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Wednesday 13 December 2017

'Gentle' Megan is 22nd victim of arena atrocity

Megan Hurley, who turned 15 in March, was at the concert with brother Brad (20), who was seriously injured
Megan Hurley, who turned 15 in March, was at the concert with brother Brad (20), who was seriously injured

The final victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack has been named as 15-year-old Megan Hurley, a "gentle and unassuming girl" who loved music and animals.

She was at the concert with older brother Brad (20), who was seriously injured in Monday's bombing.

Her parents, Michael and Joanne, run a sandwich shop in Hunts Cross, Liverpool, and are understood to be at their son's bedside as he recovers from the blast.

On Thursday, pupils at Megan's school, Halewood Academy, could be seen standing in silence, paying their respects with a tribute of pink balloons lining the entrance to the school on Merseyside.

She was confirmed dead by her aunt Maxine Benson, who said it had left her heartbroken.

St Ann’s Square has become a focal point for mourners following the Manchester Arena terror attack. Photo: Getty
St Ann’s Square has become a focal point for mourners following the Manchester Arena terror attack. Photo: Getty

A vigil was held for the teenager at a primary school near her home in Halewood on Tuesday evening.

In a post on Facebook, Ms Benson (53) said her "poor sister and Mike are destroyed beyond words".

"It doesn't seem fair for two kids to go to a concert and only one returns. How in God's name could this happen to such a lovely family... heartbroken xx," she added.

Relative Su Benson-Carson posted a tribute to Megan, also known as Megan Benson, on the social media site.

"So sorry to get the sad news last night, such a devastating loss....positive thoughts to relations near and far, especially to Joanne Benson on the loss of Megan and positive thoughts to Brad who has been seriously hurt in the attack, we are living in a mad world where nothing makes sense anymore, deepest thoughts go to all the family."

Smiling

Neighbour Patricia Byrne told The Telegraph: "It's a little tight-knit community.

"They are a lovely family - always lots going on, very happy, smiling, lots of parties and barbecues."

Her husband Steve told of their shock: "They are one devastated family.

"You take your kids for granted then something like this happens. It's just tragic," he said. Another neighbour said Megan only turned 15 in March.

"She was very gentle and unassuming, not an extrovert, but she had a great sense of humour and loved to make people laugh.

"The parents have barely left Bradley's bedside since it happened on Monday. They haven't even begun to start grieving - they haven't left the hospital."

A fundraising page has been set up to contribute towards the teenager's funeral.

Eight suspects aged between 18 and 38 remained in custody last night in connection with the bombing, counter-terror detectives said.

Greater Manchester Police provided the first full breakdown of arrests made in the huge inquiry - helping shed light on whether Salman Abedi's suicide attack at Manchester Arena on Monday night was run by a terror network.

It came as a minister revealed 12,000 people have previously surfaced on the radar of counter-terror agencies, on top of the 3,000 being monitored as part of 500 live probes.

Critical

Seven children were among the victims. IS has claimed responsibility for the massacre.

NHS England said yesterday that 66 were still being treated across eight hospitals, 23 of them "critical". A total of 116 people have been treated.

Between Tuesday and Friday, 10 people were arrested "on suspicion of terrorism".

A boy (16), detained in Withington on Thursday, and a woman (34), held in another Manchester suburb, Blackley, on Wednesday, were released without charge.

Still in custody are the bomber's brother Ismail Abedi (24), arrested on Tuesday.

Also held are three males, aged 18, 21 and 24 and held on Wednesday; a man (33), detained in Wigan; a male (22), arrested in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, at gunpoint on Wednesday. On Thursday, a man (38) was arrested in Blackley and, early yesterday, a male (30) was held in Moss Side.

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