The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber has been found guilty of 22 charges of murder.


Hashem Abedi, 22, conspired with his brother Salman Abedi, who killed himself and 22 others when he detonated a bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.

Up to a thousand other people were either physically injured or suffered mental trauma as a result of the explosion.

The trial at the Old Bailey in London had heard that even though Hashem Abedi wasn’t in the UK at the time of the explosion, his DNA and fingerprints were found in the properties in Manchester where they both made the bomb.

The younger brother had denied the charges and, in an earlier statement to Greater Manchester Police, had tried to distance himself from his brother’s atrocity.

But evidence presented in court showed how he was involved in the research, experimentation and making the explosives, before returning to Libya a month before the attack.

Prosecutors said he was just as guilty as his brother.

In court, he offered no evidence in his defence and fired his legal team in the closing stages of the trial.

Martin Hibbert, one of the survivors of the attack who was just metres from the bomb, told Sky News: From the day that I woke up and was told I was never going to walk again I have just been very positive.

These people want to change the way we sit and talk today.

What they don’t want me to do is sit here with a smile on my face, living life to the full, that will hurt them more than me wanting revenge or being angry about it.

He added: It’s not just about putting his brother in prison and everyone can kind of smile and go home. I think we need to look closer to home as well.

I think there’s probably a few other people that need to be in the dock as well.

Max Hill, the CPS director of public prosecutions, told Sky News that prosecutors and police looked at every movement these men made.

The cars that they used, the telephones that they swapped, the places that they lived, the shopping trips that they went on themselves, or asked others, who didn’t know their plans, to go on for them, all of those circumstances built up into an unanswerable case, he said.

That this was a two-man job. These men planned it together and obviously, tragically, it only took one man to blow up the device and kill so many people.

He added: This was a long investigation, it required extradition for the first time from Libya to this country. And speaking for everyone in the CPS and every GMP officer who was involved we were all determined to give a sense of justice to all of those families who suffered in May 2017.

The public inquiry into the bombing is due to start later this year.

Hashem Abedi will be sentenced at a later date.

The ‘blood minds’ of the Abedi brothers

A friend of the Abedi brothers told Sky News they were both brainwashed into building the bomb that killed 22 people at the Manchester Arena.

Ahmed El Sharif grew up with the brothers in Manchester where, as teenagers, they dabbled with drugs, petty crime and called their wannabe gangster lifestyle road.

Salman, he was ‘road’… girls, weed, khat we used to chew that too, getting about in town… we used to think gangster living, he said.

El Sharif has now moved back to his home city of Benghazi in Libya and told Sky News that he saw Salman Abedi in Tripoli just two weeks before his friend bombed the Manchester Arena.

I actually linked him up two weeks before, it wasn’t a link up like we planned it, but it was like I was at a mosque and I was praying.

I felt like he was still that person that he was back in the day but there was something in there… something different in him.

He noticed his friend was dressing more traditionally and had stopped swearing – Salman Abedi didn’t discuss the specifics of what he was about to do back in their adopted city of Manchester but he had clearly changed.

You can say he switched like… 200 degrees to a different thing, to a different person.

The brain he was living in, the mind that was on his head, it was a ‘blood mind’.

These people try to brainwash you, they brainwash you, bro; try [to] tell you [that] you are going to do this, you are going to kill this person… they will give your family money and they will do so much to you for you to be convinced.

They will tell you, ‘you are going straight to heaven’ or this kind of stuff.

Blowing yourself up like Salman did, that is all them brainwashing you with the money, and how they want to make your future, and how your future will be in heaven with God – when it’s not true.

After he [Salman Abedi] done that his family got cash, they got money after that so the only thing his family have achieved is money.

As to where that brainwashing took place and who was behind it, Mr El Sharif believes it happened both in Libya and Manchester.

In Manchester, when you get spoken to and someone says you can come and fight, and you could die and you go to heaven, and when you hear that that is a big thing… but God told us to take care of our bodies and of others.

After Abedi’s conviction, lawyer Victoria Higgins, of Slater and Gordon, which represented 11 of the bereaved families, said: Families have waited a long time to see Hashem Abedi face justice for his crimes and I think the overwhelming emotion for most will be one of relief that he cannot hurt anyone else.

It has been incredibly painful for them to hear, in detail, what happened to their loved ones and the calculated way in which the Abedi brothers plotted to end their lives.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, of Greater Manchester Police, said: Although he was in Libya at the time of the attack, Hashem Abedi is every bit as guilty as his dead brother.

During his police interview, he professed not only his innocence but his desire to help police with their enquiries before then refusing to answer all further questions put to him. Then, at his trial, he offered no testimony in his own defence.

In the last few weeks Abedi absented himself from court, such was the contempt he showed for the proceedings and all those so deeply affected by this cowardly act.

We are very pleased at this verdict and we thank the jury for their deliberations.

Home Secretary Priti Patel welcomed the verdict and said: The Manchester Arena bombing was a vile and vicious attack that targeted innocent young people and children.

I want to thank the police and everyone involved in securing today’s conviction, which is a welcome result and provides justice for the victims and their families.

My thoughts continue to be with everyone affected by the attack, and in particular the victims who witnessed and suffered unimaginable horrors.

(c) Sky News 2020: Hashem Abedi: Brother of Manchester Arena bomber guilty of 22 counts of murder