Man who spoke to Manchester bomber was ignored by security, inquiry hears

Salman Abedi adjusting wiring underneath his clothing as he carries his suicide bomb in a lift at Manchester Arena shortly before the attack on 22 May, 2017. (Manchester Arena Inquiry )
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Updated 20 October 2020

Man who spoke to Manchester bomber was ignored by security, inquiry hears

  • Christopher Wild said he accosted Salman Abedi before he committed fatal terror attack
  • Salman Abedi would later detonate an explosive device inside Manchester Arena, killing 22 people

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.”


Academic freed in Iran ‘blown away’ by support

Updated 38 min 32 sec ago

Academic freed in Iran ‘blown away’ by support

SYDNEY: An Australian-British academic released after two years imprisoned in Iran on spying charges said she thanked supporters from the “bottom of my heart” Tuesday, saying they helped her through a “never-ending, unrelenting nightmare.”
In her first statement since arriving back in Australia, Middle East scholar Kylie Moore-Gilbert said she was “totally blown away” by efforts from friends and family to secure her release.
“I honestly have no words to express the depth of my gratitude and how touched I am,” the 33-year-old said.
“It gave me so much hope and strength to endure what had seemed like a never-ending, unrelenting nightmare. My freedom truly is your victory. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!“
Moore-Gilbert was released last week in a swap for three Iranians linked to a botched plot to kill Israeli officials in Bangkok.
She was arrested by Iran’s hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in 2018, after attending an academic conference in the holy city of Qom in central Iran.
She was later charged with espionage and sentenced to 10 years in jail, allegations she has denied.
arb/mtp