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Legal firm acting for Manchester Arena family urges end to inquest delays

HM Senior Coroner for Manchester Nigel Meadows has said the full inquest could not be held due to the ongoing criminal inquiry.

Lawyers for one of the families of the 22 Manchester Arena victims have called for an end to delays to the inquests into their deaths.

HM Senior Coroner for Manchester, Nigel Meadows, has indicated to the families that a pre-inquest review scheduled for June 15 will not be effective and will amount to a “short procedural hearing”, said legal firm Broudie Jackson Canter.

During a brief 15-minute hearing held at Manchester Town Hall last November, Mr Meadows adjourned proceedings and said the full inquest and further pre-hearings could not take place due to the ongoing criminal investigation by police.

Last week Greater Manchester Police said it was preparing for a trial of suicide bomber Salman Abedi’s brother, Hashem, as the application to extradite him from Libya remains ongoing after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Even the Grenfell Inquiry, for all its faults, has at least begun in less than a year Elkan Abrahamson, solicitor

Speaking in November, Mr Meadows said the inquest proceedings must by law be suspended pending a criminal trial, in the event that Hashem Abedi, 21, – understood to be in custody in Libya – is brought back to the UK to face charges over the Manchester Arena bombing.

He said under these circumstances it was not possible or practical to proceed with the inquest hearings.

But Elkan Abrahamson, a solicitor with Broudie Jackson Canter, said: “There is something wrong with a process which is supposed to put the families and victims front and centre of the process but ends up marginalising them and making no progress.

“There may be sound legal reasons for some delay but there is no sense of urgency here even a year on.

“It seems inevitable that a High Court judge will be appointed – this could have been done a year ago. Even the Grenfell Inquiry, for all its faults, has at least begun in less than a year. We will be asking the Chief Coroner to explain the delay and to get things moving.”

Salman Abedi, 22, detonated the device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22 last year with 353 people, including 175 children, around him in the foyer of the arena venue.

More than 800 people were either physically or psychologically injured from the blast.

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