Families of the 22 who died in the Manchester Arena bombing have reacted with anger and dismay after a second act of vandalism at a memorial for their lost loved ones.
A vandal scratched a series of lines into the white marble ‘halo’ featuring the names of those who died in the May 2017 attack.
Council officials have handed over to police CCTV of a suspect, a man who was captured at the ‘Glade of Light’ memorial in Manchester city center at about 2.15am today (Wednesday), the MEN understands.
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It’s the second act of vandalism at the memorial in two months.
In December, fences were pulled down and family members of some of the victims of the atrocity reported people ‘being sick and urinating’ nearby.
In the last attack, at least 15 different places around the marble halo have been vandalized with scratch marks.
The memorial was only opened to the public last month. An official unveiling will take place in the spring ahead of the fifth anniversary of the attack.
Following the latest act of vandalism, Claire Brewster, who lost her sister Kelly, 32, and was seriously injured herself, tweeted two broken heart emojis and asked: “What the f*** is wrong with you people?????”
Responding to that message, Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett, 29, was among the 22 who died in the attack, tweeted three black heart and thumbs down emojis alongside this message: “So sad to hear that. I don’t get the mindset of some people. They must have dark hearts to do such a thing.”
The damage caused is relatively minor but council officials are working to get the memorial repaired as quickly as possible, a council spokesman said.
Earlier, Manchester City Council’s city center spokesman said: “These scrawlings are shameful and an insult to all those who lost their lives.
“We have three CCTV cameras on there so these vandals will be caught.
“These idiots have let down Manchester.”
The tribute was conceived as a living memorial – a peaceful garden space for remembrance and reflection, featuring plants which grow naturally in the UK countryside and which have been selected to provide year-round color and echo the changing seasons.
Around the anniversary of the bombing every year – May 22 – the white flowers of a hawthorn tree planted at its center will bloom.
An outer circle path, including seating, has been included to enable people to linger in the garden for longer while preserving the intimacy of the halo area.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “This morning, we were made aware of criminal damage to the Glade of Light memorial, Victoria Street, Manchester.
“Inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information should report it online, if able, or via 101 quoting incident 704 of 09/02/2022.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.