The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber who killed 22 people and left hundreds of others injured as they left an Ariana Grande concert has been found guilty of murder.
Hashem Abedi faces life behind bars after plotting with his older brother Salman to detonate a homemade device, with the aim of killing as many people of possible.
The brothers reportedly brought large quantities of chemicals online and met with a convicted ISIS terrorist as they planned the attack in May 2017.
Salman carried out the attack, blowing himself up in the arena foyer as Grande’s fans – including young children – left the venue to meet their parents.
Hashem, who was in Libya at the time of the attack, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and and a charge of conspiracy to cause explosions.
It is the highest murder conviction in English criminal history, and he now faces a whole life prison term.
The court heard how the Abedi brothers spent months finalising their plans, which included using the email addresses and bank accounts of their friends to purchase chemicals and pretend they were for household use.
NEW: Jury has found Hashem Abedi guilty of the murder of 22 victim in the Manchester Arena attack. Some of the families burst into tears and can be heard sobbing as the jury foreman repeats the word guilty. pic.twitter.com/ECGVk6CoVd
— Elaine Willcox (@ElaineWITV) March 17, 2020
They also used their mother’s £550-a-week benefit payments to buy tools and equipment, while Salman also established a “safe house” in Manchester in the weeks before the attack.
A month before the attack, the brothers both flew back to Libya to be with their family after friends noticed they had become radicalised.
Salman then flew to the UK alone to plot the final stages of the attack. He chose the arena after realising it was filled with 15,000 fans.
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Barraclough, who led the police investigation, said: “If you look at these two brothers, they are not kids caught in the headlights of something they don’t understand.
“These two men are the real deal, these are proper jihadis – you do not walk into a space like the Manchester Arena and kill yourself with an enormous bomb like that, taking 22 innocent lives with you, if you are not a proper jihadist.
“He was with his brother throughout the entire process of making this explosive and building this bomb, I believe he provided encouragement right up to the end. This was all about the sick ideology of Islamic State and this desire for martyrdom.”
Abedi will now be held in custody until he is sentenced at a later date.