Louis Browne QC delivers Opening Statement on behalf of University of Salford at Manchester Arena Inquiry

October 1, 2020

The public inquiry into the Manchester Arena terror attack continued yesterday with Louis Browne QC from Exchange Chambers delivering his Opening Statement on behalf of the University of Salford.

Louis Browne QC started his Opening by expressing the University’s sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those who died in the bombing and to those who were injured in or otherwise affected by it.

He said that the University continue to be committed to assisting the Inquiry in its work to the fullest extent required of it.

“The University was shocked and appalled to learn that Salman Abedi was one of its registered students,” said Mr Browne QC. “The University recognised that an appropriate and necessary response would be to review the adequacy and effectiveness of its duties under Prevent and its structures and mechanisms around student welfare, support and engagement.”

Mr Louis Browne QC went on to explain how it was clear prior to the Manchester Arena attack that the University had no reason whatsoever to suspect that Salman Abedi had been radicalised or had been drawn into terrorism. He said that it was especially important to note that at no time did Greater Manchester Police or the security services provide any information to the University whatsoever about him.  In particular, the University received no information that the authorities considered he may have been radicalised or had been drawn into terrorism or was of any other concern to them.

Concluding his Opening, Louis Browne QC said: “The shock and sadness suffered by the entire community as a result of Salman Abedi’s hideous actions endures at the University today.

“It continues to put the welfare of its students at its centre, with further developments being introduced each year. It also continues to positively discharge its Prevent obligations and play an active role regionally in this field.

“It is, we respectfully observe, clear that at the time of the tragedy, the University had no information or material, nor had it received any communication to suggest that Salman Abedi had been radicalised or was being drawn into terrorism. Had the University had any information or material to this effect or any information that Salman Abedi was likely to commit the heinous attack which he did, it would undoubtedly have acted on it.”