A lawyer representing families of the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 says a pre-inquest review is ‘an opportunity to establish a schedule for providing answers to key questions’ over the coming year.
The hearing, to be held at Manchester Town Hall on Thursday, February 28, will come 21 months after the bombing during an Ariane Grande concert on May 22, 2017.
Twenty-two people were killed and more than 100 more left needing hospital treatment when 22-year-old Salman Abedi detonated his home-made device in the arena foyer as around 14,000 people left the building.
Inquests were opened and adjourned last year 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.
An initial pre-inquest review, attended by around 20 family members of victims, was then held in October of last year, dealing mainly with administrative matters.
Andrew Petherbridge, who is leading a team of lawyers at Hudgell Solicitors representing families of some of the victims, hopes greater clarity will be provided over the role the coronial process will play alongside the ongoing criminal investigations.
“The families we represent of course understand the difficulties and complexities of the ongoing investigations into this tragic event,” Mr Petherbridge said.
“However, given this May will mark two years since their loved ones were taken from them, they are understandably keen to better understand how the inquest process can bring much needed answers, and exactly what it will cover.
“We feel this is an opportunity to establish a clear schedule towards providing answers to key questions for the year ahead in the coronial process at this hearing. For families to come away feeling that step has been taken would be highly significant.”
Considerations for the inquests could include whether the attack could have been prevented by the authorities, the events prior to the bombing and the incident itself, the response of the emergency services and security arrangements within and outside the Manchester Arena.