LONDON: A parent who spoke to a man he suspected was a terrorist at a music venue in the UK, before a fatal attack was carried out, has said his concerns were ignored by security.
Christopher Wild was at the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017, to pick up his 14-year-old daughter and her friend after attending an Ariana Grande concert when he saw a man who he thought could “let a bomb off” with a rucksack hiding on a mezzanine.
The man, Salman Abedi, would later detonate an explosive device inside the arena, killing 22 people.
Wild was speaking at a public inquiry into the attack, which is taking evidence on events in the build up and aftermath of the tragedy.
He said he was waiting with his partner Julie Whitley and said: “I just thought he could be very dangerous.”
He said he had spotted Abedi with a rucksack, and his partner had said to him: “It’s a kids’ concert. Why should he be sat there with a massive rucksack out of sight of everyone? It’s just very strange.”
Wild added: “I started to think about things that happened in the world and I just thought he could be very dangerous.”
He said he addressed Abedi despite feeling “a bit bad” for thinking he might be a terrorist. Wild said he asked him: “It doesn’t look very good you know, what you see with bombs and such, you with a rucksack in a place like this. What are you doing?”
He said Abedi responded: “I’m waiting for somebody mate. Have you got the time? What time is it?”
Wild added that he then approached Mohammed Agha, an event steward at the venue who was in the foyer below the mezzanine.
“He (Agha) said he already knew about him. That was about it really,” Wild said. “It was as if he had more important things to deal with — but in no way do I blame him because the guy was already in there. There was nothing more he could do.”
Whitley was badly injured in the explosion. She told the inquiry that Abedi’s rucksack had caught her eye because it was “massive,” and she believed he might have been a “dodgy merchandiser.”