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Manchester Arena victim’s mother supports ground-breaking counter-terrorism course

Days after hearing harrowing evidence at the Manchester Arena inquiry, a victim’s mother is at the University of Cumbria to support the start of a pioneering counter-terrorism risk management course.

Figen Murray has paid tribute to the university’s vision, saying terrorism is an on-going threat that the country has to live with and that the introduction of robust safety legislation is vital.

Her son, Martyn Hett, was 29-years-old when he was one of 22 people killed in the 2017 terror attack.

Mrs. Murray, who lives in south Manchester, said it is imperative that people who work in safety, counter-terrorism and security have the opportunity to receive expert training in risk management.

She explained, “It currently feels that terrorists are a step or two ahead of the rest of us, but hopefully the university’s advanced diploma will help close some of the gaps.”

With course numbers restricted to 12 due to Covid-19, Mrs. Murray said she was pleased to be joining students on their first day at Ambleside campus and would be keeping in touch as the course progressed.
She has been the driving force behind Martyn’s Law, which is asking for mandatory vulnerability assessments and proportionate security mitigation at venues to boost safety. It is currently being stalled by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am hopeful this is going to be launched soon and what the university is doing dovetails perfectly,” said Mrs Murray.

“Terrorism is a modern-day menace we all have to live with. Up to the point where we were devastated as a family, I thought it only happened on the news and in films. I never thought we would become the news.”

“Although the chances of being involved in an attack are rare, they are totally destructive on the families unlucky enough to be caught up in them. The threats are there and I firmly believe the public should have increased awareness of personal safety.”

“The more in-depth specialist training we have means we stand a better chance of dealing with terrorists more effectively. I would like other universities to follow Cumbria’s lead and for these courses to be available across the country.”

Mrs. Murray said that, after the pain and anguish of attending the current Manchester Arena inquiry with 21 other bereaved families, the Cumbrian visit on Tuesday (September 22) offered hope for future security.

Safety expert and course leader, Edward Grant, said Figen Murray’s appearance at the start of the Advanced Diploma in Counter-Terrorism Risk Management course signalled a strong message to students.

He added: “We are delighted to welcome this inspirational, brave woman who has channelled her horrific experience into solid action to help others. I know that our students are going to be motivated and stimulated by what she has to say.”

Specialist tutors include Garry Jones and Phil Boardman, whose S.T.O.R.M 4 Events Ltd company operates from Conwy in Wales.

S.T.O.R.M 4 Events Ltd have joined the University of Cumbria to deliver the first civilian-based accredited qualification in Counter-Terrorism Risk Management. It addresses a recognised gap between public sector specialists trained as Counter Terrorism Security Coordinators (CT SecCo) and safety and security managers. For more information on the course, please contact Steve Blake on 07958904657 or e-mail