Manchester Arena jurors shown suicide bomber’s final movements

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

CCTV stills showed the 22-year-old carrying a rucksack containing a home-made 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.

Court artist drawing of Hashem Abedi
Hashem Abedi denies 22 counts of murder (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

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

He later went back to the venue 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.

The prosecution say Hashem is “just as guilty” as his brother for assisting and encouraging the suicide bomber.

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

Salman Abedi on the night he carried out the terror attack
Salman Abedi on the night he carried out the terror attack (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

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 that 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 in the Rusholme area of Manchester, which contained 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.

Some of the victims’ family members were comforted in courtroom number two at the Old Bailey, a short distance from where Hashem sat impassively in the dock, as details of their loved ones’ lives were described by the prosecutor.

Mr Penny said the “dreadful events” that evening set in motion an “enormous police investigation”, with “important findings made” relating to Hashem, who, jurors heard, was in Libya at the time of the blast.

The prosecutor, reaching the end of opening the case against the defendant, said: “And so, ladies and gentlemen, the Crown suggest, it is plain that Hashem Abedi’s connection to the events in the Arena on May 22 2017 could not be clearer.

“At all stages of this dreadful chain of events, and in all locations, even through these little metal cylinders found in the basement of Granby Row (where Salman had allegedly rented in the days leading up to the blast), his presence and his involvement with this, the most monstrous of projects, loom large.”

Mr Penny said Hashem was returned to the UK from Libya in July 2019 and was later charged over the atrocity.

The trial is listed to last for eight weeks.

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