Manchester Arena Inquiry: 'Stakes too high' to delay 'Martyn's Law'

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image copyrightManchester Arena Inquiry
image captionFigen Murray launched Martyn's Law in memory of her son

The mother of a Manchester Arena bomb victim has urged the government to move forward with its promised consultation on "Martyn's Law".

Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett died in the attack, wants to bring in legislation to step up security in crowded public spaces and venues.

The government backed the plans but work has stalled due to Covid-19.

Ms Murray told the public inquiry into the bombing that "the stakes are too high" for further delay.

"We just cannot wait for Covid-19 to end and then do the consultation because we don't how long Covid-19 is going to be with us," she said.

Ms Murray said an "additional worry" was the uncertainty about how many people will have been radicalised online during lockdown.

Mr Hett, 29, was one of 22 people killed in the suicide bombing in May 2017, which left hundreds more injured.

Sir John Saunders, chairman of the inquiry, praised Ms Murray for her efforts,

"We think it is wonderful that you are doing so much to make something constructive come out of this tragedy by campaigning to introduce Martyn's Law to save others from suffering in the way you and other families have," he said.

"I know other families are also working to make other positive outcomes for the benefit of others as their response to the tragedy they have suffered."

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionMartyn Hett was killed in the Manchester Arena attack in May 2017

Ms Murray told the inquiry she was inspired to take action after going to a concert in Manchester in December 2018, where she decided to take her smallest handbag to make the "bag search easy".

But she said she was shocked to discover she was able to walk straight in without being searched.

"I was foolish; I assumed that since the Arena attack security in public areas is now a common thing and I was shocked that it wasn't," she said.

Among her plans are the introduction of free counter-terror training for event staff, assessments of locations to see how vulnerable they are, and the need for venues and local authorities to have counter-terror action plans.

She said there were more than 650,000 crowded spaces, including street markets, bus stations and churches.

The inquiry heard Ms Murray had a 25-minute phone call with Home Secretary Priti Patel, who she said expressed support for Martyn's Law.

Ms Murray said: "When the next attack happens, if the government haven't acted, if something happens and people are killed, the families of those people who died may ask the question - why hasn't something been done if nothing's been carried out?"

The inquiry continues.

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