Brother of Manchester Arena bomber sentenced to at least 55 years in prison

The brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi has been sentenced to at least 55 years in prison for his part in the atrocity.

There were audible gasps in court as Mr Justice Baker jailed Hashem Abedi for life on each of the 22 counts of murder he was convicted of over the 2017 attack.

“The defendant should clearly understand the minimum term he should serve is 55 years. He may never be released,” he told the Old Bailey.

Hashem Abedi quizzed over Manchester attack
March: Hashem Abedi found guilty of 22 charges of murder

Hashem again refused come up from his cell to be in courtroom two as the judge passed sentence.

Twenty-two people were killed when Salman Abedi detonated a bomb as people were leaving an Ariana Grande concert at the venue.

He died in the attack, while hundreds of others were injured.

In March, 23-year-old Hashem was found guilty by a jury of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

He helped source, buy, stockpile and transport the components for his brother’s bomb, the court heard, using a number of phones, vehicles and addresses in preparation for the attack.

He went to Libya the month before the bombing and was arrested hours after the attack and extradited back to Britain last summer, telling police he wanted to cooperate.

The last picture of Salman Abedi, moments before the bomb went off
The brothers who bombed Manchester Arena

“Although Salman Abedi was directly responsible, it was clear the defendant took an integral part in the planning,” the judge said.

He added: “The motivation for them was to advance the ideology of Islamism, a matter distinct to and abhorrent to the vast majority for those who follow the Islamic faith.

“The defendant and his brother were equally culpable for the deaths and injuries caused.

“The stark reality is that these were atrocious crimes, large in their scale, deadly in their intent, and appalling in their consequences.

“The despair and desolation of the bereaved families has been palpable.”

The family of one of the victims, 32-year-old Kelly Brewster, said: “His sentence will never compare to the sentence we have to live for the rest of our lives without Kelly.

“One day he will be free but we will forever be broken.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the attack was a “horrifying and cowardly act of violence which targeted children and families”.

“Those who were taken from us will never be forgotten, nor will the spirit of the people of Manchester who came together to send a clear message to the entire world that terrorists will never prevail,” he said.

Mr Johnson added: “Today’s sentencing is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of tolerance, community and kindness – values which are fundamental to our country, and which we saw in Manchester in the face of unimaginable tragedy.”

The grieving families gave emotional evidence on Wednesday, as the judge began sentencing the homegrown Islamic State-inspired jihadi.

Victims’ family members spoke of their devastating loss, their grief and the gaping voids left by the brothers’ actions.

Survivors of the attack recalled feeling guilty for escaping with their lives when others did not, and for instantly thinking the worst when they saw people wearing backpacks on public transport.

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, 28, Martyn Hett, 29, Kelly Brewster, 32, Angelika Klis, 39, Marcin Klis, 42, Michelle Kiss, 45, Alison Howe, 44, Lisa Lees, 43, Wendy Fawell, 50, and Jane Tweddle, 51.

A public inquiry into the attack is set to begin next month.

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