- Hashem Abedi was not present at the Old Bailey to hear the jury deliver its verdict after sacking his legal team
- He offered no defence to the charges that he had helped his brother Salman plan attack on Manchester Arena
- The vicious attack killed children, teenagers and adults as they poured out of Ariana Grande concert in 2017
- Hashem Abedi charged with 22 murders by CPS even though he was in Libya at the time of brother's suicide
- Duncan Penny QC, prosecuting, told the jury Hashem was 'just as responsible for this atrocity' as his brother
The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber is facing life in jail after a jury found him guilty of 22 counts of murder in Britain's biggest terror trial.
Hashem Abedi was not present at the Old Bailey to hear the jury deliver its verdict after he sacked his legal team in the last week of the trial and decided to take no further part in it.
He offered no defence to the charges that he had helped his brother plan the attack on the Manchester Arena in May 2017, killing children, teenagers and adults as they poured out of an Ariana Grande concert or waited for their loved ones, and critically injuring dozens more.
Hashem Abedi was charged with the 22 murders in a bold move by the Crown Prosecution Service even though he was in Libya at the time of the suicide attack by his older brother, Salman.
Duncan Penny QC, prosecuting, told the jury Hashem Abedi was 'just as responsible for this atrocity, as surely as if he had selected the target and detonated the bomb himself'.
Det Chief Supt Simon Barraclough, who led the investigation, said they had been forced to build a circumstantial case against Hashem after the brothers got rid of a series of 'operational' phones they were using for the plot.
It included detailed forensic work to determine Hashem's fingerprints were on a prototype detonator, even though they could not fingerprint him.
But the investigators came to realise that the younger brother was 'every bit, if not more, as culpable for this monstrous attack as Salman Abedi'.
The detective called it an 'absolutely enormous criminal prosecution' and added: 'The individual murder charges were a statement for us.
'It was the recognition that he was directly responsible for killing each of those 22 people in the same way Salman Abedi was. That was quite important.'
He denied claims Hashem had made, through his lawyers, that he was in fear of his older brother,' he 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.
'I believe he provided encouragement right up to the end. This is a man who has been with his brother from start to finish.'
The Abedi family were concerned the two brothers had become radicalised while living alone in the family home in Fallowfield, South Manchester.
Their parents flew back from Libya to take them home with them, but Salman managed to return to Manchester a month later without raising flags with MI5 and put the finishing touches to his bomb in four days.
His final preparations included a reconnaissance trip to the arena where Take That were performing the first of six dates, and shopping for thousands of metal nuts at outlets including Screwfix and B&Q.
Detectives believe he was speaking to Hashem on the phone back in Libya, asking him for advice on how to wire up the detonator circuit.
When he got to Shudeill tram stop on his way to the arena to launch his attack, Salman sat down on a bench, and called a family phone number in Libya, talking for four minutes and 12 seconds.
Hashem Abedi's no comment interview in which he sat motionless and let his lawyer deny his involvement in his brother's deadly attack
After Abedi's arrest he was taken in for police questioning but refused to answer a single question.
His lawyer read a statement to police in the interview which outlined Abedi's denial of any involvement in the terror attack whatsoever.
He claims he asked multiple people to purchase large amounts of sulphuric acid and hydrogen peroxide so that it could be sent to his family in Libya to use for their car battery.
Oil drums that were used to store bomb-making chemicals were found in a shed in one of the properties that the brothers would stay at.
Abedi claims that his fingerprints may be on the oil drums because he used to smoke in the shed and 'would touch items in the shed'.
While he admitted to being present on the day that bomb supplies were purchased from B&Q, he claimed his brother told him these would be used to 'do up the shed'.
He also admitted to buying nails and screws but said he believed they were being used to do the shed up.
He claimed he had no idea hydrogen peroxide was purchased.
He said he 'definitely did not have five phones'.
While he admitted that he was there when his brother purchased a white Nissan Micra for £230 via Gumtree, he said he had no idea it was used to store bomb-making items.
At this end of his statement Abedi's lawyer said he had been tortured for the past two years while being held by the Libyan militia.
After his statement was read out, a police officer asked him questions, to which he responded with no comment.
Officer: 'Where are you from in Libya?'
Abedi: 'No comment.'
Officer: 'What conversations took place between you as a family when you found this out?'
Abedi: 'No comment.'
Officer: 'How did you manage to confirm that this was what Salman had done?'
Abedi: 'No comment.'
Officer: 'Did you know if that's what he was planning?'
Abedi: 'No comment.'
Mr Barraclough said: 'I think he is ringing his brother and at that point he's getting that last-minute inspiration that last-minute advice and he's telling him what he's about to do. These two brothers are literally hand in glove in this process.'
Police and prosecutors painstakingly built up a circumstantial case against Hashem Abedi, using mobile phone data, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), fingerprint analysis, and forensic examination of the bomb.
