Manchester Arena bomber’s brother smiled before assault on prison officer

CCTV footage caught Hashem Abedi smiling before taking part in the ‘animalistic’ attack on Paul Edwards in HMP Belmarsh.

Hashem Abedi was caught smiling on CCTV before launching an attack on a prison officer (PA)
Hashem Abedi was caught smiling on CCTV before launching an attack on a prison officer (PA)

The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber is seen smiling in CCTV footage before launching an “animalistic” attack on a Belmarsh prison officer.

Paul Edwards, 57, was hit with a chair and repeatedly punched and kicked in his office by Hashem Abedi, 24, Parsons Green Tube bomber Ahmed Hassan, 22, and a third convicted terrorist, Muhammed Saeed, 23, on May 11 2020.

CCTV footage shown at Woolwich Crown Court shows Abedi, wearing a blue Adidas tracksuit, white cap and glasses, smiling before he and the two other convicted terrorists run towards Mr Edwards’ office closely followed by prison officers.

Earlier footage shows Abedi and Hassan, with a black and white hat and dark clothing, being escorted to the prison exercise yard, returning around half an hour later with Saeed, who has long hair tied in a ponytail.

I feared for my life and I genuinely thought if I hadn't fought back I could end up with at least extreme injuries or dead

Paul Edwards, prison officer

During the attack, which was not captured on camera, Saeed launched a “karate kick” at Mr Edwards’ head before Abedi grabbed an office chair and swung it at the officer, hitting his head.

“With that and the kick, I actually ended up on the floor,” Mr Edwards told the jury. “Mr Abedi and Mr Saeed were kicking and punching me.

“They were making contact with my back, my legs, my ribs, my arms and my face as well.

“I feared for my life. At that point I saw Mr Hassan come in as well, the third man, who proceeded to kick and punch me as well.

“I just knew I had to fight to get out of there so I began to punch and kick in every direction to be honest.”

Mr Edwards added: “I feared for my life and I genuinely thought if I hadn’t fought back I could end up with at least extreme injuries or dead.”

The office chair used in the assault on prison officer Paul Edwards (PA)

He said it was only a matter of seconds but “it felt like a lifetime” before colleagues, including Nick Barnett, who has been a prison officer for 21 years, came to his aid.

Mr Barnett said he had “absolutely no expectation that anything like that was going to happen”, describing the “utter chaos” in Mr Edwards’ office.

“It was just like a pack of animals on Mr Edwards,” he said. “It was just a vicious attack where they were literally all over him.”

Mr Barnett said he was kicked in the shin by Abedi and was left with a small bruise before the prisoners were restrained.

Prison officer Paul Langridge, who has worked in Belmarsh for almost 14 years, said he was first into the office after the defendants to see them “viciously attacking” his colleague.

“All three of them were crowding round Paul Edwards. They were throwing punches, throwing kicks,” he said. “It was just a vicious, animalistic attack.”

Following the assault, Mr Edwards can be seen with head injuries and blood on his shirt in CCTV footage.

Pictures from the scene show an overturned office chair, Mr Edwards’ glasses on a desk splattered with blood and Abedi and Hassan’s hats on the carpeted floor.

The victim was left with a laceration to his head, bruising to his face, back and rib cage, and has lasting damage to his hearing.

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