The Address | Benghazi – Libya
LONDON – The Jury in the trial of the brother of the Manchester Arena bomber have retired to consider their verdicts.
Hashem Abedi, 22, is accused of helping his brother Salman plan the May 2017 blast at the Manchester Arena which killed twenty two people and injured hundreds.
The court heard the brothers targeted their network of friends in Manchester’s Libyan community to help buy chemicals from Amazon, delivered to a variety of homes across the city, and stockpiled at safe-houses.
The brothers constantly swapped between 11 different mobile phones in five months – some in play for as little as two hours – and used a variety of runaround vehicles, despite neither passing their driving test, to transport components around the city, the court was told.
Prosecutors said the brothers’ plans were briefly scuppered when their parents insisted they join them in returning to Libya in April 2017, forcing the brothers to stockpile their murderous wares in a second-hand Nissan Micra, bought for £250 the day before they left the UK.
Salman spent less than a month in Libya before flying back to the UK, where he bought a rucksack, more shrapnel, and constructed his bomb in a one-bedroom short-term let in central Manchester.
Four days after arriving in the UK, he detonated the bomb. Hashem was arrested in Libya less than 48 hours later.
Hashem has chosen not to give evidence in his defense. In a statement read to jurors, he said:
“Had I had any idea of it I would have reported it to my mother initially and then to other family members to prevent it from happening. I was shocked my brother had done this and felt bad for everybody.
“I could never have envisaged that my brother had it in him to do this to innocent people.”
Abedi said he was a practicing Muslim but did not hold extremist views, adding: “I know nothing about the purchase, storage, preparation and production of homemade explosives and constituent parts including what associated equipment is required.