A security guard who missed a chance to stop the Manchester Arena bomber minutes before he detonated his device worried about being branded a racist if he intervened, he told a public inquiry in the UK.
Kyle Lawler, who was 18 at the time, described how he had been alerted to fears that Salman Abedi looked "dodgy" as he lingered outside the Ariana Grande concert with a heavy backpack.
The guard admitted to having a "bad feeling" as the "fidgety and sweaty" bomber stared at him from between 10 and 15ft away, and said he started to "panic".
But he told a public inquiry into the May 2017 terror attack that he had been "unsure about what to do" and "scared of being wrong and being branded a racist" if he passed on concerns about Abedi's behaviour.
"For all I knew he might have been an innocent young Asian male, sitting on the steps," Lawler said.
He said he "didn't want people to think I was stereotyping people because of their race. If I had got it wrong, I would have got in trouble."
Six minutes after Lawler was alerted, Abedi stood up, walked towards the crowds streaming out of the arena and detonated his shrapnel-packed device, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds more.
Lawler had his attention drawn to Abedi by his colleague Mohammed Agha, who had in turn been alerted by a member of the public at 10.15pm who was worried he looked "dodgy".
Giving evidence yesterday, Lawler said he was unable to get through on his radio to alert the control room because the channel was busy and eventually "gave up".
Lawler said he was "starting to panic a bit" as he and Agha monitored Abedi. "He was watching us, watching him," he said.
"He would kind of look, slightly look away and look back at us."
The security guard told the hearing he said: "I don't like him, I don't think he's here for a proper reason." Lawler finally left the area at 10.26pm, five minutes before the blast.
"I felt unsure about what to do," he said. "It's very difficult to define a terrorist.
"It made me hesitant. I wanted to get it right and not mess up by judging someone by their race."
Lawler had been working for Showsec, the security contractors at Manchester Arena, since he had left school at 16, initially earning £4.24 ($8.28) an hour, the hearing was told. His wage at the time of the bombing was not mentioned but his steward colleague was on £7.14 ($13.94) an hour.
Lawler accepted he was aware that the threat of a terrorist attack was "severe" at the time, meaning an attack was "highly likely" – and had been trained in how to spot suspicious behaviour.
Stewards had been shown a video highlighting the threat to concert venues and giving the example of a suspect hanging around a venue for prolonged period.
Giving evidence, he admitted being "naive" about the possibility of a terrorist attack, believing that one "won't happen to me". He said: "You see it on the news and it is always not on your doorstep."
Before he began his evidence, a statement was read in which Lawler said he found it "very difficult" to "disentangle" what he was thinking at the time and what he knew now with the benefit of hindsight.
He agreed that on five separate occasions he made statements where he "deliberately shortened" the time between him leaving the City Room – the foyer where the bombing happened – to the bomb going off. He said had done this "so no one would say, why didn't you do something?"
Lawler said he remained "almost crippled" with guilt over what happened and wished he had made "different choices".
After giving evidence he broke down in the witness box and proceedings had to be halted.
Jonathan Laidlaw QC, representing Showsec, has previously told the inquiry that its employees should not "become scapegoats".
He pointed out that the foyer where Abedi was waiting was open to the public, and said that even if efforts had been made to clear the area it would not have been possible to prevent him detonating his explosive device.
The inquiry continues.