FAMILIES of the 22 people murdered in the Manchester Arena suicide bombing have called for more “openness and transparency” from police over their ongoing investigation.

About 40 relatives sat in court at a pre-inquest hearing into the deaths of the 22 killed in the attack on May 22 2017.

The hearing, at Manchester Town Hall before Coroner Sir John Saunders, also heard any inquest may not be held until April 6 2020 - almost three years after the outrage.

Pete Weatherby QC, who is representing the families of Alison Howe and the youngest victim, Saffie-Rose Roussos, aged eight, told the hearing: “No-one has a greater interest on the proper course of justice being followed than the families.

“All that I am asking is that 20 months after the outrage of the bombing the families ought to be presented with a greater level of factual detail about the process.

“In essence what we seek, through the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Greater Manchester Police (GMP), is a greater amount of factual transparency.”

Mr Weatherby said the information sought included questions about what had been achieved so far, what hurdles remained in returning Hashem Abedi back to the UK, whether he was in detention in Libya and who was he being held by.

John Cooper QC, representing 10 of the families, added that one of the “fundamental questions” for the inquest would be what information the security services had about the bomber before the attack.

Jeremy Johnson QC, representing GMP, said the force was “very sympathetic” to the families’ request but that progress in the matter was not being driven by the police, and that other authorities in the UK and Libya were also involved.

In opening remarks to the hearing, Sir John Saunders said it was a matter for the CPS and GMP how much information could be made public without risking a fair trial.

The inquest will also cover the build-up and the attack itself, security arrangements at the Arena, the emergency response, the victims and their cause of death, and whether any deaths could have been prevented.

Another pre-inquest hearing will be held later in the year.

At the end of the two-hour hearing, Mr Cooper added that it was a matter of “great concern and distress” that the spot where the shrapnel-packed homemade bomb was detonated was still visible.

Repairs to the entrance to the Arena show which marble tiles have been replaced after impact from the bomb and other fragments, which “clearly delineates where this atrocity happened”, he said.