Manchester

Manchester Arena attack: Victim's husband slams police

Manchester bombing victims Image copyright Various
Image caption The families called for "a greater level of factual detail" about the process

An angry husband whose wife was killed in the Manchester Arena bombing has walked out of court criticising the "lack of information" from police.

Stephen Howe said Greater Manchester Police has failed to keep families informed about efforts to extradite the bomber's brother from Libya.

Mr Howe's wife Alison, 45, was one of 22 killed in the attack on 22 May 2017.

He said he had "no confidence" in the pre-inquest hearing at Manchester Town Hall.

The court heard efforts to extradite Salman Abedi's brother Hashem form part of a live criminal investigation and making information public could prejudice a future jury and prevent a fair trial.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Alison Howe, 45, from Royton, was among 22 people who died in the suicide bombing

Mr Howe, from Royton, Oldham, said outside court: "We are not getting any answers. It's very upsetting and very frustrating. I'm full of anger. I feel as bad today as the day it happened.

"We would feel better if we knew where [Hashem Abedi] was being held captive but they won't answer that question.

"I've no confidence whatsoever. I walked out of court because they didn't give us any answers to any questions.

"There's no point listening. Everyone is feeling frustrated."

'Factual transparency'

Suicide bomber Abedi detonated a device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, killing children as young as eight.

Pete Weatherby QC, who is representing some of the families, told the hearing: "No-one has a greater interest in the proper course of justice being followed than the families.

"All that I am asking is that 20 months after the outrage of the bombing the families ought to be presented with a greater level of factual detail about the process.

"The most updates the families have received has in fact come through the press.

"In essence what we seek, through the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Greater Manchester Police, is a greater amount of factual transparency."

Jeremy Johnson QC, representing the police, said the force was "very sympathetic" to the families' request but that progress in the matter was not being driven by the police, and that other authorities in the UK and Libya were also involved.

Coroner Sir John Saunders said it was a matter for the CPS and the force as to how much information could be made public without risking a fair trial.

He also said "only people with a certain level of security clearance were allowed to view some of the evidence so far compiled" and said that issue may also affect whether the inquest can be held before a jury.

Another pre-inquest hearing will be held later in the year.

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