Lawyers representing some families of victims of the Manchester Arena bombing say they are hopeful the next pre-inquest review will provide further reassurance progress is being made towards full hearings when ‘the circumstances leading to the loss of 22 people lives can finally be fully examined.’
More than two years have now passed since the bombing, which happened as thousands left Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017, at the end of an Ariane Grande concert.
The attack killed 22 people, left 260 seriously injured and at least 600 suffering from psychological harm.
The latest in a series of pre-inquest reviews is to be held on Monday, July 29 in Manchester, the first since emotions ran high at a similar hearing in February, as some relations expressed their frustrations at a lack of progress and information being provided.
However, lawyer Andrew Petherbridge, who is leading the representation of families at Hudgell Solicitors, is hopeful that families will continue to be reassured that progress is being made in the inquest process.
“At that stage in February, for various reasons, there was a somewhat unclear picture of how matters were progressing and the frustrations of some families were understandable, as they all want answers to key questions,” said Mr Petherbridge.
“There have been developments in the months since, but we again simply want to reaffirm that the families we represent are desperate to see any wider contributing factors to the tragedy being fully considered openly at full inquests, as soon as possible.
“They desperately want to know more about the circumstances leading to the tragedy which saw their loved ones taken from them, and whether the outcome could have been different had things been done differently.
“These are all elements that it is hoped the inquest process may answer and they are of huge importance not only to families, but of course society as a whole.
“At present we are looking at close to three years after the bombings as being the start date for inquests at best, and this will ultimately be when the circumstances leading to the loss of 22 people lives can finally be fully examined.”
The inquests were first opened in 2018 and adjourned for the appointment of a retired High Court Judge, with Sir John Saunders selected by the Lord Chief Justice, after consultation with Lord Chancellor, to be coroner.
At the pre-inquest hearing in February of this year it was heard the Coroner had already been passed close to 200,000 pages of information relating to the matter.
It has previously been suggested that the full inquests may begin with a process of commemoration and descriptions and tributes to the victims.