Manchester Arena bombing: What we can expect from the public inquiry


Manchester Arena bombing: What we can expect from the public inquiry

The Manchester Arena Inquiry will investigate the deaths of the 22 victims of the terrorist attack at the venue in 2017.

After months of delays, it will start in Manchester on Monday and is expected to finish in spring 2021. The inquiry was established on 22 October last year by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Here, Sky News looks at what we can expect.

The victims

Each bereaved family will be given the opportunity to talk about their loved one.

The inquiry will hear evidence about each of the victims’ movements around the arena on the night of 22 May 2017, and their cause of death.

The questions

The criminal trial of Hashem Abedi, the brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, has only just concluded. He was jailed for a minimum of 55 years.

The trial focused on the way the brothers collaborated to build and detonate the bomb.

The inquiry will be wider and examine four key questions: whether the atrocity could have been prevented by the authorities, the build-up to the attack, the security arrangements at the arena, and the emergency response to the bombing.

The evidence

The inquiry will hear evidence from MI5, police, ambulance and fire services, those involved in the security of the arena, and bereaved families and survivors.

Many of the survivors will give their accounts of what they saw of the explosion and the appalling aftermath in the foyer of the arena.

Sir John Saunders, a retired High Court judge, will chair the independent public inquiry.

The possible failings

We expect to hear about Salman Abedi’s background, his radicalisation, and what MI5 and the police knew about him and his associates prior to the attack. One key issue will be whether they could have done more to prevent it.

The security arrangements inside and outside the arena, where an Ariana Grande concert had taken place, will be scrutinised to establish if there were any failings that may have resulted in more deaths.

Crucially, we expect to hear more about suspicions that a member of the public allegedly raised to security staff about Salman Abedi as he loitered outside the arena before setting off the bomb.

The delays

Many survivors and bereaved relatives have highlighted the time it took the emergency services and others to get into the arena to help the injured.

We expect to hear about the emergency response after the bomb went off and how effective the communication and decision-making was between the emergency services.

We will hear whether there were any failings in the emergency response that may have contributed to the 22 deaths – and ultimately whether their deaths could have been prevented.

(c) Sky News 2020: Manchester Arena bombing: What we can expect from the public inquiry