A security guard had a “bad feeling” as he saw Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi but did not approach him for fear of being branded a racist, a public inquiry has heard.
Kyle Lawler said he was stood 10 or 15ft away from Abedi, who had been reported to security by a member of the public who thought he looked “dodgy”.
The Showsec security guard, aged 18 at the time of the terror attack, told police in a statement read to the inquiry sitting in Manchester: “I felt unsure about what to do.
“It’s very difficult to define a terrorist. For all I knew he might well be an innocent Asian male.
“I did not want people to think I am stereotyping him because of his race.
“I was scared of being wrong and being branded a racist if I got it wrong and would have got into trouble.
“It made me hesitant.
“I wanted to get it right and not mess it up by over-reacting or judging someone by their race.”
Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, said: “If you were to approach him and he was some innocent kid, people might think you were racist?”
Mr Lawler replied: “Yes.”
Abedi, 22, dressed all in black and carrying a large, bulky rucksack, was spotted and reported to security at 10.15pm on May 22 2017.
The Manchester-born bomber, whose parents were Libyan, was sat on steps near the back of the foyer of the arena, known as the City Room, awaiting the end of an Ariana Grande concert.
Around eight minutes before he detonated his device, Showsec steward Mohammed Ali Agha alerted Mr Lawler to the report by a member of the public and both began observing Abedi.
Mr Lawler said: “At that time he was just an Asian male sat amongst a group of white people.
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