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Manchester Arena accused foiled in bid to obtain ‘bomb ingredient’, court told

The Old Bailey heard that the father of a friend of Hashem Abedi refused to fund the purchase because it could be used to manufacture explosives.

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Court artist sketch dated 27/01/20 by Elizabeth Cook of Duncan Penny QC (prosecution) on his feet as Hashem Abedi, younger brother of the Manchester Arena bomber, sits in the dock at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Court artist sketch dated 27/01/20 by Elizabeth Cook of Duncan Penny QC (prosecution) on his feet as Hashem Abedi, younger brother of the Manchester Arena bomber, sits in the dock at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Court artist sketch dated 27/01/20 by Elizabeth Cook of Duncan Penny QC (prosecution) on his feet as Hashem Abedi, younger brother of the Manchester Arena bomber, sits in the dock at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber was thwarted in an attempt to source an ingredient for the explosive TATP after his friend’s father pointed out what it could be used for, a court has heard.

On May 22 2017, Hashem Abedi’s older brother Salman, 22, caused carnage when he detonated a homemade bomb packed with shrapnel as young people were leaving an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 and injuring many more.

In early March 2017, five litres of sulphuric acid, one of three components of TATP, was bought on Amazon by a young man on behalf of Hashem Abedi, the Old Bailey heard.

Around that time, he allegedly turned to a friend for help to get more, saying he needed it for a generator battery in Libya to replace some that had been spilled by his brother, jurors heard.

He told his friend, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, that he was “skint” so could not buy it himself, prosecutor Duncan Penny QC said.

An order for £76 worth of acid on Amazon was declined due to lack of funds, prompting the friend to speak to his father, the court heard.

But the father refused to help saying that the chemical could be used to manufacture explosives, it was alleged.

Manchester Arena incident
The 22 victims of the terror attack during the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena (GMP/PA)

Mr Penny said: “He ignored further calls which were made to him by the defendant over the coming days.”

Days later, Hashem Abedi was in contact with a youth who searched the internet for “sulfuric acid” (sic) at a cost of £69.36, jurors were told.

Two days later, another Amazon account, belonging to Hashem’s friend Mohammed Younis Soliman, was used to order 10 litres of sulphuric acid, jurors heard.

Mr Penny said £140 in cash was later paid into Mr Soliman’s account.

The prosecutor, examining phone records of various associates, told jurors that Sim cards were regularly “swapped” between smartphones and those not connected to the internet, sometimes staying in a handset for just a few moments.

He added: “There is a direct connection between this defendant and the first order of hydrogen peroxide.”

The prosecution alleged Hashem Abedi helped his brother in his efforts to stockpile chemicals and materials to make the bomb, making him “just as guilty”.

The defendant, now 22, originally from Manchester, denies the murder of 22 men, women and children aged between eight and 51.

He also denies attempted murder and conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.

PA