'This one's for you, Martyn': Counter terrorism degree for mother of Manchester Arena bomb victim

Figen Murray graduates with a distinction at the University of Central Lancashire.

The mother of Martyn Hett, who was killed in the Manchester Arena Attack, says she hopes he would have been proud as she completes a master’s degree in counter terrorism.

Figen Murray, whose son was one of 22 people who died in the 2017 terrorist attack, has graduated with a distinction from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The 60-year-old, who publicly forgave terrorist Salman Abedi less than a month after the bomb, completed the degree to try and understand why her son was killed.

She said: “Martyn would not want me to be angry and bitter but I quickly realised I knew absolutely nothing about terrorism. 

"I didn’t understand why people would be so angry to resort to blowing themselves up and take others with them.

"I wondered what made them so cross with humanity so, I had the need to find the answers to so many questions around terrorism.”

Figen explains why she decided to complete a degree in Counter Terrorism.

Originally from Stockport, Figen worked full-time as a psychotherapist until the day of the arena attack.

She gave a talk to students at UCLan and, after a conversation with course leaders Jim Bonworth and Ian Palmer, soon realised she wanted to enroll on the two-year course.

She has combined her coursework with the ongoing Manchester Arena Inquiry and attended the Old Bailey trial of the bomber's brother Hashem Abedi.

She said: “Sometimes it was difficult to sit through, say if there were photos of an attack or a major crime scene.

"I had to look away and try to ground myself in those moments, but I was determined not to leave the classroom.

"I always thought ‘Bring it on! I can do this!’ There were thankfully only a few of those tricky moments.”

"I've done it for him and I've done it for the other 21 victims" - Figen Murray.

When asked how Martyn would feel about her completing her Counter Terrorism master's degree, Figen said: "He hopefully would've been proud.

"I've done it for him and I've done it for the other 21 victims. I just hope he would approve."

Ms Murray is is now aiming to reach more young people with talks about the dangers of online radicalisation.

She is also campaigning the government for the introduction of Martyn’s Law, which will mandate security at public venues instead of having it as a recommendation.