'We'll never forgive:' Families of Manchester Arena victims Chloe and Liam react to bombing inquiry
The families of people from the North East who died in the Manchester Arena Attack say they will never forgive those involved in the murder of their children.
Today the final report from the inquiry into the attack was published. It found that there was a "significant missed opportunity to take action", which may have prevented the bombing from taking place.
On 22 May 2017, 22 people were killed when Salman Abedi detonated a homemade device in the arena. They included six people from the North East.
Evidence into the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the atrocity was heard in Manchester between 7 September 2020 and 15 February 2022.
The inquiry heard how in the months before the attack, two pieces of intelligence were received by MI5 about Abedi but were assessed at the time to relate to possible non-terrorist criminality.
Both pieces of information were not passed to police and a later review found in retrospect they could be seen to have been highly relevant to the planned attack.
Speaking following the release of the third volume of the report Caroline Curry, the mother of Liam, 19, who died alongside his girlfriend Chloe Rutherford, 17, said she hopes lessons are learned.
She hopes that this will prevent families having to endure a similar heartbreak if such an incident were to happen again.
Chloe and Liam, both from South Shields, had been a couple for almost three years when they were killed in the attack.
On Thursday 2 March, alongside Chloe's family and their legal team, Ms Curry reiterated her wish for the brother of Salman Abedi, Ismail - who remains a fugitive - to face justice.
She said: "Forgiveness will never be an option for such evil intentions, and anyone who played a part in the murder of our children will never ever get forgiveness. From top to bottom, from MI5 to the associates of the attacker, we will always believe you played a part in the murder of our children.
"We found out through this process that once you leave the safety of your home you are on your own. So many people were being paid to protect our kids, and yet so many failed in their duties. Professionals that had responsibilities, but clearly had other priorities. Security staff that even when told of the danger failed to act appropriately. Once again we'll never forgive you.
Ms Curry added: "Nothing can bring Liam and Chloe back, but we won't let them be forgotten."
She spoke of setting up the Chloe & Liam Together Forever Trust as a lasting legacy for the teenage sweethearts, saying "something positive can rise from absolute heartbreak."
June Tron lost her son Philip during the attack.
The 32-year-old had been standing with his partner's daughter, Courtney Boyle, just four metres away from the bomb when it exploded.
He suffered multiple injuries which experts say were 'unsurvivable'.
After the final report was published, Ms Tron said she was "bewildered."
"I don't feel I'm any further forward. A bit disappointed. It's still the same to me, it doesn't matter what the results are or anything. What's happened has happened. There's nothing that's gonna change it," she said.
Ms Tron added:"I do get angry. I mean, especially when I hear people who go to arenas or functions and they're not checked, you know, and this was all about it. Plans were supposed to be put into place to stop this."
In response to the inquiry's findings, Director General of MI5 Ken McCallum said: "Having examined all the evidence, the chair of the Inquiry has found that 'there was a realistic possibility that actionable intelligence could have been obtained which might have led to actions preventing the attack'. I deeply regret that such intelligence was not obtained."
"Gathering covert intelligence is difficult – but had we managed to seize the slim chance we had, those impacted might not have experienced such appalling loss and trauma.
"I am profoundly sorry that MI5 did not prevent the attack.
"MI5 exists to stop atrocities. To all those whose lives were forever changed on that awful night, I am so sorry that MI5 did not prevent the attack at the Manchester Arena."
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