Mother of Manchester bombing victim graduates from UCLan counterterrorism diploma

Figen murray

A grieving mother earned a master’s degree in counterterrorism after her son was killed in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.


Figen Murray, 60, whose son Martyn Hett was one of 22 people killed in the attack, received an honor from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Figen finished the course to try to understand why her son died in such tragic circumstances.

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She said: “When my son was killed in a terrorist attack, I remember thinking you were killing my baby, you watch what I’m going to do!

“At the time, I had no idea what form it would take, but I just took the murder of my son very personally, and it became a problem between me and terrorism.

“Martyn wouldn’t want me to be angry and bitter, but I quickly realized that I knew absolutely nothing about terrorism. I couldn’t understand why people would be so angry about blowing themselves up and taking others with them.

“I wondered what made them so intersect with humanity, so I needed to find the answers to so many questions around terrorism.”

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Figen, from Stockport, worked full time as a psychotherapist in a private practice until the day of the attack.

She came to the Preston campus to talk to the students, and after a conversation with Jim Bonworth and Ian Palmer, she soon realized she wanted to enroll over the two-year course.

She said: “I found the first year very interesting, because we were given so much information about the historical background and a host of other topics related to terrorism, such as sectarian violence, radicalization, conflict. of the Balkans and the far right. movement.

“Sometimes it was difficult to sit still, let’s say if there were pictures 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, go for it! I can do it! Fortunately, there were only a few of those difficult times.

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Figen has four other grown children and five grandsons and has combined his lessons with participating in Hashem Abedi’s Old Bailey trial and the ongoing Manchester Arena investigation.

She attended college on a Tuesday before taking the London train direct from Preston to Euston station to meet her husband, Stuart.

They both attended court three days a week, and during that time Figen had to write essays and found it difficult.

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She wrote on the train, in hotel lobbies, and in the corner of the family room during court breaks.

Figen publicly forgave suicide bomber Salman Abedi less than a month after the attack to break the cycle of hatred. She now aims to reach more young people with discussions about the dangers of radicalization online.

She is campaigning with the government to introduce the Martyn Law, which will enforce security in public places. At present, this is only a recommendation.

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Figen donned her cap and academic gown on December 16 as she took the stage at the Sir Tom Finney Sports Center.

She added: “I am obviously very happy to have graduated but cannot believe I managed to complete it due to my situation.

“To be successful with an honor is something I can’t even comprehend as I have been in a constant state of emotional stress throughout the two years I have taken the course.

“I guess it was due to courage and determination.”

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