Manchester attack: Minute's silence at opening of inquests

Tributes at St Ann's Square Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The inquests into the deaths of the 22 victims were adjourned until 24 November

A minute's silence has been held at the start of the inquests into those who died in the Manchester Arena attack.

Twenty-two people died when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a home-made device in the arena's foyer on 22 May following an Ariana Grande concert.

Det Supt Jonathan Chadwick told the hearing the bomb was "designed to kill and maim indiscriminately".

Coroner Nigel Meadows said the inquests at Manchester Civil Justice Centre would be adjourned until 24 November.

The hearing was shown a photograph of each of the victims and told of their injuries as their individual inquests were opened.

Those who died were aged between eight and 51. None of the victims' families were in court.

Image copyright Various
Image caption Top (left to right): Lisa Lees, Alison Howe, Georgina Callander, Kelly Brewster, John Atkinson, Jane Tweddle, Marcin Klis - Middle (left to right): Angelika Klis, Courtney Boyle, Saffie Roussos, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, Martyn Hett, Michelle Kiss, Philip Tron, Elaine McIver - Bottom (left to right): Eilidh MacLeod, Wendy Fawell, Chloe Rutherford, Liam Allen-Curry, Sorrell Leczkowski, Megan Hurley, Nell Jones

A map of where 19 of those killed in the foyer were was also shown to the hearing. The court heard a further three - John Atkinson, Georgina Callander and Saffie Roussos - died later in hospital.

Some of those who died were standing very close to the bomber, with others as far as 20m (66ft) away.

After the attack, the victims' bodies were taken to Royal Oldham Hospital to allow post-mortem examinations to take place, the hearing was told.

There, they were also identified using dental records, DNA tests and items recovered at the scene, including jewellery, clothing and mobile phones.

The court heard a total of 220 people were given hospital treatment and some are still receiving critical care.

At the scene - Kaleigh Watterson, BBC News Online

Following the opening minute of an impeccably observed silence, the names of those who died were read out and the harrowing diagram of where they had fallen - so close together - was shown to the court.

Coroner Nigel Meadows took time to note the "dignity and strength of spirit" the families had demonstrated.

He also took a moment to praise the senior police officers in charge of identifying victims, Det Supt Jonathan Chadwick and Det Ch Insp Terry Crompton, for their "simple humanity" and acknowledged they "really cared" - something which he said had been picked up on by the bereaved.

Adjourning proceedings until November, he said that was only a holding date which could be moved if the police investigation was still ongoing.

Det Supt Chadwick said the device, which Abedi carried in a rucksack on his back, was "packed with a massive number of small metal objects which, on detonation, flew through the air at high velocity in all directions".

"It appears it was designed to kill and maim indiscriminately the largest number of innocent people," he said.

The court was also told 21 people had been arrested in connection with the attack and 32 addresses had been raided by police.

Three men remain in custody and 10 addresses are still under police control.

Eighteen people have been released without charge, including a 24-year-old man arrested on 2 June in Rusholme and a 20-year-old man arrested on 3 June on Cheetham Hill Road.

Image copyright Inquests handout
Image caption A diagram showed the victims of the attack (purple dots) in relation to bomber Salman Abedi (red dot)

Adjourning the inquests, Mr Meadows praised those who responded to the attack, including the emergency services, members of the public and staff at the arena, adding that there were "too many to list".

He also praised the "tremendous" work of Greater Manchester Police, the crime scene investigation team, bereavement nurses, family liaison officers and mortuary staff.

"The response to this tragic incident has been a complete and total team effort from all," he added.

An inquest into the death of the 22-year-old bomber will be opened at a separate date.

Tributes left at St Ann's Square for the 22 victims will be moved at 19:00, Manchester City Council has confirmed.

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