An actor who caused £10,000 worth of damage to the new Glade of Light memorial begged for forgiveness from the families of the Arena bombing victims. Anwar Hosseni, 24, was hauled before a judge after he admitted scratching the city center memorial, which was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Manchester Crown Court heard that police and Manchester council were alerted to the damage by family members of the 22 people killed in the atrocity. The incident happened before the memorial, next to Manchester Cathedral, was officially opened.
CCTV footage showed a man hanging around the memorial at about 2am on Wednesday, February 9. Hosseni was later identified and arrested.
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Statements were read in court on behalf of family members of those who had died in the bombing. One said: “To know someone caused such damage in such a callous and nasty way, broke our hearts again.”
In a message to the families of the 22 people killed in the attack, Hosseni said outside court: “I’m truly sorry, please forgive me. I understand the pain and suffering that you’ve been going through.
“I can feel and resonate, looking at the sacred memorial, that’s not even open yet and brand new, and all of a sudden you hear about it has been damaged.
“I understand the pain and suffering, I’m truly sorry, thank you for forgiving me.”
Hosseni told police he had was making scratches of a ‘buddhist head figure’, creating ‘light language’ to express ‘love, unity and gratitude’ to the 22 who sadly died in the attack. The damage cost £10,768.80 to repair.
He said he was in the city at the time of the attack, on May 22, 2017, and remembered the atmosphere within Manchester.
Hosseni, who has a YouTube channel and also works as an actor and model, said: “I do remember when it actually happened, I was in Manchester. That day I came to the city centre, I saw that for a moment it was if the whole of Manchester became one being.
“We put aside all of our differences, all of our religious and political agendas, and actually came together offering help and support. I am really sorry for what I did, I really appreciate the understanding of the Recorder (the judge), and people of Manchester.
“I’m sorry for the families, I do understand through this process I have caused you guys extra pain and suffering, that was never intentional.”
Hosseni, of Twillbrook Drive, Salford, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage. He received a two year community order.
Judge Nicholas Dean QC, the Honorary Recorder of Manchester, said Hosseni’s actions were motivated by ‘bizarre thought processes’. He accepted Hosseni was trying to ‘pay respect’ rather than cause hurt.
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