Bomber’s threat ‘wasn’t identified’
MANCHESTER Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi should have been identified as a threat on the night of the attack by those in charge of security, a public inquiry into the May 2017 attack has found.
In his 196-page report examining security arrangements at the venue where 22 people were murdered and hundreds were injured at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, inquiry chairman Sir John Saunders found there were a number of missed opportunities to prevent or minimise the “devastating impact”.
Sir John said he considered it was likely Abedi would still have detonated his device if confronted “but the loss of life and injury is highly likely to have been less.”
Manchester-born Abedi, 22, of Libyan descent, walked across the City Room foyer towards an exit door and detonated his shrapnel-laden device, packed into his bulging rucksack, at 10.31pm on May 22 just as thousands, including many children, left the concert.
Sir John said: “No-one knows what Salman Abedi would have done had he been confronted before 10.31pm. We know that only one of the 22 killed entered the City Room before 10.14pm. Eleven of those who were killed came from the Arena concourse doors into the City Room after 10.30pm.”
Sir John said: “The security arrangements for the Manchester Arena should have prevented or minimised the devastating impact of the attack. They failed to do so. There were a number of opportunities which were missed leading to this failure.
“Salman Abedi should have been identified on 22nd May 2017 as a threat by those responsible for the security of the Arena and a disruptive intervention undertaken. Had that occurred, I consider it likely that Salman Abedi would still have detonated his device, but the loss of life and injury is highly likely to have been less.”
He said Arena operator SMG, its security provider Showsec and British Transport Police, who patrolled the area adjoining Manchester Victoria rail station, were “principally responsible” for the missed opportunities.
He added: “Across these organisations, there were also failings by individuals who played a part in causing the opportunities to be missed.”
The inquiry heard Abedi made three reconnaissance trips to the venue, adjoining Manchester Victoria railway station, before his fateful last journey and noticed a CCTV blind spot on the raised mezzanine level of the City Room.
Retired High Court judge Sir John is issuing his findings on a rolling basis, split into three volumes.
A further report will follow on the emergency response and the experience of each of those who died, and finally an analysis of whether the atrocity committed by Abedi, could have been prevented.