Dozens of Scots being treated as witnesses to Manchester blast

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visists those injured at the Manchester Arena. Picture; Getty
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visists those injured at the Manchester Arena. Picture; Getty
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Police have confirmed that 41 Scots were present at the Manchester pop concert where suicide bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley said they had been identified as witnesses during the investigation by Greater Manchester Police.

It came as tributes were paid to Eilidh MacLeod, 14, from Barra, who died in the explosion at the Ariana Grande concert on Monday night. Her friend, Laura MacIntyre, 15, also from Barra, remains in a Manchester hospital with serious injuries and family liaison officers from Scotland have travelled to the city to support both families.

Mr Gormley said extra resources had been deployed to the island, adding: “It’s a tragedy of unimaginable proportions that has been wreaked on those families and the people of Manchester.”

Mr Gormley said the “deepest sympathies” of all at the force went to Eilidh’s family, as he provided an update on security measures in Scotland.

He said: “In broad terms, we had 41, so far, people from Scotland who have identified themselves or been identified to us as witnesses that were present at the event.”

Troops have been deployed at Ministry of Defence and civil nuclear sites across Scotland to free up armed officers after the UK’s terror threat level was raised to critical.

“Based on what I know at the moment, there is no foreseeable prospect of us needing to ask for military colleagues to patrol in the public space,” Mr Gormley said.

“That is a contingency that exists in extremis and you rule nothing in and nothing out, you’re a fool if you do at this stage.

“What I can say is in terms of the overall resilience of Police Scotland, as a single national force we have got well-established protocols around this, we know how to do it and because of the investments that have been made and the scale of our organisation, we have sufficient firearms capability to meet all foreseeable threats and demands going forward.”

The chief constable said security arrangements around upcoming events such as the Scottish Cup final, the visit to Edinburgh of former US president Barack Obama, the Edinburgh Marathon Festival and the Lisbon Lions memorial events in Glasgow had been reviewed to ensure they were “fit for purpose”.

Yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led the tributes to Eilidh MacLeod, and said the Scottish Government was working with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to support people on Barra, with educational psychologists on hand to help school pupils.

In Manchester, the Queen visited some of the youngsters injured in the blast at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and condemned the “very wicked” attack.

British investigative efforts remain focused on smashing a potential terror network connected to Abedi. Police said they had made “significant” arrests and seized “very important” items in raids so far.