UK

Dan Hett Rejects Claims That Manchester Arena Victim Terror Attack Might Have Been Averted

Don't get 'suckered in' by 'oversimplification' from 'armchair experts'

05/12/2017 16:46 GMT

A man who lost his brother in the Manchester Arena attack has said that “assigning blame is a mug’s game” after an official review into the terror attack revealed that it might have been averted. 

Dan Hett lost his 22-year-old brother Martyn when terrorists targeted an Ariana Grande concert on May 22. 

A report by David Anderson QC, released on Tuesday, established that bomber Salman Abedi was a former “subject of interest”, adding that it was “conceivable” the attack “might have been averted had the cards fallen differently”.

Dave Thompson via Getty Images
Martyn Hett's brother Dan Hett (L) and Martyn Hett's partner Russell Hayward (2nd R) arrive for the funeral of Martyn Hett at Stockport Town Hall.

The report examined the way police and the security services handled intelligence before four terrorist attacks hit London and Manchester earlier this year. 

Adebi was twice a “subject of interest” to MI5 in the year before the attack but investigations were closed and the threat Abedi posed was downgraded, the report said. 

Hett explained how he felt about the report, admitting it was a very difficult story to read, but adding that hindsight was an “easy thing to fall back on”.

In a thread posted on Twitter, Hett wrote:

Anderson found that three of the six terrorists involved in the Manchester and London attacks - which claimed more than 30 lives between March and June - were on the security services’ radar.

Abedi detonated a shrapnel-laded homemade bomb as people were leaving Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert, resulting in the deaths of 22 people and causing injuries to a further 500.

Adebi was twice a “subject of interest” to MI5 in the year before the attack but investigations were closed and the threat Abedi posed was downgraded, the report said. 

Other
Salman Abedi.

Fresh intelligence was also received in the months before the 22-year-old’s suicide bombing, but its “significance was not fully appreciated at the time”.

“In retrospect, the intelligence can be seen to have been highly relevant to the planned attack,” the report found.

It revealed that an MI5 meeting due to discuss Abedi, a Briton born to Libyan parents, was scheduled for 31 May - nine days after the bombing.

Peter Byrne - PA Images via Getty Images
The coffin of Martyn Hett is carried from Stockport Town Hall by his brother Dan Hett (L) and father Paul Hett on June 30, 2017 in Stockport, England.

It is not the first time that Martyn’s family has spoken out since the terror attack.

His mother, Figen Murray, was commended last week for her “dignified and heartfelt” response to US President Donald Trump after he retweeted propaganda videos from far-right British group, Britain First.

Anderson reviewed reports into the attacks at Westminster Bridge on March 22, the Manchester Arena bombing, the London Bridge attack on June 3 and the incident at Finsbury Park Mosque on June 19.

Responding to the report, Andrew Parker, the director general of MI5, said the intelligence service is facing an “unprecedented threat from international terrorism” and will continue to “adapt and change to keep pace with a fast-moving world”.

Cressida Dick, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, said: “Policing and our colleagues in the fight against terrorism will continue to learn and improve.

“We need to make rapid progress in implementing the recommendations, many of which require new technology, better infrastructures and resources at a time when the threat from terrorism poses significant challenges for police and security services.

“The growth in the number of dangerous individuals who have been radicalised is a major issue for us. We will be redoubling our efforts in enforcement activity both to disrupt and confront the threat and to safeguard the vulnerable from radicalisation.”