Footage from Manchester Arena bomber's chilling final movements played to jurors before defence begins

Footage from Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi's chilling final movements has been played to jurors at the Old Bailey.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 12:45 pm
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 12:46 pm
File photo of emergency services at Manchester Arena after a bomb went off during an Ariana Grande concert. Picture by Peter Byrne/PA Wire

CCTV stills showed the 22-year-old carrying a rucksack containing a homemade bomb as he made his way to the venue on May 22 2017.

He waited an hour before detonating his device, packed with screws and bolts for shrapnel, as thousands of men, women and children streamed out at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at around 10.30pm.

Prosecutors say Abedi's Manchester-born brother, Hashem, now also 22, was complicit in sourcing and stockpiling components for the bomb.

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Hashem denies 22 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder encompassing the injured survivors, and conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.

The evidence was shown before jurors heard how Abedi denied involvement in the attack and the case for his defence began.

Outlining the hours up to the attack, prosecutor Duncan Penny QC told the trial how Salman made final preparations for the bomb and visited the Arena earlier in the evening, before returning home and waiting to strike.

He later journeyed to the arena and waited for concert-goers to leave before detonating the bomb at 10.31pm, causing fatal and serious injuries to innocent bystanders and decapitating himself in the process.

Mr Penny said: "As you know, the blast and shrapnel contained within the device killed 22 bystanders and caused the catalogue of injuries about which you have heard."

Jurors were then told about the 22 victims, aged between eight and 51, who were killed in the blast.

They were: Chloe Rutherford, 17, and her boyfriend Liam Curry, 19, from South Shields; Hartlepool-born Jane Tweddle, 51; and Philip Tron, 32, and his partner’s daughter Courtney Boyle, 19, from Gateshead.

The prosecution say Hashem was "just as guilty" as his brother by assisting and encouraging the suicide bomber.

Mr Penny said Salman was carrying a paint tin filled with the homemade explosive TATP, placed inside a money tin, and surrounded by a large amount of shrapnel, comprising screws and nuts.

The device - weighing an estimated 36 kilos - was then packed into a rucksack, ready for detonation, Mr Penny said.

Jurors were shown an artist's interpretation of the rucksack and the bomb contained within it during the hearing on Friday.

The court previously heard how the brothers allegedly duped friends and associates into helping to buy components of TATP, while switching vehicles and phones to ensure their actions went undetected.

They used an empty house to take delivery of the chemicals ordered on Amazon using others' bank details and fake emails, it was alleged.

After the bombing, police found a Nissan Micra parked up in the Rusholme area of Manchester containing some bags of screws and nails handled by the defendant, and more than 10 litres of sulphuric acid in the boot and traces of TATP, the court was told.

Defence case begins

Alleged Manchester Arena bomb plotter Hashem Abedi, 22, denied involvement in the attack carried out by his suicide-bomber brother as jurors began to hear the case for his defence.

In a prepared statement given to detectives questioning him after his arrest he said: "Salman Abedi was my elder brother. Both of us were born in the UK in Manchester. We grew up together mainly in Manchester.

"I deny any involvement in the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena on the 22 May, 2017. I was not involved in the instigation, preparation or commission of it. Had I had any idea of it I would have reported it to my mother initially and then to other family members to prevent it from happening.

"I was shocked my brother had done this and felt bad for everybody. I could never have envisaged that my brother had it in him to do this to innocent people."

Duncan Penny QC, prosecuting, read the statement on day four of the trial at the end of the prosecution opening. He told the jury the defendant was equally involved in the plot, ultimately carried out by his elder brother.

Hashem Abedi's prepared statement was given on August 14 2019, after he declined to answer questions from detectives.

It continued: "I am a practising Muslim. I do not hold extremist views.

"I do not delve too deep into anything other than I pray and read Koran.

"I have no interest in Daesh (ISIS) and have no sympathy or support for their ideology and extremism.

"I did attend the mosque from time to time and wear traditional clothing at the time of visiting the mosque, but this was not in support of ISIS but to practise my religion.

"I am not a member of ISIS nor do I subscribe to their way of thinking or ideology."