PLATELL'S PEOPLE: Associate of Manchester Arena bomber to be released

PLATELL’S PEOPLE: A callous insult to the victims of the Manchester Arena attack as a terrorist and associate of the bomber is to be released from jail

Haven’t the families of the 22 who died in the Manchester Arena bombing suffered enough?

During the inquiry into the atrocity, they have had to endure hearing how it took 40 minutes for a paramedic to arrive after the bombing when children were bleeding to death.

They were told the most senior officer on duty, PC Jessica Bullough, who later accepted the Queen’s Bravery Medal for her courage on the night, had taken a two-hour meal break to buy a kebab.

And that a security guard, Kyle Lawler, had a ‘bad feeling’ after spotting Salman Abedi with his massive backpack, but feared if he reported him he would be branded a racist.

Abdalraouf Abdallah is imprisoned here for helping his brother and two other jihadists to travel to Syria and fight for Isis — and he is suspected of grooming Salman Abedi

Perhaps most unforgivably, they also learned that M15 had the bomber Abedi on their radar but did not consider him a serious risk.

Now, on top of this appalling catalogue of cock-ups, complacency and political correctness comes the news that a convicted terrorist and associate of Abedi is to be released from jail. Even though he has steadfastly refused to cooperate with police over the bombing.

Abdalraouf Abdallah is imprisoned here for helping his brother and two other jihadists to travel to Syria and fight for Isis — and he is suspected of grooming Salman Abedi.

Abedi visited Abdallah in prison several times and even spoke to him via a smuggled mobile phone on the day he took delivery of chemicals for the bomb. Yet he is to walk free after serving only five-and-a-half years for terror offences.

What a body blow for the families of victims. Although they are not the only ones ‘shocked and devastated’ at hearing of Abdallah’s imminent release. We all are.

Abdallah will be placed in supervised accommodation — at our expense. He will be electronically tagged but free to roam the streets. And he must engage in a de-radicalisation programme — as did the murderer who fatally stabbed Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones in the London Bridge terror attack last year.

The last words go to Robby Potter, who was hit in the heart by shrapnel from the Manchester bomb but survived. He spoke for all the victims as well as all decent Brits, when he said: ‘The penalty for all terrorism should be life.’

The 22 victims of the terror attack during the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in May 2017

Bible lesson for Welby

Before his three-month sabbatical next year, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the worldwide Protestant Christian congregation, denounces as ‘shameful’ the £4 billion cut in Foreign Aid to support struggling families here.

Surely the Archbishop knows the words from the 1611 King James Bible: ‘But if any provide not for his owne, & specially for those of his owne house, hee hath denied the faith, and is worse then an infidel.’

In other words — charity begins at home.

Johnny Depp cannot appeal against a High Court judgment that he is a ‘wife beater’. He’s also been replaced in Fantastic Beasts 3 by Bond baddie Mads Mikkelsen. Yet his Dior Sauvage TV ad continues. Frankly, if I found a bottle of Johnny’s Sauvage in my bathroom, my first instinct would be to duck.

Keeping ahead of Kardashians

The American Latino singer Selena Gomez has toppled both Kim Kardashian and sister Kylie to gain the most ‘likes’ for swimwear on Instagram

Heartening to see that in the silly social media world of body-perfect women, the American Latino singer Selena Gomez has toppled both Kim Kardashian and sister Kylie to gain the most ‘likes’ for swimwear on Instagram.

Unlike the Kardashians in their cheese-cutter bikinis, petite Selena is wearing a modest one-piece suit revealing a scar on her inner thigh resulting from surgery to repair an artery damaged by her kidney transplant. 

‘I feel confident in who I am and what I went through,’ she says, ‘I’m proud.’ If I knew how to do it, I’d add my ‘like’ to Selena’s 13,489,873 so far.

Prince Charles has adopted three young hedgehogs, hoping they will breed and deal with pests on his Aberdeenshire estate. But how long has he been a fan? 

One clue could be found in the waspish diaries of Sir Roy Strong, serialised in this paper. 

‘Camilla appeared in lilac,’ wrote Roy of an event the Duchess attended with Charles in 2006, ‘a very tiny Mrs Tiggy-Winkle . . . with a sweet smile’. Spiky, twinkly, mischievous: no wonder Charles fell for her all those years ago. 

Nicole’s undoing

On Monday, millions will tune in to the psychological thriller The Undoing to find out whodunit. Hugh Grant, as a philandering husband who had a child with Elena before her brains were smashed in? Or his wife Grace (Nicole Kidman), in a jealous rage?

Yet when the credits roll on the finale, two mysteries will remain unsolved. How did Grant, looking every second of his 60 years, get to be considered such a great actor?

And how does Nicole, 53, seem un-aged since 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut? No wonder we kept focusing on her swivel-eyes as she learned of the horrors her husband had committed. It’s the only part of her face that still moves.

Great news that Strictly’s incredibly irritating, long-serving judge Bruno Tonioli can’t appear on the final as he’s stuck in the U.S. due to travel bans. Luckily the panel has national treasure Anton Du Beke. As I know from experience when we briefly waltzed together, Anton can make even the ugliest duckling feel as if they’re the star in Swan Lake.

Hurrah that 20-year-old student Peter Sawkins won The Great British Bake Off. A triumph from a slim lad who dreamed of lifting the trophy aged 12 and did so with his Bonkers Bubble Cake — with a day’s worth of calories per slice. How does baker Peter stay so slim while his contemporaries reach record levels of obesity?  

Westminster wars  

The PM is facing a Tory rebellion over his draconian tier system. His sophistry to those facing financial ruin is to offer a review of the system in two weeks, declaring: ‘Your tier is not your destiny!’ No, but the tears of bankrupt business owners may well define his own at the next election.

One of Carrie Symonds’s besties is at the centre of another cronyism row as Boris is blocked from appointing the wet-behind-the-ears Ross Kempsell to one of the most senior posts in Tory Central Office. 

He would replace experienced head of research Iain Carter, who was Carrie’s boss when she was encouraged to resign for either not being very good at her job or being opaque over her expenses.

After his ‘come together’ speech, Rishi Sunak was compared with Mrs Thatcher. He shares something else with Lady T, rather fine ears which she was able to conceal under her trademark bouffants.

What a cruel and sexist situation when a third of all the women with criminal convictions are merely ‘guilty’ of not paying for an expensive TV licence. Meanwhile, the woke BBC, trumpeting its equal pay agenda, hands Zoe Ball a £1 million pay rise.

Slapping criminal records on some of our most vulnerable women so overpaid broads can enjoy plum jobs? The law is an ass — and it’s high time we kicked it.

Topshop sail time 

So it may be farewell to Philip Green and his business empire which apparently faces collapse. It was in Topshop in 1985 that I and my first husband John bought our first work outfits, having recently arrived from Australia.

They were a bit shiny, but cool. Recently, Philip phoned me at home to chide me over an article I’d written about his wife Tina that he felt was unkind.

He was mistaken, but I admired him for defending her.

Now, of course, he can lick his wounds aboard his £100 million super-yacht — but if the good ship Arcadia goes under, it’s his thousands of newly jobless staff who will be sunk.

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