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  1. ITV Report

Public inquiry to be held into deaths of 22 people killed in Manchester Arena terror attack

A public inquiry will be held after the Home Office and police were granted public interest immunity. Credit: PA

A public inquiry will be held into the deaths of the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack, the Home Secretary has announced.

The announcement comes as the younger brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi pleaded not guilty pleas to multiple charges of murder at an Old Bailey hearing.

Last month Sir John Saunders, who had been appointed as coroner for inquests into the deaths, wrote to Priti Patel confirming he had decided a statutory public inquiry was necessary.

He made the decision after granting applications by the Home Office and police for public interest immunity (PII) on the grounds of protecting national security and ruled that disclosing some evidence in public would "assist terrorists" in carrying out similar atrocities.

Hashem Abedi is the brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi. Credit: PA

Setting up a public inquiry would mean that such evidence could be heard in private session without the families of the victims and their lawyers being present.

On Tuesday, the Home Secretary announced inquest proceedings should be adjourned and an inquiry established to ensure that all relevant evidence could be heard.

Ms Patel said it was "vital" that the families of the victims got the "answers that they need" and that authorities "learn the lessons, whatever they may be".

"This process is an important step for those affected as they look to move on from the attack and I know that they want answers as quickly as possible," she said.

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced a public inquiry on Tuesday. Credit: PA

At an Old Bailey hearing, Hashem Abedi’s trial, which was due to start next month, was also delayed until the New Year.

On May 22, 2017, Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a suicide vest as music fans left an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people and injuring 260 more.

His sibling, Hashem Abedi, who was raised in Manchester, travelled to Libya before the attack.

The defendant, now aged 22, was arrested in Tripoli and was extradited to the UK in July.

The 22 victims of the terror attack during the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. Credit: GMP/PA

Abedi appeared at the Old Bailey before senior judge Mr Justice Baker for a plea hearing on Tuesday.

The softly spoken defendant wore glasses, a grey sweatshirt and burgundy T-shirt in the dock of court two.

It took six minutes for all the charges to be read out in court and for Abedi to enter not guilty pleas to each one in turn.

Abedi denied 22 counts of murder – one for each of the attack’s victims.

The victims were:

  • Elaine McIver, 43
  • Saffie Roussos, 8
  • Sorrell Leczkowski, 14
  • Eilidh MacLeod, 14
  • Nell Jones, 14
  • Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15
  • Megan Hurley, 15
  • Georgina Callander, 18
  • Chloe Rutherford,17
  • Liam Curry, 19
  • Courtney Boyle, 19
  • Philip Tron, 32
  • John Atkinson, 26
  • Martyn Hett, 29
  • Kelly Brewster, 32
  • Angelika Klis, 39
  • Marcin Klis, 42
  • Michelle Kiss, 45
  • Alison Howe, 45
  • Lisa Lees, 43
  • Wendy Fawell, 50
  • Jane Tweddle, 51

Abedi also faces a single count of attempted murder for all the other victims and conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.

During the hearing, the judge put off the trial from November 11 to January 13.

The case is expected to go on for up to eight weeks.

The defendant allegedly made successful and unsuccessful attempts to buy bomb-making chemicals.

It is claimed he helped in buying a Nissan Micra to store device components and he made detonator tubes for use in the explosive.

Abedi was remanded into custody at top security HMP Belmarsh.