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Father of Manchester Arena victim tells of moment ‘world fell apart’

Paul Hett spoke to ITV documentary Worlds Collide: The Manchester Bombing about losing his 29-year-old son at the Ariana Grande concert.

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Paul Hett, father of Manchester Arena attack victim Martyn Hett (Jacob King/PA)

Paul Hett, father of Manchester Arena attack victim Martyn Hett (Jacob King/PA)

Paul Hett, father of Manchester Arena attack victim Martyn Hett (Jacob King/PA)

The father of Manchester Arena bombing victim Martyn Hett has described how his “world fell apart” when he discovered his son was missing after the attack.

Paul Hett spoke to ITV documentary Worlds Collide: The Manchester Bombing about the moment he found out his 29-year-old son had been at the Ariana Grande concert on May 22 2017 when terrorist Salman Abedi detonated a device, killing 22 people.

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Martyn Hett, 29 (Manchester Arena Inquiry/PA)

Martyn Hett, 29 (Manchester Arena Inquiry/PA)

PA

Martyn Hett, 29 (Manchester Arena Inquiry/PA)

Mr Hett said: “The next morning I got up, jumped in the car, put the radio on and they were saying there had been a bomb at the Manchester Arena.

“I remember thinking how absolutely awful for those families, that must be absolutely terrible.

“So, I got my mobile phone to see if there were any messages and the text basically said: ‘We don’t want to worry you but Martyn was at the concert with us and he is missing’.

“My world fell apart.”

A public inquiry into the attack adjourned last month, with two reports on the background to the bombing, including the radicalisation of Manchester-born Abedia, due to be published later this year.

Mr Hett said: “To kill 22 people or not to kill 22 people. Salman Abedi had a choice.”

The inquiry has concluded there were “significant failures” by five British Transport Police officers on duty in the lead-up to the blast, including two of them driving away from the arena to buy kebabs on a two-hour break.

Mr Hett said: “The most damning part of the evidence was the failure of British Transport Police. They were given specific instructions that someone had to be in the City Room during egress and ingress.

“And had British Transport Police been in there it is highly likely very few people would have been killed and Martyn would still be here today.”

A spokesman for British Transport Police said: “Substantial changes have been made in British Transport Police since 2017.”

The force said it recognised there were a number of systemic failings and said subsequent improvements were presented to the inquiry in January.

Worlds Collide: The Manchester Bombing will be on ITV at 9pm on Monday and Thursday and available to watch on catch-up on the ITV Hub.

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