When was Manchester Arena bombing? Date of Ariana Grande concert attack, what happened - and who were victims

Ariana Grande’s sold-out concert was targeted by a terrorist in May 2017 shocking the nation to its core

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

On 22 May 2017, thousands of young people and parents flocked to Manchester Arena for pop star Ariana Grande’s sold-out concert.

But moments after Grande finished her final song, a suicide bomber detonated an explosion. Twenty-two people were killed, with more than a thousand injured.

The Manchester Bombing is one of the deadliest terrorist attacks and the first suicide bombing in the UK since the 7/7 London bus bombings in 2005.

A recent survey of 236 young people affected by the atrocity found that 29% had not had any psychological help despite most feeling damaged by the blast which happened six years ago.

The report, called Bee the Difference, and led by the National Emergencies Trust and researchers at Lancaster University, comes as the government is expected to publish a draft “survivor’s charter” in the coming weeks that will guarantee rights for survivors of terror attacks.

The charter is nearly five years in the making and is expected to include a guaranteed timeline for mental health support for victims.

What happened?

Attacker, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, detonated a home-made bomb in the arena’s foyer as crowds were leaving the concert just after 10.30pm. The bomb was detonated in the foyer, between the main arena and neighbouring Victoria station, blowing people off their feet and causing widespread panic.

The foyer was the busiest exit from the arena - housing the box office and leading to the car park and Victoria Station. Witnesses described hearing an explosion and seeing a flash of fire.

Pictures of the aftermath showed debris and casualties in the foyer area of the arena, with metal nuts and bolts strewn across the floor among bodies.

Harrowing footage of inside the venue and on the streets showed sirens wailing and screams echoing from the areas surrounding the venue.

Hours after the attack, many of those injured were still awaiting medical attention and terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the act.

Salman Abedi was named by police as the suicide bomber shortly after. He had been arrested for minor offences in 2012 but was not known to the government’s Prevent scheme.

M15 had previously flagged him as a threat and he was well known to be “on the edges of bad stuff that was going on” as part of groups in south Manchester with ties to ISIS.

Abedi left the UK on 15 April and travelled to Libya before returning back into the UK on 18 May, a police investigation found. One guard was suspicious of Abedi but was apparently too scared of questioning him for fears of being branded a racist.

After the attack, the UK terrorism threat level was raised from "severe" to "critical" for the first time since 2007.

Who were the victims?

Twenty-two people were killed, and 116 people were admitted to hospital in relation to the attack, NHS England said.

Megan Hurley

The 15-year-old schoolgirl from Liverpool was the last victim to be named.

Courtney Boyle and Philip Tron

Courtney, 19, and her stepfather Philip, 32, from Gateshead, had been at the Ariana Grande concert together.

Elaine McIver

The off-duty police officer with Cheshire Police was at the concert with her family.

Wendy Fawell

The death of the 50-year-old from Otley, West Yorkshire, was confirmed after a frantic search.

Eilidh MacLeod

The 14-year-old, from the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, was at the concert as a treat to celebrate her birthday and it was her first gig.

Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry

Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19, were a young couple from South Shields.

Sorrell Leczkowski

The 14-year-old, from Leeds, was among the fatalities. Her mother Samantha and grandmother Pauline were also injured in the attack.

Michelle Kiss

The mother of three was from Lancashire.

Jane Tweddle

Jane Tweddle was 51 years old and a mother of three.

She worked as a receptionist at the South Shore Academy in Blackpool.

Nell Jones

Nell Jones was 14 and a Year 9 student at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School in Cheshire.

Martyn Hett

Martyn Hett was 29 and a Coronation Street super-fan.

Marcin and Angelika Klis

Taxi driver Marcin Klis, 42, and his wife Angelika, 39, were a Polish couple from York.

Alison Howe and Lisa Lees

Alison Howe, 45, from Royton, Greater Manchester, and her friend Lisa Lees, 43, were killed.

Kelly Brewster

Kelly Brewster was 32 and from Sheffield.

Olivia Campbell-Hardy

Olivia, from Bury, Greater Manchester, was one of those unaccounted for following the attack, and her family had made a desperate appeal for information about what happened to the 15-year-old.

John Atkinson

Greater Manchester Police confirmed John Atkinson, a 26-year-old from Bury, was among those killed.

Saffie Roussos

Saffie was the youngest victim of the attack.

The eight-year-old from Leyland in Lancashire was at the concert with her family.

Georgina Callander

Georgina, who was 18 and from Chorley, Lancashire, was the first victim to be named.

What did the public inquiry find?

The inquiry started in September 2020 and found a number of missed opportunities by those in charge of security to prevent the May 2017 attack.

Sir John Saunders, chair of the inquiry, found there were “serious shortcomings”.

The Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi should have been identified as a security threat on the night of the attack, the public inquiry found. Mr Saunders said he considered it likely Abedi would still have detonated his device if confronted, “but the loss of life and injury is highly likely to have been less”.

The missed opportunities included:

  • A member of the public, Christopher Wild, was “fobbed off” when he reported Abedi to Showsec stewards 15 minutes before the explosion.
  • Just eight minutes before the attack, another Showsec steward tried to raise the alarm to the control room but could not get through on his radio.
  • A CCTV blind spot, which allowed Abedi to carry out his “hostile reconnaissance” trips to the arena without raising suspicion before he detonated the bomb.
  • A missed opportunity to identify Abedi as a potential threat by Showsec stewards who were not adequately trained.
  • Failure to carry out an adequate patrol by Showsec staff shortly before the concert ended - which would have spotted Abedi.
  • Uniformed officers from British Transport Police were tasked to patrol Victoria station, below the arena, including the City Room of the arena, but there were no BTP officers in the foyer when the bomb was detonated.

Responding to the pubic inquiry report, SMG, operator of the Manchester Arena, said it was “truly sorry”.

The security operator Showsec said “lessons had been learned”, and Greater Manchester Police admitted it made errors on the night of the bombing, but said "catastrophic failures" by an incident commander in the early stages of the response were "not foreseeable".