Manchester Arena guard ‘didn’t challenge bomber for fear of being dubbed racist’

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A security guard had a “bad feeling” as he eyeballed the Manchester Arena suicide bomber but did not approach him for fear of being branded a racist, a public inquiry has heard.

Kyle Lawler said he was stood 10 or 15ft away from Salman Abedi, who had been reported to security by a member of the public who thought he looked “dodgy”.

The Showsec security guard, aged 18 at the time of the terror attack, told police in a statement read to the inquiry sitting in Manchester: “I felt unsure about what to do.

“It’s very difficult to define a terrorist. For all I knew he might well be an innocent Asian male.

“I did not want people to think I am stereotyping him because of his race.

The Manchester-born bomber, whose parents were Libyan, was sat on steps near the back of the foyer of the arena, known as the City Room, awaiting the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

Around eight minutes before he detonated his device, Showsec steward Mohammed Ali Agha alerted Mr. Lawler to the report by a member of the public and both began observing Abedi.

But before the bombing, he said he had never dealt with the report of a suspicious person and was not aware that where Abedi was in the foyer was a CCTV blind spot, which it is thought was identified by the bomber in previous “hostile reconnaissance”.

The public inquiry is looking at the background circumstances before and during the bombing and is expected to last into next spring.

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