Manchester arena families must wait another year before inquests begin

Manchester bombing victim Jane Tweddle, who was originally from Hartlepool.
Manchester bombing victim Jane Tweddle, who was originally from Hartlepool.

Families of the 22 people murdered at the Manchester Arena suicide bombing will have to wait at least another year before inquests into the deaths of their loved ones are held.

Jane Tweddle, who was from Hartlepool and moved to Blackpool, was one of the people to lose their lives in the terror attack in May 2017.

Coroner Sir John Saunders said it will be another 12 months before the inquests are held and the “answers” the families want are given.

The High Court judge spoke at a pre-inquest review hearing at Manchester Town Hall, attended by around 20 family members of the victims.

A minute’s silence was held at the start of the 90-minute hearing, which dealt mainly with administrative matters.

The names of the 22 victims were read out as Sir John, the two dozen lawyers representing the families and other parties stood in silence, side by side with relatives of victims, to remember the dead.

In opening remarks, Sir John said: “It was an appalling and needless waste of life.

“It affected not only the families of people who died, but all the people of Manchester and the rest of the country.”

Progress on holding the inquests has been held up as they cannot be held before the conclusion of any criminal investigation and possible trial of any suspects.

But the hearing was told the investigation is still “live” and the UK is still trying to extradite the bomber’s brother, Hashem Abedi, from Libya where he is being held.

Salman Abedi, 22, from Manchester, whose family settled in the UK from Libya, detonated his device at the end of an Ariana Grande pop concert on May 22 last year, as the concert-goers, many of them youngsters, streamed out of the venue.

His attack left 22 dead and hundreds injured.