MANCHESTER Arena suicide-bomber Salman Abedi was reported to police and security as acting suspiciously in the minutes before he detonated his bomb, the public inquiry into the terror attack was told.

One member of the public, William Drysdale, spotted Salman Abedi, 22, wearing a large backpack and thought he was praying, less than an hour before he detonated his bomb at 10.31pm on May 22, 2017, in the City Room of the Manchester Arena.

A second witness with Mr Drysdale then approached a British Transport Police (BTP) officer, the hearing was told.

The officer cannot recall the conversation, the hearing was told.

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry said, "At least one and possibly on two occasions someone drew attention to Salman Abedi acting suspiciously."

He said whether there were "missed opportunities" to prevent the attack or reduce its deadly impact would be a key consideration for the public inquiry.

Two more witnesses, known only as A and B, a couple who had taken their daughter to the concert, also saw a man matching Abedi's description acting suspiciously.

Mr A spoke to Mohammed Agha, an employee of Showsec, the firm which provided security to the Arena on behalf of the venue's owners, SMG.

Mr A spoke to Mr Agha at 22.14pm, 17 minutes before the detonation.

Mr Agha then spoke to a colleague, Kyle Lawler, about the matter, eight minutes before the bomb went off.

But neither security control, nor anyone else, was informed about the suspicious activity, hearing was told.

A member of the public challenged a man matching Salman Abedi's description at Manchester Arena and told security but was "fobbed off", the public inquiry heard.

The man, identified only as witness A, said the suspect looked "out of place" carrying a large rucksack in a crowded place.

Paul Greaney QC, said the witness spoke to the suspicious person.

"He asked the man, what have you got in your rucksack, but got no reply.

"'A' then said, 'It doesn't look very good you know, you with a bag in a place like this. What are you doing?"

The man replied: "I'm waiting for somebody, mate. Have you got the time? What time is it?"

Witness A then spoke to Mr Agha, employed by venue security firm Showsec, but said he was "fobbed off."

Mr Agha then spoke to fellow Showsec employee Kyle Lawler about the suspicious man and what they should do, the inquiry heard.

Mr Lawler is then said to have tried to radio his security control but could not get through. He then spotted the man get up and start walking towards the arena entrance.

His statement continued: "I just froze and did not get anything out on the radio. I knew at that point it was too late."

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquest, said the accounts of Showsec employees differ about what happened with "gaps and discrepancies" between their accounts and the CCTV evidence captured at the arena.

Mr Greaney has set out a series of questions the hearings will address.

He said this will include: "Why was Salman Abedi's hostile reconnaissance on the days prior to the attack not noticed by anyone?

"Was it understandable or, instead, a culpable failure? If the latter, was that the result of a systems or individual failure?"

Mr Greaney said: "Why did Mohammed Agha and Kyle Lawler not inform the control room or anyone else between 10.14pm and 10.31pm about the report from Witness A of a suspicious male, with backpack, on the mezzanine level of the City Room?

"If their failure to do so was culpable, was that the result of inadequate training and/or instruction or, instead, the consequence of individual error of ineptitude?"

The barrister asked whether there were other "missed opportunities" to identify Abedi.

He also asked whether the were enough British Transport Police officers on patrol in the area at the time and what would have happened if the control had been informed of Abedi acting suspiciously.