Manchester Arena attack survivor suing conspiracy theorist who claims it was staged
Research from Kings College London shows that of 4,000 people surveyed as many as 14% think that crisis actors were probably involved in the Manchester Arena attack.
Martin HIbbert, a survivor of the 2017 Manchester Arena terror attack who was paralysed from the waist down, is suing a conspiracy theorist who claims that the tragedy was staged.
Hibbert and his daughter Eve, who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the attack, have both been targeted by UK conspiracy theorist Richard D. Hall.
Richard D. Hall maintains that the attack was a hoax and has physically tracked down survivors of the Manchester Arena attack to determine whether it was fake.
The conspiracy theorist, who says that those killed in the attack are really alive and living abroad, has also been profiting from his theories – selling books and DVDs outlining his theories, as well as sharing videos on Youtube and speaking at events.
The shocking events have been uncovered by the BBC’s disinformation correspondent Mariana Spring and will be aired as part of a BBC Panorama investigation and Radio 4 podcast investigation later today.
Speaking on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme this morning, Martin Hibbert said that whilst he supported freedom of speech he felt that Hall was “crossing the line” by “making money from people’s misery”.
He told the programme: “I’m friends with a lot of the deceased’s family and I’m friends and in contact with a lot of the survivors. A lot of them people are recluses in their own home, they’re too scared to even come out, to even come into Manchester, and that’s what kind of made me deal with it head-on.
“I’m not having it, especially with Eve, my daughter, she’s got enough on her plate at the minute without silly people like this.”
He continued: “It’s not about kind of silencing people but when people cross a line, when err, you know, they’re going out and you know, seeing people at their home, filming people when they don’t even know they’re being filmed and they’re writing books, making money from people’s misery, that’s when it has to stop, and that’s what we’re going to do.
“I’ve spoke to my legal team and you know they’re going to get on with it, so we will shut him up and we’ll shut him down, and it will then act as a precedent.
“If you’re going to do this, if you’re going to cross the line, then you’ll be stopped and you won’t make money from it, and that’s what you’ve got to do.
“He’s a bully at the end of the day and er you’ve got to go down to his level to teach him a lesson and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Commenting on the news, Andy Burnham said that it was “deeply worrying” before adding: “The law needs to be changed to make it a serious criminal offence to peddle these offensive lies and conspiracies with custodial penalties.”
The actions of Richard D. Hall are emblematic of a general rise in UK conspiracy theorists following the pandemic, said Spring.
According to research from Kings College London, of 4,000 UK people surveyed as many as 14% said they thought that crisis actors were probably involved in the Manchester Arena attack.
The Panorama investigation will air on the BBC tonight, whilst the Radio 4 podcast series is available on BBC Sounds now. Youtube has removed Hall’s channel and another one that promoted his content following conversations with the BBC.
Feature image – Twitter (@MartinHibbert)