The mother of one of the Manchester Arena attack victims has this week graduated with a Masters degree in Counter Terrorism.
After two years of study, 60-year-old Figen Murray – whose son Martyn Hett was one of 22 people killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing – has gained an MSc in Counter Terrorism, and graduated on Wednesday with a distinction from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Figen said she completed the degree to try and understand why her son was killed.
“When my son was killed in a terrorist attack, I remember clearly thinking ‘you kill my baby, you watch what I am going to do!’ [and] at the time, I had no idea what shape or form that would take, but I simply took the murder of my son very personally, and it became an issue between me and terrorism,” she explained.
She continued: “Martyn would not want me to be angry and bitter, but I quickly realised I knew absolutely nothing about terrorism.
“I didn’t understand why people would be so angry to resort to blowing themselves up and take others with them [and] I wondered what made them so cross with humanity so, I had the need to find the answers to so many questions around terrorism.”
Originally from Stockport, Figen worked full-time as a psychotherapist in private practice until the day of the Arena attack.
But when she went to UCLan’s Preston Campus to give a talk to the students there, she had a conversation with course leaders Jim Bonworth and Ian Palmer, and she soon realised she wanted to enrol on to the two-year course herself.
“I found the first year very interesting as we were given so much information about the historic background,” she continued.
“Sometimes it was difficult to sit through, say if there were photos of an attack or a major crime scene, I had to look away and try to ground myself in those moments, but I was determined not to leave the classroom.
“I always thought ‘Bring it on! I can do this!’ [and] there were thankfully only a few of those tricky moments.”
What’s even more impressive is that Figen managed to combine her course work with attending the Old Bailey trial of Hashem Abedi – the brother of the Manchester Arena bomber – and with the ongoing Manchester Arena Inquiry too.
“I am obviously very thrilled to have graduated but I cannot believe I managed to complete it due to my circumstances,” she admitted.
Figen – who publicly forgave bomber Salman Abedi less than a month after the attack to “break the cycle of hate that existed” – is now aiming to reach more young people with talks about the dangers of online radicalisation, and is campaigning the government for the introduction of ‘Martyn’s Law’, which will mandate security at public venues instead of having it as a recommendation.
“To have passed with a distinction is something I cannot even comprehend as I have been in a constant state of emotional stress throughout the two years I was on the course,” she concluded.
“I guess it was due to sheer grit and determination.”
Peter Kay issues heartfelt thanks to Manchester fans and teases ANOTHER big announcement
Peter Kay has sent a lovely message to fans in Manchester after making his triumphant return to the live scene last weekend.
The Bolton comedian has just ticked off the first two nights of a mammoth run at the AO Arena, which includes 42 Manchester shows between now and 2025.
On his opening night – his first real venture into the spotlight since he largely stepped away from the public eye 12 years ago – he was moved to tears by the standing ovation he received before he’d even started the show.
And now Peter has issued a heartfelt thank you message.
He said in a statement: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came to the first shows in Manchester.
“It was incredible to be part of such a happy experience.
“Everybody deserves a bit of joy. Here’s to a lot more in the shows to come!!”
And that’s not all – his post also hinted that there’s yet another announcement to come (because apparently more than 100 tour dates and breaking the internet with ticket demand wasn’t enough).
The late monarch – who celebrated her Platinum Jubliee back in June 2022, before sadly passing away in September – the word guessing game that took the world by storm, and the disgraced Manchester United footballer are just three of the topics that have peaked the interest of Brits enough to search for them on Google this year.
Wordle took the top spot on the 2022 list, after gamers nationwide presumably used the search engine to figure out the answers each day.
The puzzle game beat out the 2022 World Cup – which is currently underway in Qatar with the Three Lions set to face France in the Quarter Finals – which came in second place, followed by Ukraine and Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) rounding out the top five.
As well as Ukraine, the country of Russia has also made its way into the top 10 most-searched topics, thanks to the latter’s invasion of the former.
Likely the most familiar name on the list to Mancunians will be that of Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood – who is due to face trial next year after being charged in 2022 with attempted rape, assault, and controlling and coercive behaviour relating to the same woman.
Wordle is not alone on the list when it comes to games either, as its more difficult counterpart Quordle – which tasks hardcore players with guessing four words in just nine tries – ranked in eighth place on the list.
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who was the subject of a new Netflix series starring Evan Peters in 2022, and actor Johnny Depp, who was at the forefront of a highly-publicised libel trial between him and his ex-wife Amber Heard for a considerable chunk of the year, are the last two searches to round out the top 10.