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Arena bomber ‘should never see outside of a jail cell again’

Pat Hurst, PA
·2-min read

The police chief whose force brought Manchester Arena bomber Hashem Abedi to justice has said he should never be freed even though he could not be given a whole life sentence.

Abedi, now 23, was jailed for a minimum of 55 years on Thursday after being convicted of 22 counts of murder.  His co-conspirator and older brother, Salman, killed himself in the blast.

As Abedi was aged under 21 at the time of the atrocity in May 2017, he could not be given a whole life jail sentence.

Asked about this, Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “From a personal perspective, and I know from many of my colleagues, we would very much like to have seen him receive a whole life tariff.

“Nevertheless he is going to spend a considerable part of his life in jail, where he belongs.

“And others, at some stage, many decades from now, may have to make a decision as to whether he ever gets released on licence.

“But yes, I mean I think all of us would have liked to have seen a whole life tariff because of this awful, awful, murderous act that he and his brother carried out.”

Asked if he expected Abedi to die in jail, Mr Hopkins replied: “I would suspect in all likelihood, yes, but as I say, that’s a decision for others, many, many years from now.”

Mr Hopkins said the investigation into the attack was still live and he had to be “guarded” about who detectives were still hoping to speak to.

He added: “There are others that are not available in this country for us to speak to that we would wish to interview if possible.”

Mr Hopkins described the bombing as “one of the darkest days for our city” and paid tribute to the families of the victims.

He said: “Our family liaison officers are in very close contact with them and supporting them – I suspect that they’re feeling a range of emotions as this sentence is being passed.

“The one thing I do know is they are incredibly courageous, brave people, and that whatever the amount of time he (Abedi) spends in jail, it won’t erase the pain that they all feel.

“And it showed, it showed the world, that we stood together here in Manchester in our darkest hour.

“And the fact that we’ve had this sentence and him brought to justice shows terrorists around the world – if you commit an atrocity in the UK we will do absolutely everything to make sure you stand trial here and are brought to justice.”