Jury retires to consider UK suicide bomb verdicts

Hashem Abedi is accused of 22 counts of murder over attack at Manchester Arena

epa07722375 A handout photo made available by Libyan Special Deterrence Forces of the Interior Ministry shows Hashem Abedi, the younger brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi after he was arrested in Tripoli, Libya, 24 May 2017 (issued 17 July 2019). According to reports, Hashem Abedi will be extradited from Libya to Britain over an arrest warrant for complicity in the May 2017 Manchester Arena attack that left 22 people killed.  EPA/LIBYAN INTERIOR MINISTRY HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
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A jury on Monday retired to consider its verdicts in the murder trial of the brother of a suicide bomber who killed 22 people in an explosion on a 2017 pop concert in northwest England.

Hashem Abedi, 22, is accused of helping his older brother Salman to prepare, transport and build the explosive device triggered at the end of a concert at Manchester Arena by US pop star Ariana Grande.

Abedi was in Libya at the time of the attack with his family but prosecutors say he was as responsible for the killings as Salman, 22, who carried out the attack.

Abedi did not appear in the London court on Monday after last week sacking his legal team and refusing to play any further role in the trial.

He denies 22 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, representing the hundreds of people wounded in the attack.

The jury has been cut to 11 after a member of the panel self-isolated because of coronavirus fears. The juror said that she was running a high temperature and decided to cut off contact for seven days.

The trial judge Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said that he had considered delaying the trial for a week but had decided to go ahead with just 11 jurors. “The longer we continue, the more risk we all are from possible contact with the virus,” the judge said.