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Man loses bid to bring appeal over Manchester Arena hoax theory at High Court

A self-styled journalist who claims that the Manchester Arena bombing was staged by government agencies has been denied a chance to challenge a ruling that his theory is “absurd and fantastical”.

Richard Hall is being sued by bombing survivors Martin and Eve Hibbert for harassment, misuse of private information and data protection.

The father and daughter duo were at the Ariana Grande concert in May 2017 and suffered life-changing injuries, with Mr Hibbert left with a spinal cord injury and Miss Hibbert facing severe brain damage.

Manchester Arena incident
People look at flowers and tributes left in St Ann’s Square in Manchester following the Manchester Arena terror attack(Danny Lawson/PA)

However, Mr Hall has claimed that the attack, in which Salman Abedi detonated a homemade rucksack bomb in the crowd of concert-goers, was faked.

The author has been accused of visiting the homes and workplaces of those injured in the attack – including Miss Hibbert’s home – and recording footage of them.

In a ruling last month, Mr Hibbert and his daughter were successful in a bid for summary judgment – a legal step to decide parts of the case without a trial – on several parts of the case’s background.

This included rulings on whether 22 people did die during the attack, and whether the Hibberts’ injuries were caused by the bombing.

Judge Richard Davison said: “Suffice it to say that, although his beliefs may be genuinely held, his theory that the Manchester bombing was an operation staged by government agencies in which no one was genuinely killed or injured is absurd and fantastical and it provides no basis to rebut the conviction.”

He said it was “fanciful” to suggest that Abedi did not die and “still more fanciful” to argue the bomber was an intelligence asset.

Manchester Arena bombings legal case
Self-styled journalist Richard Hall claims the Manchester Arena bombing was faked (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

At a remote hearing on Wednesday, Mr Hall asked for the go-ahead to challenge the judge at the High Court’s decision.

Representing himself, he said: “There seems to be a lack of knowledge within the judiciary about false flag terrorism.”

Mr Hall claimed that “Nato countries” had carried out hoax events “to fool the public into thinking they are under attack”, adding: “It is very concerning that the judiciary does not seem to be aware of it.”

He subsequently claimed the inquiry into the Manchester Arena attack was “corrupt” and that the legal claim against him “is being used for an ulterior political purpose”.

“It is the real bomb attack hypothesis that is implausible because the evidence does not point to it,” Mr Hall continued in the hearing attended by more than 120 people.

Judge Davison denied Mr Hall permission to bring an appeal against his previous judgment.

He said: “Nothing that you have said amounts to, in my view, an argument that would have a real prospect of success in an appeal.”

Mr Hall now has 21 days to file a second bid to bring an appeal, which will be considered by a different judge.

The full trial in the Hibberts’ claim against Mr Hall is expected in July.