Martyn Hett was a victim of the Manchester terrorist attack that killed 22 people and hospitalized at least 59, and his brother Dan was the one to break the tragic news of the 29-year-old’s death to the world.
On Friday, Dan penned a detailed account for the Manchester Evening News of what happened in the 48 hours that followed the news of Martyn’s passing. Beginning with Monday’s Ariana Grande concert, Dan attempted to piece together his brother’s final night.
“He went to the gig with some friends. He was dancing, with a big stupid grin on his big stupid face for the whole time I’m sure,” Dan wrote. “And he went to get a drink. Then nothing. I know the layout of the Arena well and I knew very, very early on that if there was any chance he’d gone to the bar or the toilet there was just absolutely no way he had survived. But we still weren’t sure.”
Martyn, who was from Stockport, had been missing since he became separated from his friends.
“We were brought to the Etihad Stadium, where my parents and Martyn’s close friends had been since early morning,” Dan continued. “All the families with missing people had been there all day. We had to take the underground player’s tunnel to avoid the press outside. It got intense quickly. It was awful but we were united.”
Martyn’s partner, Russell Hayward, had also heard about the death confirmation.
“The emotion was too much and we decided to wait at home. We got our things together. Just as we got to the car park our family liaison officer called us back. That’s when we knew,” Dan recalled. “Martyn had ID on him. In a way we were lucky, other had to wait much longer to find out.”
In addition to his flashback of events, Dan thanked the many who offered support since the tragedy, specifically the police.
“The emergency services at every stage of this have been astonishing. The police have been incredible, the comfort we’ve had from them,” he said. “We’ve never been in the dark about any of it. I honestly don’t think we could have got through it as a family without them. They’ve been completely transparent with us when they were carrying out an unimaginable task.”
Understandably, the Hett family has been grieving and Dan described the amount of generosity he and his loved ones have received thus far.
“Every facet of support that we’ve needed has been met and exceeded. Everyone has been so supportive – right down to the little things,” he continued. “Massive piles of pizza turned up, every possible kind of supply for the families. I was never without a cup of coffee in my hand, just constantly supported in every little way right down to the shops not taking our money when we needed to nip out for bits and pieces. The spirit of generosity has been unreal.”
Adding, “On behalf of my family, I really just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has reached out. We are tens of thousands of messages in, dozens and dozens of bunches of flowers and chocolates and teddies. We’re swamped at my mum’s house.”
As for why Dan chose to speak out in a public manner, he gave some background on Martyn’s personality and character.
“I know a lot of people want some level of privacy during this type of thing but I think the manner in which Martyn lived, he was such a known figure, it’s quite fitting to who he was,” he said. “I hate going into clichés but Martyn just had this completely unstoppable lust for life, it was unbelievable. He was the most memorable character you could conceive of. Annoying as f— all day but just the most memorable guy. We were joking about it but the idea that he’s received so many messages on Twitter and then been trending is just stupendously fitting a tribute for him really, as silly as that sounds. There is no one else I know that would evoke the same level of response.”