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Manchester bomb trial: ‘Bomb plotter’ hears how brother was blown to bits

shrapnel’: An
injured victim is
helped after
bomb attack
‘designed to kill
and maim as
many people
as possible’

THE brother of the Manchester Arena suicide bomber is ‘just as guilty’ of the killings of the 22 concert-goers who died, a court heard yesterday.

Hashem Abedi bought ingredients on Amazon and also used oil drums from the takeaway where he worked to build the deadly device set off by his older sibling Salman, jurors were told. The pair plotted together for months before the atrocity, it was claimed.

Prosecutor Duncan Penny said at the Old Bailey: ‘This defendant is just as guilty of the murder of the 22 people killed as was his brother. He is equally guilty of the attempted murder of many others.’ Abedi, 22, denies murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to cause explosions over the May 2017 attack at an Ariana Grande concert.

The bomb went off towards the end of the show by the US pop star, when 21,000 people were at the arena, including parents waiting to pick up their children.

Youngest victim: Saffie Roussos went to see Ariana Grande (below)

The blast left 28 survivors very seriously injured, 63 seriously injured and 111 others needing hospital treatment, the court heard. And 650 people suffered psychological trauma. Many of the victims who lost their lives were children, including eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, the youngest to die.

Abedi sat impassive in the dock as the jury heard his brother — 22 at the time — was dismembered in the explosion.

The bomber’s head and upper torso were found in Victoria Station ticket hall, far from other body parts strewn around the arena’s foyer.

The brothers had both become radicalised and carried out the attack because of their Islamist beliefs, the court heard.

Mr Penny said they conspired to produce the bomb at their family home in Fallowfield, south Manchester.

He said the younger Abedi used multiple Amazon accounts set up under various names to buy chemicals. He also allegedly bought a Nissan Micra car to use as a ‘de facto storage facility’ for bomb gear.

And he used oil drums to build several prototype devices, the court was told.

The one his brother set off was probably made from a drinks can.

But the jury heard a jagged fragment of oil drum was found at the scene after apparently being packed in the device as shrapnel. The fragment was a ‘perfect mechanical fit’ for other pieces found at the brothers’ home, Mr Penny said.

He added: ‘The bomb was self-evidently designed to kill and maim as many people as possible. It was packed with lethal shrapnel and it was detonated in the middle of a crowd — the intention being to kill and inflict maximum damage.’

Abedi claimed to have ‘no inkling’ of his brother’s murderous intent when questioned by police.

But jurors were told he was present when the bomber discussed ‘jihad’ with a schoolboy. Salman advised the youngster: ‘Do chemistry so you can build a bomb,’ the court heard.

Abedi told police he collected the oil drums to sell as scrap. But they were only worth 18p each, the jury heard, and were to be put to a ‘much more sinister’ use. The trial continues.