Public inquiry set to be launched into Manchester terror attack, which claimed life of Sheffield woman

A coroner has said inquests into the deaths of 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena attack – which included Sheffield woman Kelly Brewster - should be converted into a public inquiry.

Friday, 11th October 2019, 3:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 1:32 pm

Sir John Saunders ruled earlier this month that evidence from MI5 and the police should be kept secret on national security grounds.

He has now written to the Home Secretary to confirm he had decided a statutory public inquiry is necessary.

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Kelly Brewster

Twenty-two people were killed and hundreds injured in the 2017 bombing – including Ms Brewster, aged 33, of Arbourthorne.

Sir John wrote to Priti Patel last Friday saying that it was of "paramount importance" that inquests, which were due to start in April, should be converted into a public inquiry as "a matter of urgency."

He said: "I have reached the view that, in light of my ruling on the PII applications made by yourself and the counter-terrorism police, that such an investigation cannot now be achieved through the inquests and must be done by establishing a statutory public inquiry.

"No interested persons involved in the inquests, including the families, have made submissions objecting to this proposed course."

Sir John stressed that it was "a matter of vital public importance" that a "full, fair and fearless" investigation be held into the "terrible" events of 22 May 2017.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Now that the coroner has decided that an inquest cannot satisfactorily investigate the deaths, the Home Secretary will carefully consider his recommendation and respond as soon as possible."

Salman Abedi, aged 22, blew himself up in a suicide bombing at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

His brother Hashem Abedi, aged 22, has been charged with murder and attempted murder after being extradited from Libya.

He appeared at the Old Bailey in London yesterday for a plea and trial preparation hearing before senior judge Mr Justice Baker.

The defendant was not asked to enter pleas to the charges and the hearing was adjourned to October 22.

Abedi is charged with 22 counts of murder - one for each person killed in the attack.

He also faces a single count of attempted murder for all the other victims, and conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.

The defendant, who is in custody, is due to face trial at the Old Bailey from November 11.