Public hearing into Manchester Arena bombing to take place in June as terrorist's brother denies murder
An investigation into the Manchester Arena bombing that claimed the lives of 22 people will take place in June.
The public hearing had been scheduled to begin in April, but retired High Court judge Sir John Saunders, chairman of the inquiry, decided to set a new date to allow time for the trial of Hashem Abedi, the younger brother of the suicide bomber, to be concluded.
About 30 family members of people who died in the attack watched the preliminary hearing of the public inquiry at Manchester Town Hall yesterday.
The inquiry, which is expected to last more than four months, will examine the background of the bombing which killed 22 people, including 51-year-old Blackpool mum Jane Tweddle, and injured 260 others.
Suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a rucksack bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017.
Evidence is expected from Greater Manchester Police (GMP), North West Ambulance Service and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, among others.
Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, told the hearing that pen portraits of each of the victims will be given at the start of the inquiry, which will be held in a specially converted room at Manchester Magistrates' Court.
Further preliminary hearings will be held on February 28 and March 20, before the inquiry begins on June 15.
Hashem Abedi, 22, who was raised in Manchester, travelled to Libya before the attack. He was arrested in Tripoli and was extradited to the UK in July last year.
It is claimed he made successful and unsuccessful attempts to buy bomb-making chemicals.
He denies 22 counts of murder. He also faces a single count of attempted murder, representing all the other victims, and conspiring with his brother to cause the explosions. He appeared at the Old Bailey in London for the start of his trial on Monday, and is due to appear in court again today.