Minute’s silence held at hearing ahead of Manchester Arena inquests

A minute’s silence has been held at the start of a hearing ahead of the inquests into the deaths of the Manchester Arena bombing victims.

The names of each of the 22 victims were read out before Coroner Sir John Saunders, as lawyers and around 20 family members of the victims stood in silence at Manchester Town Hall.

One family member wiped away tears with a tissue and was hugged by a relative as stillness descended on the hearing.

They were present for the start of a further pre-inquest review hearing following the appointment in August of Sir John Saunders, one of England’s most senior judges, who will preside over the inquests.

Manchester Arena attack tributes
Manchester Arena attack tributes

Salman Abedi, 22, from Manchester, whose family settled in the UK from Libya, detonated his device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22 last year as the concert-goers, many of them youngsters, streamed out of the venue into the arms of waiting parents.

Waiting outside was suicide bomber Salman Abedi, who had a device in his backpack.

His attack left 22 dead and hundreds injured.

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquest who read out the names, said of the attacker: “He killed 22 people and many more were severely injured.

“This was, in a true sense of the word, an atrocity.”

The inquests have still to be held due to the ongoing police investigation and attempts to extradite the brother of the suicide bomber, Hashem Abedi, a suspect over the murders, from Libya.

The hearing is expected to deal with administrative matters and questions of how far the inquests can progress before any criminal trial is held.