Jailed terrorist admits involvement in Manchester Arena bombing for first time

Jailed terrorist Hashem Abedi has admitted for the first time his involvement in planning the Manchester Arena bombing which killed 22 people, a public inquiry has heard.

Abedi, 23, made the admission in prison last month while he was visited by two members of the inquiry’s legal team to be interviewed as part of the probe into the atrocity on May 22 2017.

The brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, had pleaded not guilty earlier this year to 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

He did not give evidence at the Old Bailey but provided a pre-prepared defence statement in which he denied involvement, claimed to have been “shocked” by what his brother had done and said he did not hold extremist views.

He went on to be convicted by a jury of all the offences and was handed 24 life sentences in August with a minimum term of 55 years before he can be considered for parole.

On October 22 Abedi was interviewed in prison, where he admitted he played “a full and knowing part”, the inquiry was told.

His admission was confirmed by Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Barraclough, of Greater Manchester Police, who was the senior investigating officer in the attack probe.

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, said to him: “You are aware, on October 22 this year, in prison serving his sentence, Hashem Abedi was interviewed by members of the inquiry legal team?”

Mr Barraclough said: “Yes, I am.

Mr Greaney said: “This will be news to others.

“You are aware, on October 22, during the course of that interview, Hashem Abedi admitted he had played a full part and a knowing part in the planning and preparation for the Arena attack?”

Mr Barraclough replied: “Yes, I think that’s a fair summary.”

The detective added that there is “no doubt in my mind” that the prosecution of Abedi was “entirely well founded”.

Mr Greaney said: “So the point you are making is that it didn’t need him to tell you that you had got it right?”

Mr Barraclough responded: “I think we had got there with the trial.”

No other details of the prison interview were given.