The parents of gay Manchester Arena bomb victim Martyn Hett have given their reaction after the bomber’s brother, Salman Abedi, received 22 life sentences for the atrocity.
The judge said Abedi will serve a minimum of 55 years in jail for his part in the bombing. He may never be released.
Salman Abedi detonated the bomb in May 2017 as people left an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in northwest England.
It killed 22 people – with the youngest victim just eight years old. Meanwhile hundreds of others suffered injuries.
Salman Abedi died in the attack.
But his brother Hashem Abedi helped source, buy, stockpile and transport the components for his brother’s bomb. He used a number of phones, vehicles and addresses in preparation for the attack.
In March a jury found him guilty of 22 counts of murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.
The judge sentenced him today at the Old Bailey – the London criminal court for the country’s most serious crimes.
Mr Justice Baker said: ‘The defendant should clearly understand the minimum term he should serve is 55 years. He may never be released.’
Shortly after, Paul Hett, Martyn’s father described the ‘rollercoaster ride of emotion’ the families and survivors had gone through. And mom Figen Murray said the sentence Abedi received shows British justice is ‘strong and fair’.
Campaigning for ‘Martyn’s Law’
Gay PR manager and writer Martyn Hett, 29, was the 10th confirmed fatality from the bomb.
The killings moved people around the world. Indeed a vigil for Martyn saw hundreds attend. Moreover friends and family have kept his memory alive ever since, marking important anniversaries.
Speaking outside the Old Bailey today, Paul Hett said:
‘I would just say that’s been a rollercoaster ride of emotion in there. But the thing that’s come through for me is the resilience and strength of everybody in there – the families.
‘It’s just incredible, absolutely incredible how people have rallied despite everything.’
Meanwhile Figen Murray said the next step is the public inquiry into the bombing which will start next month.
She said: ‘Today’s sentence given to Hasman Abedi signifies the end of another chapter in our lives.
‘It reaffirms to us that the British justice system is strong and fair and punishes those who break the law.
‘Although our lives have been deeply affected by what happened, we can now at least put the trial behind us and mentally prepare ourselves for the public inquiry that is starting soon.
‘We want to reiterate our gratitude to our amazing legal team and everyone who has supported us through the difficult times of the trial.’
Since their son’s death Murray has campaigned for mandatory security checks at major sporting and entertainment venues. Now the UK Government is moving forward with new counter-terror laws to create ‘Martyn’s Law’.
Trauma and loss
Martyn’s parents are not alone in sharing how the tragic murders affected them.
Many of the grieving families gave emotional evidence before Mr Justice Baker commenced sentencing.
They spoke of how the Abedi brothers had caused them devastating loss and gaping voids in their lives.
Meanwhile survivors said they struggled with feelings of guilt because they escaped being killed. They still worry when they see people wear backpacks on public transport.
However the 23-year-old bomber has distanced himself from the process. He previously sacked his legal team. And today, while officers brought him to the Old Bailey from Belmarsh prison, he refused to enter the dock. The judge said he wasn’t able to force him to attend.
The 22 people who were killed were: Elaine McIver, 43, Saffie Roussos, eight, 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, 28, Martyn Hett, 29, Kelly Brewster, 32, Angelika Klis, 39, Marcin Klis, 42, Michelle Kiss, 45, Alison Howe, 44, Lisa Lees, 43, Wendy Fawell, 50, and Jane Tweddle, 51.