Manchester Arena bomb plotter Hashem Abedi sentenced to life in prison for 22 counts of murder
Convicted murderer Hashem Abedi has been sentenced to life in prison – with a minimum term of 55 years – for his part in the Manchester Arena bombing atrocity.
Abedi, now 23, was convicted by a jury in March this year of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.
Five people from the North East were among those who died.
They were; Chloe Rutherford, 17, and boyfriend Liam Curry, 19, from South Shields; Hartlepool-born Jane Tweddle, 51; and Philip Tron, 32, and his partner’s daughter Courtney Boyle, 19, from Gateshead.
Abedi was given a life sentence for each of the 22 counts of murder, with a minimum of 55 years before parole.
He may never be released.
The Old Bailey heard Abedi helped source, buy, stockpile and transport components for his older brother’s – Salman Abedi – bomb, using multiple mobile phones, vehicles and addresses to stash the deadly materials.
Jurors were then shown chilling CCTV footage of Salman travelling to the foyer of the arena, before detonating his bomb as crowds were leaving the concert.
The defendant, who travelled to Libya the month before the bombing, was arrested hours after the attack and was extradited back to Britain last summer.
Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said on Thursday, August 20 that the defendant and his brother were “equally culpable” for the deaths and injuries caused by the explosion.
He added: “The stark reality is, these were atrocious crimes. Large in scale, deadly in intent, appalling in their consequences. The despair and desolation of the bereaved families has been palpable.”
He explained that had Abedi been aged 21 or over at the time of the bombing, the appropriate starting point for sentencing would have been a whole life order.
Instead, he will serve a minimum of 55 years before being eligible for parole.
Mr Justice Baker also paid tribute to the “tremendous dignity and courage” of those affected by the tragedy.
Grieving families and survivors of the attack spoke in court on the first day of the two-day hearing on Wednesday, August 19.
Among them were the mothers of South Shields couple Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry, with Chloe’s mum Lisa Rutherford demanding answers over her daughter’s death.
“We are lost, we are devastated and we feel an overwhelming loss,” she added.
Caroline Curry, Liam’s mum, held up a photo of her son and said: “You took from me something more precious than gold, a beautiful boy, inside and out.
“I want you to look at Liam and remember the beautiful boy that was snatched away.
“Your actions have caused this heartbreak. I just feel cheated. You took his future, my future, my family’s future. All we have now is heartbreak and dreams of what if.”
Harriet Taylor also paid tribute to her mother, Jane Tweddle, in a statement which said: “We simply will not let evil win. Evil is invisible, it has no face, no heart, no race.
“But what we have that evil never will have is love.”