Hashem Abedi: Brother of Manchester Arena bomber jailed for life with 55-year minimum term over murder of 22 victims

The Manchester Arena bomber’s brother has been jailed for life for his part in the terror attack.

Hashem Abedi was convicted of murdering the 22 victims after prosecutors said he was “just as responsible” as his suicide bomber brother.

The 23-year-old dropped out of his trial and fired his legal team, then refused to attend his sentencing hearing at London’s Old Bailey.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker gave Abedi a minimum term of 55 years because the law did not allow him to pass a rare whole-life order, due to his age at the time of the attack.

Ian Hopkins, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said: “Today marks the end of a three year quest for justice, following one of the worst terrorist attacks this country has seen, and one of the darkest days in our city’s history.

“Of course, for the families and friends of those twenty two souls whose lives were brutally cut short that night in May 2017, the pain will never fully diminish.

“I know that no sentence will ever make amends for their loss, nor the suffering of the more than 1,000 people injured – many seriously or left with deep psychological wounds – who continue to live with the effect of this cowardly attack.”

Mr Hopkins said the division and hatred the Abedi brothers sought to spread was “met with strength and unity”.

In March, Abedi was found guilty of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder of the injured survivors, and plotting to cause an explosion.

He denied all charges and initially told police he wanted to cooperate with them in order to prove his innocence, but was absent for much of his trial and sacked his legal team.

Investigators believe he may have masterminded the attack, which was carried out by his older brother Salman, but Abedi could not be questioned in court because he refused to give evidence.

Isis claimed the responsibility for the bombing, which was the second and deadliest terror attack to strike Britain in 2017.

A public inquiry is scheduled to start next month, which will examine the brothers’ activities as well as potential failings by the security services to prevent the attack.

Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC told Abedi’s trial the Manchester bombing was the “culmination of months of planning, experimentation and preparation by the two” brothers.

“The law is that Hashem Abedi is just as responsible for this atrocity and for the offences identified in the indictment, just as surely as if he had selected the target and detonated the bomb himself,“ he added.

Witnesses said both brothers had developed a jihadist mindset, with one telling the court that Abedi “believed in terrorism”.

They went to school with Isis recruiter Abdulraouf Abdallah, who was jailed for helping Isis fighters travel to Syria in 2016, and later visited him in prison.

The trial heard details of how Abedi helped buy precursor chemicals to make explosives and “obtained and experimented with” bomb components.

Some of the purchases were made using benefits claimed from the British government by his mother, who moved back to Libya with her husband and younger children in 2016.

The brothers used multiple properties around Manchester to store bomb components, which were eventually kept in a car.

Salman and Hashem, who were born in Manchester, were living in the family home but travelled to Libya together in April 2017.

Salman returned to the UK alone four days before the attack to make the final preparations.

Mr Penny said Abedi was “at times chauffeur, at times quartermaster, at times electrical technician” in the plot, but then attempted to evade any responsibility for his role.

Police believe Abedi took the final call his brother made before blowing himself up, which was made to the family’s Libyan home shortly before the bombing

His fingerprints were found in a car and properties that were used to store explosive chemicals, as well as on shrapnel from the blast.

Abedi was detained in Libya less than 48 hours after his brother detonated the suicide bomb, and extradited to the UK two years later.