Security worker heard of suspicions about Manchester Arena bomber in lead up to attack

Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi was identified as acting suspiciously before he detonated his device, it has emerged.

A member of the public had "expressed" suspicions about Abedi, who spent an hour hanging around the City Room foyer of the venue, before detonating his device as crowds began leaving an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 innocent bystanders.

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Flowers and memorials were laid to mark the anniversary of the bombing in Manchester in May 2017.Flowers and memorials were laid to mark the anniversary of the bombing in Manchester in May 2017.
Flowers and memorials were laid to mark the anniversary of the bombing in Manchester in May 2017.

A total of 600 adults and 340 children were injured.

Kyle Lawler was a then 18-year-old employee of Showsec, which provided security and stewarding, and saw Abedi in the City Room after suspicions were raised, it emerged in a ruling by Sir John Saunders, chairman of the Manchester Arena Public Inquiry.

Sir John's written ruling said Mr Lawler should be granted "core participant" status in the inquiry and be represented by lawyers, as he "may be subject to explicit or significant criticism during the inquiry proceedings or in the report, or in any interim report".

Mr Lawler's lawyers made the application to represent him at the inquiry – due to start in September – at a preliminary hearing on Monday and Sir John's ruling was published today, Friday, July 17.

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In it the chairman said: "In an experts' report commissioned by me on security arrangements at the arena on the night of the bombing, concerns have been raised as to whether Kyle Lawler should have taken more action to draw attention to Salman Abedi's presence and the fact that it was suspicious.

"Kyle Lawler has made statements relating to what happened on the night and is due to give evidence to the Inquiry.

"I emphasise that my conclusion is only that Mr Lawler may have played a significant role or may be subject to explicit or significant criticism.”

Manchester-born Salman Abedi, 22, planned the attack with his brother Hashem, 23, who was convicted in March of 22 counts of murder following an Old Bailey trial and will be sentenced next month.

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