Hashem Abedi jailed for life for murdering 22 victims of Manchester bombing

The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber has been sentenced to life in jail with a minimum of 55 years after being found guilty of 22 counts of murder.

Hashem Abedi, 23, had also been found guilty of attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life on March 17, shortly before trials were halted by the pandemic.

The Old Bailey previously heard how he had helped his older sibling Salman, blow himself himself up inside the Manchester Area, shortly after an Ariana Grande concert finished on May 22 2017. The explosion killed 22 people between the ages of eight and 51, as well as Salman, and injured 139 others.

Today in court there were audible gasps as judge Jeremy Baker jailed Abedi for life on each of the 22 counts of murder, with a minimum of 55 years before parole. He told the court: ‘The defendant should clearly understand the minimum term he should serve is 55 years. He may never be released.’

The judge also sentenced Abedi to life in prison with a minimum of 44 years for attempted murder, and a minimum of 35 years for plotting to cause an explosion. He told the court both Abedi and his brother were ‘equally culpable for the deaths and injuries caused by the explosion’.

The defendant had refused to enter court both today and yesterday as grieving relatives gave their emotional testimonies ahead of his sentencing.

On Wednesday Mr Justice Baker said: ‘My understanding is that, having been brought to this building, Hashem Abedi has refused to come into the courtroom. That is a matter for HM Probation Service rather than myself. Force cannot be used.’

The victims’ of the Manchester bombing were Elaine McIver, 43, Saffie Roussos, eight, Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, Eilidh MacLeod, 14, Nell Jones, 14, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15, Megan Hurley, 15, Georgina Callander, 18, Chloe Rutherford, 17, Liam Curry, 19, Courtney Boyle, 19, Philip Tron, 32, John Atkinson, 26, Martyn Hett, 29, Kelly Brewster, 32, Angelika Klis, 39, Marcin Klis, 42, Michelle Kiss, 45, Alison Howe, 45, and Lisa Lees, 43, Wendy Fawell, 50 and Jane Tweddle, 51.

Survivor Claire Booth broke down in tears as she told the court about the ‘guilt’ she felt that her sister Kelly had not been as fortunate. She said: ‘Sometimes I feel like a prisoner in my own home.

‘I try as much as possible to find some level of normality. I’m sad I’ve lost my sister and my sidekick. We spent a lot of time together, I struggle with feelings of guilt. Christmas and other family celebrations are just not the same any more.’

Jayne Jones, mum of victim Nell, 14, told the court the words ‘devastation, heartbroken’ did not ‘come anywhere near’ to describing their grief. She said: ‘Almost three years have passed since Nell’s death and I grieve more than ever. ‘We miss her laughter, her wicked sense of humour. But we cherish her legacy.’

Mum Lisa Rutherford described how her heart had ‘snapped’ when she received a phone call with the news that her daughter Chloe, 17, and her boyfriend Liam Curry, 19, had been involved in a terrorist attack. Wiping away tears, she said: ‘We are lost, we are devastated and we feel an overwhelming loss.’

Abedi had travelled to Libya before the bombing took place, but was extradited back to Britain to face trial after officers found his fingerprints at key sites where the explosives were kept and stored.

Prosecutors then described him as ‘just as guilty’ as his brother, as they presented evidence of them both buying nuts and screws for shrapnel and ordering chemicals from Amazon to make their homemade explosives.

The pair hid their activities by switching mobile phones and using a variety of runaround vehicles, despite neither passing their driving test, to transport components around the city, jurors were told during Abedi’s trial.

They also secured two separate addresses away from their home in Elsmore Road, Fallowfield, Manchester, with one designed to take delivery of the components and the other intended as a bomb-making factory.

In April 2017 they were made to join their parents in Libya, and left their stockpile of equipment in a second-hand Nissan Micra, bought for £250 the day before they left the UK. Salman then returned alone, buying a rucksack, more shrapnel and constructing his bomb in a rented flat, before travelling to the Manchester Arena to detonate it on May 22.

During Abedi’s trial, prosecutor Duncan Penny said he had been ‘at times chauffeur, at times quartermaster, at times electrical technician’ during the plot.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Source: Read Full Article