"The courtroom gasped when the Manchester Arena bomb plotter was sentenced"

20 August 2020, 16:35

By Fiona Jones

Manchester Deputy Mayor for Policing shares the reaction of both the victims' families and the people of Manchester after the "milestone" sentencing of the bomb plotter.

The Manchester Arena bomb plotter Hashem Abedi, brother of the bomber, has been given a life sentence with a minimum tariff of 55 years.

Mr Abedi refused to come into the courtroom at the Old Bailey to face the families of the 22 victims murdered three years ago in the atrocious attack.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, passing sentence on the Manchester Arena bomb plotter said: "If the defendant, like his brother, had been 21 or over at the time of the offence, the appropriate starting point would have been a whole life order."

Deputy Mayor for Policing Baroness Bev Hughes called this "a very momentous milestone...in which the size of the tariff the judge has given to Hashem Abedi reflects his view and our view that it's the impact on the victims, the families of the people who died and the hundreds more who were seriously injured."

She told Shelagh that when the sentence was announced there was a gasp from the victims' families, which she took to mean a small moment of relief and appreciation in amongst their terrible anguish.

Jailed: Hashem Abedi, younger brother of the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi.
Jailed: Hashem Abedi, younger brother of the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi. Picture: PA

Baroness Hughes said Mr Abedi's refusal to listen to the victim statements "is to be deplored" and "says something else about his character."

"For those who lost family members, there is a hole now in the family that is glaringly obvious to them all the time...they're living with that loss all the time," Baroness Hughes said.

She told Shelagh that there are many that have had life-changing injuries with people suffering both physically and mentally; one woman, whose sister died in the terror attack, can no longer leave the house alone.

"Equally people who [experienced] completely life-changing injuries, physical but also mental illnesses."

Baroness Hughes said this sentencing today also honours the people of Manchester because the solidarity that they showed and their quiet defiance.

She reflected that when she attended the tribute in Manchester's St Anne's Square there was silence - then suddenly and quietly a young woman at the back started to sing Oasis' "Don't Look Back in Anger", which was a powerful and poignant moment.