Wednesday 13 December 2017

Mother of Manchester Arena victim Martyn Hett says she forgives his killer as hundreds attend funeral

Eleanor Barlow

The heartbroken mother of Manchester Arena bombing victim Martyn Hett has said she forgives her son's killer.

Figen Murray revealed she thinks suicide bomber Salman Abedi "doesn't deserve" to be hated.

She told Sky News: "The guy was a young man who was brainwashed, who was radicalised from an early age, and he did what he thought was the right thing in his crazy mind."

Hundreds of people attended a service in Stockport Town Hall in memory of Martyn (29) today.

Singer Mariah Carey was one of a host of stars who paid tribute to him.

In a video message that was played to the congregation, she said: "I just wanted to say that I love you and I'm so happy that we got a chance to meet and I know you're shining down on us from heaven.

"I'm happy that all your family and friends are gathered together in honour of you and that I played a strong role in your life is an honour to me."

The service was also attended by Coronation Street stars including Helen Worth (Gail Rodwell), Jennie McAlpine (Fiz Stape), Kym Marsh (Michelle Connor), Antony Cotton (Sean Tully), Faye Brookes (Kate Connor) and the show's producer Kate Oates.

The coffin for the Corrie superfan was decorated with the soap's logo as well as pictures of the cast.

Read More: Family of tragic Georgina (18) condemn 'evil, evil men' and urges British Government to 'open its eyes'

The coffin of Martyn Hett arrives at Stockport Town Hall Plaza for his funeral service
The coffin of Martyn Hett arrives at Stockport Town Hall Plaza for his funeral service

Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus welcomed mourners to the ceremony, which was played to mourners outside on a big screen.

She said she had met Mr Hett when he contacted her on social media to tell her how much he loved her.

She said: "I'm just someone that met Martyn because Martyn was so kind to me and kindness is really under-rated, I think, in this world today.

"So for the short time that I knew Martyn, those few years, I'll be forever grateful I knew Martyn, because Martyn was just so lovely and made such an impact on my life.

Mourners including Kym Marsh, Helen Worth and Kate Oates leave the funeral service of Martyn Hett
Mourners including Kym Marsh, Helen Worth and Kate Oates leave the funeral service of Martyn Hett

"For as long as I live I'll never forget Martyn and Martyn will always be in my thoughts."

She sang Emotional and All This Time, the song which she released after winning the TV talent contest in 2003.

Video messages from Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw and comedian Jason Manford were also played at the service, which saw about 600 people gathered in the ballroom of the town hall.

Grimshaw, who met Mr Hett on Twitter, said: "It's so sad to think that he's not going to be there every day to make us laugh in the way that he used to.

"He's a real inspiration and the one thing that I remember from Martyn is that he was a genuine inspiration on how to live your life and he found the joy in every day life and I think we should all try and remember that."

Martyn Hett
Martyn Hett

A video compilation was played during the service including moments from Mr Hett's social media as well as clips from his appearances on reality shows Come Dine With Me and Tattoo Fixers, where he had a portrait of Coronation Street's Deirdre Barlow tattooed on his leg.

Read More: Police arrest 11th person in connection with Manchester bomb attack

Paying tribute, his father, Paul Hett, told the congregation: "I would describe Martyn's life as one long rollercoaster ride. You never knew where it would take you or what was round that corner, but you couldn't wait for it to happen.

"He was inspirational and this in turn inspired everyone around him.

"His comic timing was perfect. He would have gone on to achieve the most amazing things, of that we have no doubt.

"In a very nice way, Martyn loved being in the limelight and the centre of attention. He would be loving every minute of this fantastic celebration of his life."

His stepfather, Stuart Murray, read a poem which he said had been sent to the family by Paul Quirke and he hoped would recognise the 21 other victims of the attack, which happened after an Ariana Grande concert on May 22.

He also read a letter written by a stranger who had seen Mr Hett at the concert and described him entertaining the stands by dancing to a Beyonce song as they waited for the gig to start.

He said: "Martyn was really the complete opposite of the person (bomber) and what happened on that awful day.

Antony Cotton and Jennie McAlpine arrive at the funeral service of Martyn Hett
Antony Cotton and Jennie McAlpine arrive at the funeral service of Martyn Hett

"He just swallowed it all up, all that hate and anger, and his star is shining bright for us all to see and remember."

When the service finished, the coffin was carried out of the church to Grande's One Last Time - the last song played at the concert before the terror attack.

Mourners stood in the street and applauded as the coffin left in a carriage pulled by two white horses.

The funeral of 15-year-old bombing victim Megan Hurley, from Halewood, Merseyside, was also held on Friday.

Speaking before the service, Rev Jane Durham, from St Nicholas Church, Halewood, where the funeral was held, said: "The pain of losing Megan has been deeply felt in our community and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends, as well as all those who are grieving for others affected by the Manchester atrocity."

Press Association

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