Brother of Manchester Arena bomber admits involvement in planning attack
Much-loved South Shields couple Chloe, 17 and Liam, 19, were among the 22 people who tragically lost their lives in the attack on May 22, 2017.
Jailed terrorist Hashem Abedi, 23, admitted his involvement in the attack during an interview in prison on October 22 as part of a probe into the atrocity.
The brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, had pleaded not guilty earlier this year to 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.
He did not give evidence at the Old Bailey but provided a pre-prepared defence statement in which he denied involvement, claimed to have been "shocked" by what his brother had done and said he did not hold extremist views.
He went on to be convicted by a jury of all the offences and was handed 24 life sentences in August with a minimum term of 55 years before he can be considered for parole.
Abedi is being detained at County Durham's maximum-security Frankland Prison where he admitted he played "a full and knowing part", during an interview, an inquiry was told.
His admission was confirmed by Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Barraclough, of Greater Manchester Police, who was the senior investigating officer in the attack probe.
Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, said to him: "You are aware, on October 22 this year, in prison serving his sentence, Hashem Abedi was interviewed by members of the inquiry legal team?"
Mr Barraclough said: "Yes, I am.
Mr Greaney said: "This will be news to others.
"You are aware, on October 22, during the course of that interview, Hashem Abedi admitted he had played a full part and a knowing part in the planning and preparation for the Arena attack?"
Mr Barraclough replied: "Yes, I think that's a fair summary."
The detective added that there is "no doubt in my mind" that the prosecution of Abedi was "entirely well founded".
The Abedi brothers, from Fallowfield in south Manchester, spent months ordering, stockpiling and transporting the deadly materials for the terror attack, using multiple mobile phones, addresses and runaround vehicles to make their bomb.
They joined their parents in Libya the month before the blast, but Salman returned to the UK on May 18.
He bought the final components needed for the bomb, rented a flat in the city centre in which to build it and carried out reconnaissance on the Arena before finally executing the plot as fans departed from an Ariana Grande concert.
Since the atrocity the families of Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry have been carrying out charitable work across South Tyneside as part of a lasting legacy to their children.
Chloe’s parents, Lisa and Mark Rutherford, and Liam’s mum, Caroline Curry, set up charity The Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust which grants bursaries to help aspiring young performers and sportspeople on their way to fulfilling their potential.