A survivor of the Manchester Arena terror attack says the 55-year sentence handed to the bomber’s brother last week was “cheap”.
Piotr Chylewski, from Glasgow, said Hashem Abedi, who conspired with brother Salman in the fatal attack at an Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Arena, should never be allowed to leave prison for fear that he “finishes the job”.
Mr Chylewski, 48, lost an eye in the attack, enduring nine operations to remove shrapnel from his body, with his heart once stopping on the operating table.
Salman Abedi died in the blast that killed 22 people in May 2017, leaving hundreds more injured.
Mr Justice Jeremy Baker sentenced his 23-year-old brother, of Manchester, to 55 years’ imprisonment last week, ruling he was “just as guilty” as his brother, and stating he might never leave jail.
Yet dad-of-two Mr Chylewski said: “The lawyers explained to us that Abedi would never get life, because he was under 21 when this happened. That is the law, and we have to respect that. But if you divide 55 years by 22, then it gives you just two and a half years for each life they took. That seems really poor, really cheap. I don’t think the judge had any more choices, he had to use and respect the law, this was as much as he could do at this moment.
“But my view is that two and a half years for a life is not fair. If you think about it that way, it’s cheap.”
Mr Chylewski was forced to leave his manual labour job at a Glasgow food processing plant due to his injuries, and now has a seated job at a bio-gas facility in Ayrshire. He says he has to resist the urge to write to Abedi, and is fearful that any correspondence with the terrorist might be used as evidence to reduce his term.
He said: “I think about that every day, and I always try to think about it from different points of view.
“But I think if I sent some letters to him, and he ever sent letters back saying he was sorry, then he might use that to show he has changed, that people have forgiven him, and use it to get another chance.
“And, even just for that reason, I will never ever send a letter to him. Even if one million people were to say he had changed, I would never trust him.
“I don’t believe he could ever change. I can see him thinking he had to finish the job. He could do it again in the future. I hope he never gets the chance.”
Mr Chylewski, originally from Poland, has suffered panic attacks and takes antidepressants. He was forced to wait four months to access psychological support from the NHS. He said: “My new job and the medication have really helped my mental health.”
A statement from the parents of Eilidh MacLeod, 14, a schoolgirl from Barra, who died in the Manchester attack, was read out at the sentencing hearing of Hashem Abedi, the brother of the bomber, last week.
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.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe