocious crimes, large in their scale, deadly in their intent, and appalling in their consequences.

He added that if the defendant had been 21 or over at the time of the offence, the appropriate starting point for sentencing would have been a whole-life order.

Abedi, from Fallowfield in south Manchester, was found guilty by a jury in March of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life. As his sentence was passed in court, some families gasped.

The judge, who paid tribute to “the tremendous dignity and courage” of the families who attended court for the proceedings, told them that Abedi “may never be released”.

Salman Abedi, 22, detonated the shrapnel-laden bomb in the foyer of Manchester Arena at 10.31pm on 22 May 2017, as thousands of children and their guardians left an Ariana Grande concert.

A total of 22 people were killed in the attack, as well as the bomber, while more than 100 people were left wounded, some with life-changing injuries.

Together, the Abedi brothers spent months ordering, stockpiling and transporting the deadly materials required for the act, using multiple mobile phones, addresses and vehicles to prepare the bomb.

The month before the blast, the siblings had joined their parents in Libya amid concerns they were becoming radicalised.

Salman returned to the UK on 18 May 2017, where he bought the final components for the bomb, rented a flat in the city centre in which to build it and carried out reconnaissance on the area before carrying out the attack.

Ian Hopkins, the chief constable of Greater Manchester police, described the brothers as “cowardly” and “calculating murderers” who had tried to divide society. He added that Hashem had shown further “contempt” by not turning up to court proceedings.

“But they failed to do that because actually what that atrocity did do, as painful as it was for those that lost their loved ones and those injured, it brought everybody together,” said Hopkins.

“And it showed, it showed the world that we stood together here in Manchester in our darkest hour.”

During the two-day sentencing, testimony was heard from the families of the victims, many of whom fought back tears as they described their grief.



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