Wednesday, 30 Sep 2020

Taxpayers to fork out £10,000,000 to keep Manchester arena bomber's brother safe

The families of the victims of the Manchester arena attack reacted angrily after learning it would cost up to £10 million to keep the bomber’s brother safe in jail.

After threats from other prisoners and warnings on Facebook that he ‘won’t last two mins’, Hashem Abedi, 23, is now under the highest level of protective custody.

Abedi was sentenced to 55 years at the Old Bailey this week for helping his brother, Salman, commit a suicide attack killing 22 innocent people at an Ariana Grande concert in 2017. The court found him ‘just as guilty’ for his part in the attack, which saw hundreds of others also injured.

But to protect Abedi, a category A prisoner, it can cost up to £87,000 a year, according to government figures, meaning the taxpayer would be charged £5 million for the duration of his minimum term in prison.

The costs spike when an inmate is considered at risk from fellow prisoners as they require extra security.

The figure is a stark contrast to the compensation payouts the victims’ families received from the government. The 22 families were each given £28,269 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

To the around 1,000 injured, the government paid a further £1.12 million, paying just over 1,000 to each person.

Steve Howe, 64, a husband of one of the victims of the Manchester bombings, told The Sunday People that spending this much money on Abedi is ‘unbelievable’.

‘I think most British taxpayers would not want to pay for this. It’s a ridiculous amount,’ said Howe, from Royton, Greater Manchester. ‘We’ve had no help ­[from the Government] whatsoever since the day it happened.’

Steve’s wife, Alison, 45, died after waiting in the foyer to pick up her two daughters from the concert, who both survived.

He added: ‘The police are going on like we should be over the moon about the verdict. I feel bitter about it. It won’t bring Alison back.’

According to the paper, some of the death threats that appeared on a Facebook page by former inmates and prisoners read: ‘Slide the razors under the door fellas’ and ‘tie him up and stripe him until he bleeds’.

Another wrote: ‘Big man blowing people up but now he’s in reality and I hope dies a slow death’. Another threatened: ‘You are going to die in jail you worthless piece of s***’.

As an at-risk prisoner in a top-security jail, Abedi will be supported by a team of prison officers for his physical and mental health and given his own cell.

He will be encouraged to mix with other classified vulnerable inmates as he serves his time there.

All of his activities including meals, washing and visits, will be inspected and added to the costs of his daily imprisonment.

Gradually, Abedi will be given a job, be able to undertake educational courses, pray in the prison mosque and be able to order goods with his special account from Amazon.

One prison source told the paper that Abedi will not be punished behind bars, pointing out that his ‘punishment is prison’ and that he will be ‘treated professionally’ by staff.

They added that ‘if Abedi behaves himself he could have a relatively comfortable life’ but will be warned that he remains at risk from fellow inmates.

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