LONDON (AP) A public inquiry into a mass attack at a 2017 Ariana Grande concert in the north-west of England concluded on Thursday that serious shortcomings by theater operators, security personnel and police helped a suicide bomber who killed 22 people carry out his evil intentions.
Retired Judge John Saunders, who is leading the ongoing investigation, said Salman Abedi should have been identified as a threat by Manchester Arena security officials and a disruptive intervention should have been undertaken.
If that had happened, I consider it likely that Salman Abedi would still have detonated his device, but the loss of life and injury would likely have been less, Saunders said.
Abedi, 22, set off a backpack bomb in the arena foyer at the end of the May 22, 2017 concert, as fans, including thousands of children and young people, left the pop star show. He died in the explosion. His younger brother Hashem Abedi was convicted last year of helping to plan and carry out the attack.
Saunders recounted missed opportunities to arrest Abedi, citing the failures of arena operator SMG, security firm Showsec and the British Transport Police, the agency tasked with patrolling the Manchester City area. .
He said authorities were reluctant to believe an attack could happen, even though Britain and other European countries had suffered multiple deadly attacks in the months and years before.
I concluded that there were serious gaps in the security provided by the organizations responsible for it, as well as lapses and mistakes made by some people, Saunders said.
He said one of the biggest missed opportunities came when Christopher Wild, who was waiting to pick up his partner’s daughter from the concert, became suspicious when he saw Abedi strolling through a CCTV blind spot on a mezzanine at the above the arena hall with a large backpack. Wild said he raised his concerns with a safety representative, but was swindled.
The judge said he was sorry that no effective action had been taken to address Wilds’ concerns.
Lawyer Neil Hudgell, who represents the families of two victims, said there has been an inexcusable catalog of misconduct across the board. “
UK Home Secretary Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government was considering introducing a measure giving public places a legal obligation to take measures to protect against terrorist attacks. The idea was called Martyn’s Law after a campaign by the mother of Martyn Hett, who died in the attack on the concert.
After this report, we are one step closer to ensuring that a difference can be made, said Hett’s mother Figen Murray. Now the recommendations must be followed by the government, so that all sites are secure and no other family has to go through what we have.
Saunders’ findings appeared in the first of three planned reports on the bombing by investigation, who has been hearing testimony in Manchester since September. The others will examine the emergency response and whether the attack could have been avoided.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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