Nine Missed Chances Cost 22 Lives
Daily Express|June 18, 2021
Security blunders ‘failed victims on every level’
Chris Riches

Nine security blunders allowed the Manchester Arena bomber to take 22 lives.

Blunders that led to 22 deaths

The victims were “failed on every level”, one grieving father said last night as the inquiry report was published. Paul Hett – whose son Martyn, 29, died in the attack by Salman Abedi – said that it had been heartbreaking “to find that Martyn had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

He added that police, security staff and venue bosses had a duty of care to protect concert-goers that night. He said: “This inquiry has rightly found that we were failed by them on every level.

“This atrocity should and could have been prevented, and 22 people would not have lost their lives.”

The nine missed chances allowed black-clad Abedi to stroll in, hide, then re-emerge and detonate his rucksack device after Ariane Grande had finished singing.

Two teenage security guards failing to react “effectively” when a bystander warned them about the loitering terrorist was the “most striking” failure, said inquiry chairman Sir John Saunders.

Also patrolling police might have deterred Isis-inspired Abedi, 22, from mounting his attack but were absent on a two-hour kebab break.

As well as killing 22 people – the youngest was eight-year-old SaffieRose Roussos – the Manchester-born bomber left 63 people seriously injured and a further 111 needing hospital treatment in the carnage that he triggered on May 22, 2017.

Errors

Sir John’s initial report highlighted nine deadly errors but he also backed a recommendation, known as Martyn’s Law, which would force all music and sporting venues to plan for such outrages.

Martyn Hett’s grieving mother Figen Murray said last night: “Venue security needs to be improved to help prevent further terror attacks. We should not have to live in fear, and I am determined to make this law a reality.”

Relatives of five of the murdered 22 sat in the inquiry room at Manchester magistrates court yesterday as former High Court judge Sir John spoke about the security failings. His report is the first of three findings from the Manchester Arena Public Inquiry and it ran to 204 pages.

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