Brother of the Manchester arena bomber, Hashem Abedi, has been found guilty of helping to plan a terror attack in which 22 people died at the Ariana Grande concert.
After deciding to sack his entire defence team, Hashem Abedi decided to withdraw himself from proceedings and did not attend the court in which a unanimous verdict was heard.
Each victim’s name was read out to the jury who returned a guilty verdict. Family members became emotional and were heard crying in the courtroom.
After the verdict was announced, the counter-terrorism chief stated that Abedi was driven by a “sick ideology” and that he believed nothing would have stopped his murderous activities until he was caught.
During the trial, Detective Chief Superintendant Simon Barraclough, the senior investigating officer on the night of the attack, said that Abedi did not show “one jot of emotion” or remorse throughout the trial.
“He is a man who is equally responsible as his brother for this horrendous attack, this monstrous attack. The way he has conducted himself since he landed demonstrates, even more, the jihadi mindset that would be supportive of the sick ideology of IS (Islamic State),” he added.
Hashem Abedi, younger brother of the Arena suicide Bomber Salam Abedi, has been arrested in Tripoli. pic.twitter.com/h5lPcY7yRc
— BBC North West (@BBCNWT) May 24, 2017
The bomb, which was the worst terror attack on UK soil since the 7/7 attacks, was detonated by Abedi’s older brother, Salman, and Abedi attempted to point the entire blame on his dead sibling.
Since then, it has emerged that this wasn’t the case and Abedi had stood shoulder to shoulder with his brother, acting as a quartermaster, chauffeur, and technician. They both shared the common goal to kill and maim as many people as possible in the bombing following an Ariana Grande concert.
The 22-year-old, who at the time was 19, had spent months working alongside his brother collecting ingredients and building prototype bombs.
During the six week trial, which is one of the biggest terror trials ever to be held on UK soil, the jury learnt that the brothers had begun to show signs of radicalisation when they were planning the attack. At the time they had been living on their own as their parents had returned to Libya.
Alongside his brother, Abedi decided to acquire the ingredients or “precursor chemicals” that would make a bomb. They created fictitious online accounts and used bank details and Amazon accounts of unsuspecting family and friends.
The brothers also created a cover story in which they needed to refill a large electric battery at the family home in Libya, that would be used to repower a generator.
The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber has been found guilty of 22 charges of murder.
Hashem Abedi conspired with his brother Salman Abedi, who killed himself and 22 others when he detonated a bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 17, 2020
In the meantime, Abedi had studied electrical installation and began collecting empty vegetable oil cans from a Stockport pizza takeaway. His guise was that he was selling them for scrap. In reality, he was using these containers to make a number of prototypes for explosive devices.
Just a month before the attack, the brothers had managed to accumulate up a stockpile of chemicals at two addresses in south Manchester. They would then go on to move the bomb-making ingredients.
On April 6 2017, the siblings’ parents, Ramadan and Samia, arrived back to the UK from Libya for a brief visit and the pair were informed that they would be returning to Libya on one-way tickets within a matter of days. The plane tickets had been purchased by their old brother, Ismail.
Knowing that they were soon to depart from the country, they feared that the plans would be coming to an abrupt stop. The brothers could no longer use various addresses to store the materials for their explosives.
With 48 hours to go before their departure, the brothers made a late-night purchase of a white Nissan Micra. Subsequently, the car was parked at a car park near the siblings’ home and the pair transferred the chemicals and shrapnel to the car. Just hours later, the pair departed for Libya with their parents.
However, four days later Salman returned to Manchester on his own.
Hashem Abedi, brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi, found guilty of murdering 22 people in the 2017 blast https://t.co/xYtSwHSmK5
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 17, 2020
Prosecutor Duncan Penny said: “All Salman needed to do was collect what he needed from the Micra … source some parts necessary to make the bomb viable, and find somewhere suitable both to construct it and to detonate it.”
CCTV footage than revealed the brother methodologically making the final preparations for the vicious attack. He was shown to be carrying out missions around the music venue and eventually, he would detonate his lethal homemade bomb.
Minutes before the blast, according to Libyan authorities, Abedi decided to ring his mother and young brother in Tripoli. According to one of the officials, he intended to ask for forgiveness at what he was about to let happen.
Martin Hibbert survived the Manchester Arena attack and was in court to see Hashem Abedi found guilty of 22 counts of murder: “We got justice… I thought we’d be all jubilant but it doesn’t feel like that at. all” 🐝 pic.twitter.com/7PMGVJnONI
— CapitalLivNews (@CapitalLivNews) March 17, 2020
Still shots from the night show the 22-year-old carrying a rucksack, silently watching and waiting in the City Room – this was an assembly point for concertgoers and their families – for an hour before detonating the bomb.
The explosive had been packed with screws and bolts for shrapnel detonated at the exact moment that thousands of men, women and children were exiting at the end of the concert, which ended shortly after 10:30 pm on 22 May 2017.
There were 22 casualties and 19 died at the scene, three more were treated by members of the public and emergency services but later died. There were nearly 1,000 victims of the attack who the police had to identify, including 28 people who were seriously injured, 111 others who had to be treated in hospital and 670 who suffered psychological trauma as a result.
Abedi and his father were then arrested in Libya, a day after the bombing. Ramadan, his father, was then released without charge. Despite this, it would take more than two years for British diplomats to secure his extradition.
Meanwhile, Abedi insisted that he had had no involvement in making the bombs and had “no inkling” of his brother’s radicalisation.
This was not backed up by the evidence. His DNA and fingerprints were discovered on a number of significant items, this included a piece of metal which was tightly rolled into improved cylinders and a rented flat where traces of homemade explosives were found. He was also linked to the atrocity by his phone that held a record which connected him to the crime.
At a later date, Abedi will be sentenced to 22 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder encompassing the injured survivors, and conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.