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Crime

Mum of Martyn Hett, a gay Ariana Grande fan killed in the Manchester bombing, reflects on coming face-to-face with her son’s killer

Patrick Kelleher August 18, 2020
Martyn's law will be introduced after a campaign led by the mother of Martyn Hett

Martyn Hett, who tragically died in the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017

The mum of Martyn Hett, a gay Ariana Grande fan killed in the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017, has opened up about the moment she came face-to-face with one of his killers.

Figen Murray came face-to-face with one of the killers behind the bombing, which claimed 22 lives, in court earlier this year.

She said she went into “self-preservation” mode as she sat looking at Hashem Abedi in the Old Bailey in London.

Murray “locked eyes” with Murray “once or twice” during his trial, she told PA.

“I just looked at him. To be honest with you he looked like an ordinary young man who got it so horrifically wrong,” she said.

“I thought, ‘Shame on you’, and that’s all,” she added.

Mum of Martyn Hett went into a ‘professional zone’ to cope with facing her son’s killer.

Abedi was convicted of 22 counts of murder for his role in the shocking Manchester Arena bombing during his trial in March, as well as one count of attempted murder and one count of conspiring with his brother to cause an explosion.

He is due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey court next week.

The heartbroken mum enrolled in a Master’s degree in counter-terrorism following her son’s shocking death in 2017 – a decision she said was her “saving grave” during his killer’s trial.

I sat there with a professional head on, I know it sounds weird. But I had to switch the emotions off.

“I made a very conscious effort to go into a professional zone and that was maybe a coping mechanism I used,” she said.

“It helped me separate my emotion, from getting too upset in court.

“I sat there with a professional head on, I know it sounds weird. But I had to switch the emotions off.”

Three years on, Murray said she has “no anger” with the brothers behind the terrorist attack.

She said she trusts the British legal system, adding: “Whatever the judge gives this person will be just punishment for a crime he committed.”

Families of those killed in the Manchester Arena bombing have been given a ‘life sentence’.

Murray, however, does not expect to get any closure when he is sentenced.

“We as families have a life sentence – ours is until the end of days,” she said.

Hett died at the age of 29 following the Manchester Arena bombing in May of 2017. His death sent shockwaves through the UK’s LGBT+ community.

He had worked in public relations and was well-known for his love of soap opera Coronation Street. He was also a former winner of Come Dine With Me.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Martyn’s law – named after Hett – was set to be introduced in an effort tighten security at public venues.

The law was announced following a tireless campaign from his mother. The law was later put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More: Ariana Grande, figen murray, Hashem Abedi, Manchester Arena bombing, Martyn Hett

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