Third Manchester bomb pre-inquest hearing taking place

29 July 2019, 06:47 | Updated: 29 July 2019, 06:49

manchester arena

A court hearing will be held later today ahead of inquests into the deaths of 22 people murdered in the Manchester Arena terror bombing.

The pre-inquest review, the third, will be attended by some of the families of the 22, murdered by suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2016.

His younger brother, Hashem Abedi, in Libya at the time, was extradited from Tripoli and appeared in court in the UK for the first time last week.

The court heard Abedi, 22, denies helping his brother carry out the attack. He is charged with 22 counts of murder and will next appear before a judge at the Old Bailey on July 30.

Families of the victims have become frustrated at the lack of progress on holding the inquests, left in limbo before the criminal investigation concludes and trial of any suspects is held.

It is not clear if the inquests will go ahead before the trial of Hashem Abedi, with inquests normally held after the conclusion of any criminal proceedings.

Andrew Petherbridge, a lawyer at Hudgell Solicitors, representing some of the victim's families, said: "There have been developments in the months since, but we again simply want to reaffirm that the families we represent are desperate to see any wider contributing factors to the tragedy being fully considered openly at full inquests, as soon as possible.

"They desperately want to know more about the circumstances leading to the tragedy which saw their loved ones taken from them, and whether the outcome could have been different had things been done differently.

"These are all elements that it is hoped the inquest process may answer and they are of huge importance not only to families, but of course society as a whole.

"At present we are looking at close to three years after the bombings as being the start date for inquests at best, and this will ultimately be when the circumstances leading to the loss of 22 people's lives can finally be fully examined."

The inquests were first opened in 2018 before retired High Court Judge, Sir John Saunders.

An earlier pre-inquest hearing, in February, heard there will be a "most vigorous" investigation into whether the attack could have been prevented and the information held and actions by the police and security services.

The full inquest will also cover the build-up and the attack itself, security arrangements at the arena, the emergency response, the victims and their cause of death, and whether any deaths could have been prevented.

The pre-inquest hearing will begin at 10am at Manchester Town Hall.