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Manchester Arena survivors sue conspiracy theorist who claims attack was fake

A father and daughter injured in the Manchester Arena bombing are suing a conspiracy theorist who claims the attack was faked, the High Court has been told.

Martin and Eve Hibbert are bringing claims against Richard Hall for harassment, misuse of private information and data protection.

The duo were at the Ariana Grande concert in May 2017 when a terrorist blew himself up.

Richard Hall outside court
Richard Hall outside the High Court (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Mr Hibbert, who lives in Chorley, Lancashire, “shielded” his daughter from the blast so he “took the brunt of it”. He now has a spinal cord injury and is permanently in a wheelchair.

His daughter, who also uses a wheelchair, is severely brain damaged and will “need support for the rest of her life”, Mr Hibbert previously told the PA news agency.

On Monday, the pair applied for a summary judgment for parts of their claims against Mr Hall – a legal step that would see those aspects decided without a trial.

Jonathan Price, for the pair, said in written submissions that Mr Hall “disputes that it was a terrorist attack, that it involved any kind of destructive explosive device at all, and he contends that many of those purporting to be victims of it, including the claimants, are in fact ‘crisis actors’ and were not involved in the attack at all”.

Mr Price told the hearing in London that Hashem Abedi, whose brother Salman died after detonating an explosive device at the arena, was found guilty of 22 counts of murder.

The barrister said he had “ticked off” the issue of proving those killings “unless the defendant can prove that the 22 people were not murdered in the way described on that day”.

Mr Price also said there is a “very detailed” report into Mr Hibbert’s medical condition by his spinal injuries consultant.

Mr Hall claimed to have found inconsistencies in Mr Hibbert’s accounts of the attack, the court was told.

But Mr Price said: “They do not raise anything beyond a fanciful case that this bombing did not happen.”

Mr Hall, representing himself, argued that there is no “first-hand tangible evidence”, like CCTV footage or photographs of injuries, to prove the father and daughter were at the arena or were hurt as a result of the blast.

The medical reports submitted do not “provide evidence of the time and place where they got the injuries”, he told the court.

Mr Hall also said the public inquiry into the attacks did not show any CCTV of the claimants being present.

He showed the court a series of images, which he claimed reveals survivors are lying about their injuries, and referred to people pictured lying on the ground near the arena as having “agreed to take part in an exercise”.

Judge Richard Davison will give his decision in writing at a later date.