The blast that killed 22 people at Manchester Arena deliberately targeted a security soft spot while concert goers got public transport home, a security expert said today.
A suicide bomber detonated a homemade bomb inside the foyer of the arena following an Ariana Grande concert at the point where gig-goers are most vulnerable.
The device will have been made from parts easily purchased on the high street like a pressure cooker filled with screws, nuts and bolts or ball bearings, security expert Will Geddes said.
But it is unlikely that the bomber will have carried out the attack on his own and will almost certainly have got help either online or from friends.
Will Geddes, CEO of security consultants ICP, said: “They are always IED homemade devices, this is a shrapnel based device, shards of metal, could be nuts and bolts, screws which are designed to cause as much damage as possible.
“When a bomb goes off it is the shrapnel from the explosion which has the biggest impact which is often why terrorists use bags of ball bearings inside.
“He is thought to be a lone suicide bomber and that makes it a lot easier to detonate than leaving a device and detonating it remotely, but I do not subscribe to the lone wolf theory.
“It is very difficult to build these devices on your own, he will have likely had help either in person or electronically through messaging apps or online forums.
“They will have been preparing for at least a month, this is not days, this is weeks, months or even years of preparation.
“No doubt they would have carried out some reconnaissance, it will have been very well planned and the individuals might have regarded the security at the stadium as too difficult and chosen the walkway as the next best option.
“This act also took place on the anniversary of Lee Rigby and it could have some influence that Trump is in Saudi Arabia or that we are preparing for a General Election.
“It might have been something like a pressure cooker or something more easily accessible.
“It was within the walkway between the stadium and the station this would have been an area with a high footfall with people leaving the stadium, they will be looking for somewhere they are going to optimise casualty ratings.
“People are at their most vulnerable when they are either leaving or arriving at a venue.”
Mr Geddes added that security services may already know who the attacker is and have asked media outlets to not immediately publish names.
“It’s very difficult to identify someone who might just turn up and detonate as we saw last night.
“Security services may know who he is by the fact that they have asked the media not to name anyone at this stage.
“The number of suspects they are monitoring right now is immense and there is inevitably going to be someone who slips through.”