Brother of Manchester Arena bomber ‘just as responsible’ for attack, court hears

Hashem Abedi said he had ‘no inkling’ his brother was radicalised


The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber is “just as responsible” for one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the UK, a court has heard.

Hashem is on trial at the Old Bailey in London, accused of assisting his older brother Salman Abedi plan a suicide attack which killed 22 people and injured 260 at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017.

Duncan Penny QC, prosecuting, said Abedi was “just as responsible for this atrocity … as surely as if he had selected the target and detonated the bomb himself”.

Salman Abedi used an explosive vest to murder fans as they left the foyer area of the Arena, where families were picking up young concert-goers after the show had finished. The attack has been deemed one of the deadliest in the UK since the London bombings in 2005.

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The jurors were also told Hashem Abedi he had "no inkling" his brother was radicalised, despite hearing him talk of Jihad to a student on March 2, 2017.

Salem told a 16-year-old student in his car to "do chemistry so you can build a bomb", whilst Hashem was present, the court heard.

But Hashem has denied any knowledge to police that his brother held radical views, or that he was involved with making the bomb, the court heard.

The defendant, from Fallowfield, but of Libyan heritage, has previously denied every charge against him, including attempted murder and conspiring to cause an explosion with the intent to harm others.

While targeting the Manchester Arena may have been Salman’s decision, Penny said, Hashem was involved with building a device designed to “kill, maim and injured as many people as possible in the detonation”.

“This explosion was the culmination of months of planning, experimentation and preparation by the two of them. The defendant through his conduct encouraged and assisted his brother Salman to carry out this attack," the court heard.

“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 inflict maximum damage.”

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Hashem allegedly helped his brother buy chemicals and components for the bomb, purchased using the bank details of "gullible" friends and family.

The two brothers tested prototypes of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in a series of addresses around Manchester, made from vegetable oil cans that Salem took from a pizza takeaway in Stockport where he worked and a 200 amp industrial battery that Hashem allegedly bought, which he claimed was for his mother's motorhome.

The bomb used at the Manchester Arena in 2017 included a combination of shrapnel such as nuts and screws, alongside hydrogen peroxide and sulphuric acid cased inside old vegetable oil cans.

Hashem's fingerprints and DNA were found in the Arena after the attack, alongside traces of TATP, a homemade explosive, the court heard.

Raised in the Whalley Range area of Manchester, Hashem Abedi left the UK for Libya before the Arena attack but was arrested in Tripoli last year and sent to the UK to be tried for mass murder.

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The terror trial, which is expected to last eight weeks, is the biggest ever held in the UK and is being streamed live at courts in Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Glasgow for families affected by the attack. It will be presented before the judge Mr Justice Jeremy Baker.

Hashem Abedi is accused of murdering: Saffie Roussos, 8; Sorrell Leczkowski, 14; Nell Jones, 14; Eilidh MacLeod, 14; Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15; Megan Hurley, 15; Chloe Rutherford,17; Georgina Callander, 18; Liam Curry, 19; Courtney Boyle, 19; John Atkinson, 26; Martyn Hett, 29; L Philip Tron, 32; Kelly Brewster, 32; Angelika Klis, 39; Marcin Klis, 42; Lisa Lees, 43; Elaine McIver, 43; Michelle Kiss, 45; Alison Howe, 45; Wendy Fawell, 50; Jane Tweddle, 51.

The trial is ongoing and will continue at 10.30 am tomorrow.