Parents pay tribute to bombing victim at court sentencing

Schoolgirl Eilidh MacLeod was among 22 people who died in the 2017 explosion at an Ariana Grande concert.

The parents of a schoolgirl who was killed in the Manchester Arena bombing have paid a powerful tribute to their daughter.

A statement was read on behalf of the mother and father of Eilidh Macleod during the sentencing hearing of Hashem Abedi at the Old Bailey in London.

Eilidh, who was 14 at the time of the attack in May 2017, had travelled to Manchester from her home on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.

She was among 22 people killed by suicide bomber Salman Abedi, Hashem’s older brother, at an Ariana Grande concert.

Eilidh’s parents described her as a popular friend who was “wise, well beyond her years”.

‘No parent who ever takes their child to a concert should ever have to take them home to bury them.’

Parents of Eilidh MacLeod

They said: “She loved her life and everything in it – and it wasn’t hard to love her right back.

“Every day it’s been a struggle for us to maintain our dignity – trying to put one foot in front of the other is the hardest thing in our lives.

“We still have to stop ourselves calling out her name for our dinner, that will never stop.

“Anger, fear, resentment and heartbreak is something we all have to live with.

“No parent who ever takes their child to a concert should ever have to take them home to bury them.

“We still have some good days, then we have some really bad days – it comes from absolutely nowhere and hits you in the chest.”

Families of the victims and survivors are following the hearing at the Old Bailey by live link from Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Glasgow.

Abedi refused to to attend the sentencing hearing.

The judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, said the 23-year-old had been brought to the court building from prison, but added that he was powerless to drag him into the courtroom

Abedi was found guilty by a jury in March of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

In March, the jury accepted the prosecution’s case that Abedi had assisted and encouraged his brother, and knew of the plans to detonate a bomb in a public place to indiscriminately kill innocent people.

Abedi was in Libya at the time and became the first suspect to be successfully extradited to the UK from the country in July 2019.

The hearing continues.

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