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Manchester Arena bomber’s brother helped to make explosives, court told

Hashem Abedi is ‘just as guilty’ of murdering the 22 people who died in the blast as his sibling, Salman, jurors at the Old Bailey heard.

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Hashem Abedi, the brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi, is on trial at the Old Bailey (Force for Deterrence in Libya/PA)

Hashem Abedi, the brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi, is on trial at the Old Bailey (Force for Deterrence in Libya/PA)

Hashem Abedi, the brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi, is on trial at the Old Bailey (Force for Deterrence in Libya/PA)

The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber helped to make the explosives which killed 22 people and injured many others who were caught up in the “ferocious” blast, a court has heard.

The murder trial of Hashem Abedi opened at the Old Bailey on Tuesday morning, as jurors were told how the atrocity unfolded.

At 10.31pm on May 22 2017, Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a large explosive device as music fans were leaving an Ariana Grande concert.

Carrying a rucksack containing the bomb, he had joined the throng of parents and families picking up young concert-goers, the court heard.

The device was packed with shrapnel made up of nuts and bolts, jurors were told.

Nineteen people died at the scene and a further three were mortally wounded.

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

Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC said: “Such was the ferocity of this explosion that Salman Abedi was dismembered in the process.”

An illustration of the aftermath appeared to show the bomber’s head and upper torso in Victoria station ticket hall, well away from other body parts strewn in the foyer.

Mr Penny said: “The scene that met the survivors and those that attended thereafter was one of destruction and chaos.”

The bomber’s brother Hashem, now also 22, is “just as guilty” of the murders as his sibling, Mr Penny told jurors.

“Twenty-two people – men, women, teenagers and a child – were killed. 28 people were very seriously injured, a further 63 people were seriously injured, 111 others were also hospitalised,” he said.

“In all, 237 were physically injured in addition to those killed, whilst a total of 670 people have since reported psychological trauma as a result of these events.

“The prosecution’s case is that this defendant is just as guilty of the murder of the 22 people killed as was his brother.

“He is equally guilty of the attempted murder of many others and in doing so he was guilty of agreeing with his brother to cause an explosion or explosions of a nature likely to endanger life.”

Mr Penny said Hashem Abedi had assisted and encouraged his brother.

The pair allegedly obtained chemicals for a home-made bomb; got metal containers to construct it; found an address in Manchester to manufacture the explosive and store it; and bought screws and nails for shrapnel.

Manchester Arena incident
Court artist sketch of Hashem Abedi, younger brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi, in the dock at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

In mid-April 2017, they also purchased a Nissan Micra to store bomb-making equipment, the court heard.

Mr Penny said the explosion was the result of months of planning, experimentation and preparation by the brothers.

He said: “The bomb which was detonated was self-evidently designed to kill and maim as many people as possible.

“It was packed with lethal shrapnel and it was detonated in the middle of a crowd in a very public area – the intention being to kill and to inflict maximum damage.”

The court heard that the brothers, whose parents are Libyan, had begun to show “some signs of radicalisation” in the years before the bombing, Salman more than Hashem.

Hashem, originally from Manchester, denies 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.

The 22 people who were killed were: off-duty police officer Elaine McIver, 43, Saffie Roussos, eight, Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, Eilidh MacLeod, 14, Nell Jones, 14, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15, Megan Hurley, 15, Georgina Callander, 18, Chloe Rutherford, 17, Liam Curry, 19, Courtney Boyle, 19, Philip Tron, 32, John Atkinson, 26, Martyn Hett, 29, Kelly Brewster, 32, Angelika Klis, 39, Marcin Klis, 42, Michelle Kiss, 45, Alison Howe, 45, Lisa Lees, 43, Wendy Fawell, 50 and Jane Tweddle, 51.

Members of the victims’ families attended the trial, which is due to go on for eight weeks.

PA