Hashem Abedi trial: Manchester attacker’s brother prevented from buying explosive ingredient after bomb warning

Mr Abedi allegedly lied to friends so they would buy bomb chemicals for him on Amazon

Lizzie Dearden
Security Correspondent
Wednesday 05 February 2020 14:55 GMT
Police officers at the Manchester Arena bomb scene
Police officers at the Manchester Arena bomb scene (AFP/Getty)

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The Manchester attacker’s brother was prevented from buying chemicals to make a bomb after a friend’s father warned it could be used to make explosives, a court has heard.

Hashem Abedi, now 22, is accused of helping his brother Salman obtain the ingredients and construct the device that killed 22 victims at Manchester Arena.

The Old Bailey heard he contacted several friends, relatives and acquaintances in efforts to buy quantities of sulphuric acid, which is a key component of TATP— an explosive that was also used in the Paris attacks in 2015.

Some allowed their online shopping accounts to be used to buy it, after Mr Abedi told them allegedly false stories that it was needed for a car battery or a generator at their family’s Libyan home.

The jury was told that one associate attempted to buy £76 worth of sulphuric acid for Mr Abedi on Amazon in March 2017, but that the purchase was declined through lack of funds.

Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC said the man then asked his father for help, but “his father refused, explaining that acid could be used to manufacture explosives”, and the purchase was not made.

Mr Penny added: “He ignored further calls which were made to him by the defendant over the coming days.”

The court heard that Mr Abedi had already obtained five litres of acid, and later contacted a friend who ordered 10 litres at a cost of £140.

Mr Penny said there was also a “direct connection” between the defendant and the first order of hydrogen peroxide — another bomb component.

The hearing was adjourned shortly after noon on Wednesday after Mr Abedi’s defence lawyers informed the court that he was “in pain” and feeling too unwell to remain in court.

Judge Jeremy Baker told the jury: “It is important that Mr Abedi is able to concentrate on the opening by Mr Penny and for that reason I’ve arranged for some inquiry to be made about his condition, to ensure that if he needs any medical intervention he receives it promptly.”

The judge said it would be appropriate to continue the hearing in his absence and adjourned it until Thursday morning.

The court previously heard that Mr Abedi is “just as responsible” for the Manchester Arena bombing as his brother, because of his assistance in building the device.

Prosecutors said that although it was Salman who blew himself up amid young Ariana Grande fans flooding out of a concert on 22 May 2017, his brother was just as guilty “as if he had selected the target and detonated the bomb himself”.

Salman Abedi killed 22 people in an attack at Manchester Arena
Salman Abedi killed 22 people in an attack at Manchester Arena (Handout)

Mr Penny told jurors that explosion was the “culmination of months of planning, experimentation and preparation by the two of them”, and that the death and carnage caused was a “shared goal” of the brothers.

Mr Abedi is accused of obtaining and experimenting with metal for constructing a bomb and obtaining a car and property in Manchester where the device could be manufactured and stored.

He denies all offences and told police that he believed Salman required the acid for family reasons.

Mr Abedi, originally from Manchester, denies 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.

The trial continues.

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