Hashem Abedi's fingerprints were found on a rolled up piece of metal in the rubbish bins in the basement of a rents flat in Granby Row, central Manchester, that was said to be a prototype detonator.
Mobile phone cell site analysis and automatic number plate recognition placed him at a 12th floor council flat that the brothers had rented as an explosives laboratory.
He was also at Hulme Market in Manchester when the public WiFi was used to set up a gmail account that translated as 'We have come to slaughter', later used to order hydrogen peroxide.
At least 6kg of TATP could have been manufactured with the amount of hydrogen peroxide that Abedi and his brother allegedly bought on Amazon.
The bomb was packed with more than 2,500 metal nuts bought from Screwfix and B&Q, weighing 28.5kg, which caused most of the injuries, both fatal and non-fatal.
The judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, said Abedi would not be sentenced until a later date so that victims' families could plan to attend the Old Bailey, should they wish to.
He said victim impact statements would also be collected.
He said 'steps would be taken to notify the accused in writing', adding he would consider hearing submissions for Abedi to be legally represented.
The judge said Abedi would be handed a life sentence.
He added: 'The result of all of that is that a sentencing date is a little way off.'
Responding to the guilty verdict, Max Hill QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said Hashem Abedi had 'blood on his hands'.
He said: 'My thoughts are with the families of those who died and the hundreds of survivors. We should remember the 22 lives lost and those around the country whose lives have been changed forever.
'I met with some of the families last year and the CPS kept them informed in the run-up to the trial. We also ensured there were live video links in court so they could follow the case from secure locations in Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Glasgow.
'Each bereaved family was given the opportunity to meet one of our specialist prosecutors to discuss and explain the trial process. This was taken up by a number of the families. I hope the conviction gives them a sense that some justice has been done.
'Hashem Abedi encouraged and helped his brother knowing that Salman Abedi planned to commit an atrocity. He has blood on his hands even if he didn't detonate the bomb.
'The CPS worked closely with the police and partners to build a strong case from the outset. We then took steps to successfully extradite him from Libya and placed compelling evidence before the court. I want to congratulate those in the CPS's counter terrorism divison who have been working tirelessly for three years to secure Abedi's conviction.'
Some of the victims' families have spoken outside following today's news.
Figen Murray, mother of victim Martyn Hett, speaking outside court, said: 'It gives us comfort to know the British justice system has played its role but it doesn't give us closure.
'We have been shocked at the details of the case which have been difficult to listen to.'
She also paid tribute to the police for their part in bringing the case.
Ms Murray described her son as 'unique, kind, hilarious and fabulous', adding that his loss was 'something we will have to live with for the rest of our lives'.
She said the Manchester Arena attack was 'carefully planned by young men who had gone very wrong in life'.
'It has strengthened my determination to do more to work with schools to make whatever difference I can to prevent young people being radicalised,' she added.
'I will also be working with the Government on the progress for Martyn's law, which will introduce new measures to keep venues safe from terror attacks.
'Safer communities and a safer country for us all - this is the legacy we want to leave for our son.'
'We have been shocked at the details of the case which have been difficult to listen to.' She also paid tribute to the police for their part in bringing the case.
Paul Hett, whose son Martyn Hett, 29, was murdered in the blast, speaking in Manchester, said: 'I would like to thank the police force and the security services for their patience and diligence in bringing Hashem Abedi back from Libya to face justice, which was an extremely difficult task.
'I would like to thank the jury for their careful deliberations in reaching the correct verdicts. This verdict will not bring back the 22 victims murdered by Salman and Hashem Abedi.
'Nor will it restore normality to the 22 families whose lives have been totally shattered by this murderous attack. This verdict will not heal the wounds of the 264 people physically injured in the attack, many of whom with life-changing injuries.
'And this verdict will not help over 670 people who suffered psychological trauma after the attack, many still suffering today.
'But what this verdict will do is give an overwhelming sense of justice to all those affected by this heinous crime.'
The families were left incensed during the trial as Hashem Abedi repeatedly delayed it to demand fresh mineral water in jail. He also claimed he felt unwell, suffered flashbacks and was exhausted, it can now be reported.
Lawyers for the 22-year-old bomb plotter even called a halt to proceedings on the second day of the prosecution opening so they could raise his demands for bottled water in private.
The judge, Mr Justice Baker, was told Abedi refused to drink tap water at Belmarsh Prison, causing him to become severely dehydrated.
Weeks later, jurors were sent home again barely a minute into their working day after being told simply that the defendant, who had opted to stay in his cell rather than face the court during part of the previous week, was 'feeling unwell'.
His counsel, Stephen Kamlish QC, told the judge on March 3: 'The reason he's not here is because he is unwell.
'The prison have ordered a psychologist or psychiatrist to see him today. He says this morning he made an effort, left his cell, came down to the search area and just cannot carry on. He did try, he's feeling exhausted.
'Over the last two weeks or so he's been telling us this and we have been having discussions with him carrying on ... But he says the point has come where he feels he cannot come in.'
