The grieving brother of Manchester Arena victim Martyn Hett has described being touched by the “genuinely Mancunian” response to the tragedy but has urged people to stop using the attack to attack immigration.
Dan Hett’s younger brother, Martyn, 29, was one of 22 people killed when suicide bomber Salman Abedi brought disaster to the city as crowds left a Ariana Grande concert on May 22.
In an interview with the Guardian newspaper the 31-year-old expressed frustrations that the terror attack was being used to force arguments about immigration.
Hett, who is half-Turkish, said: “A UK-born terrorist took out, among many other people, my UK-born Turkish brother ... In an alternate timeline, the roles could have been reversed.”
The Bafta-winning digital developer and artist, added: “I find it quite hard to reconcile what Theresa May says, and on a more extreme level, talk of closing borders and putting up walls to make things go away, knowing full well (it) is a UK-born, second generation guy who probably had the same accent as me.
“The idea of this guy being such a close-to-home person has probably been the weirdest aspect to me. If he had got on a plane from somewhere, never been to Manchester, just been given our city as a target, it might be a bit different.”
Hett told the Guardian that Abedi had not been radicalised “overnight”, meaning that the problem “is not with this one person, it’s the environment in which he was able to be radicalised and not monitored”.
Hett added that he felt the security services could potentially have done more to prevent the attack given Abedi’s radical views had been flagged to authorities fives years earlier, but felt more “confused” than angry about it.
In the interview Hett also spoke of the positive reaction he had received from Mancunians, saying: “I’m not a hugging person, but I have hugged every possible subset of human in the city.”
Hett said the reaction he had received felt “genuinely Mancunian”.
“Everyone has been part of it, regardless of whether you’re a dirty metalhead or a flamboyant pop fan,” he said.
A week on from the disaster - with millions raised for the dead, the injured and their families, and with 10 people remaining in police custody over the blast - fresh details are emerging about the bomber’s movements in the run-up to the attack.
Greater Manchester Police said on Wednesday that Abedi had bought most of the key component parts of the suicide bomb in the few days before the attack.
Many of his movements and actions in the four days after his return to the UK from Libya leading up to the atrocity were also carried out alone but detectives have not ruled out that he was part of “a wider network”.
Updating the “huge progress” made in the inquiry, Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson, head of the North West counter terrorism unit, said: “Our inquiries show Abedi himself made most of the purchases of the core components and what is becoming apparent is that many of his movements and actions have been carried out alone during the four days from him landing in the country and committing this awful attack.
“It is vital that we make sure that he is not part of a wider network and we cannot rule this out yet.
“There remain a number of things that concern us about his behaviour prior to the attack and those of his associates which we need to get to the bottom of.”
Jackson said police were “especially keen” to find out why Abedi, 22, kept going back to the Wilmslow Road area of the city as they continue to attempt to trace a blue suitcase he used during those trips.
Although detectives have no reason to believe the luggage contains anything dangerous, they are warning the public not to approach it and instead call 999 immediately.
British-born Abedi had a “relatively minor” criminal record as a teenager but was not known to police for holding extremist views.
He appeared on police logs in 2012 over offences of theft, receiving stolen goods and assault, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said.
However, Abedi had not featured in Prevent, the Government’s voluntary counter-radicalisation scheme.
Hopkins also said charges of conspiracy to murder could be brought as a result of the huge investigation into Abedi’s suspected network.