Mr Kamlish added: 'He's been having flashbacks, hardly any sleep and he's just reached the point where he's just overwhelmed by it all.'
Before the second day opened, Mr Kamlish said Abedi was dehydrated due to a lack of bottled water.
His barrister said: 'The only problem is he has not been drinking in prison. If My Lord was to say: 'Bottled water be provided'?'
The judge said it was 'essential' the situation did not occur again and that bottled water was provided.
It can also now be reported Boris Johnson was linked to the alleged torture and unprecedented extradition of Manchester Arena bombing conspirator Hashem Abedi.
In a move which briefly threatened to significantly delay the start of the seven-week trial before jurors had even been selected at the Old Bailey, defence counsel Stephen Kamlish QC asked the judge to consider any complicity of the UK Government in both Abedi's alleged ill-treatment, and the extraordinary decision to hand him over to the UK for criminal proceedings.
Mr Kamlish - who was later sacked by his client - told the court how the then-foreign secretary Mr Johnson visited Libya in August 2017, three months on from the bombing, where Abedi was being detained following his arrest two days after the attack, which killed 22 and injured hundreds more.
Mr Kamlish cited a government press release issued following Mr Johnson's visit to Libya, announcing a £9 million-plus aid package to support 'stability' in the country, which was then followed by a historic Home Office request to extradite Abedi to the UK - something agreed by Tripoli despite its previous refusal to hand over Libyan nationals to foreign jurisdictions.
The Home Office said the extradition had not broken any rules.
Abedi, who was born in Britain to Libyan parents, said he was tortured while being held in his parents' homeland, though defence requests for details of any discussions between Mr Johnson and officials in Tripoli about the Abedi case were 'ignored' by the Crown, Mr Kamlish said.
He said there were some 80 questions he felt the Crown had not answered relating to the matters of alleged torture and extradition, involving alleged complicity by the UK.
Addressing the court on January 27, the day the trial opened with legal arguments, Mr Kamlish said: 'They (the Crown) cannot show the extradition was lawful.
'Their reason for not having to do so is ignoring the obvious - that British authorities were negotiating with Libya, including sending the foreign secretary to Libya - before a decision was made.'
The court was told how Abedi had fled the UK a month before his brother Salman detonated a suicide vest as music fans left an Ariana Grande concert, and was arrested two days later in Libya.
Within days, he was probed by 'Libyan torturers' about Manchester, people who lived there and specific addresses in the city - intricate lines of questioning which could have only been passed to interrogators from the UK, Mr Kamlish said.
British officials were also aware of Abedi's complaints of 'extreme torture' - including concerns raised by his brother Ismail - long before an application to extradite him to the UK was made, the court was told.
The court heard there was clear evidence of what Abedi described as 'systemic torture' by those responsible for detaining him, and that he was mistreated 'most days' from his arrest to his 'confession' two months later.
Mr Kamlish said Abedi was 'brought into rooms with militia men, sometimes in blindfold, and sometimes with shackles', while on another occasion MI5 and MI6 representatives 'gave him (Abedi) some Heroes chocolates' with his alleged aggressors present in the room while they conducted an interview about how he was being treated.
'This was and must have been known to be a notorious torture establishment, where people were tortured and killed,' Mr Kamlish said.
'It would be obvious to HM Government and representatives when the visits took place that he was in fact being tortured.
'Once they were told that he was being tortured, we submit that any use of method of torture confession, any answers he gives, render certain evidence in this trial inadmissible.
'There is an argument, a whole line of inquiry, that information obtained under torture should not be relied upon in court.'
He added: 'After the torture was clear, the British Government do nothing to stop it, then applied for his extradition.
'If the British were playing a game around the torture and making the application quite late on, this is a matter to really bring to the court.'
Mr Kamlish challenged the Government to 'stand in court' and swear it was 'not complicit in torture'.
Duncan Penny QC, for the prosecution, described the argument as being based on a 'totally false assumption', and ruled out 'underhand tactics' from London.
'It (the allegation) might have teeth if there were evidence of British Government involving itself in underhand tactics to seek to influence Libyan judges or politicians.
'But the fact is these are proceedings which ultimately resulted in the order of the court.
'There is no evidence here that the defendant was deprived of due process in Libyan proceedings.'
The judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, said there was 'no reason to believe the prosecution hasn't carried out its duty'.
In a statement, a Home Office spokesman said: 'Hashem Abedi was extradited in line with strict legal requirements, and the defence counsel themselves abandoned their arguments regarding this process.'
In the 2017 Foreign Office press release, Mr Johnson described how Libya was 'the front line for many challenges which left unchecked can pose problems for us in the UK - particularly illegal immigration and the threat from terrorism'.
During his visit, Mr Johnson met Libyan prime minister Fayyez al-Sarraj, foreign minister Mohamed Siala and the then-president of Libya's High State Council, Abdulrahman Swehli.