Names of suspects to be excluded from pub bombings inquest

The bombings in two city centre pubs killed 21 people, making it the deadliest peacetime attack in the UK at the time. Credit: ITV News

The names of suspects will not be involved in the inquest into the deaths of the victims of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings.

The Court of Appeal today ruled in favour of coroner Sir Peter Thornton QC, deciding that an investigation into who was responsible for the atrocities will not form part of the proceedings.

Sir Peter ruled in July last year that potential pepetrators should not form part of his inquiry.

In January this year, two High Court judges quashed the decision by Sir Peter, following a judicial review brought on behalf of the bereaved families.

Today's ruling overturned that High Court decision.

Firemen at work following the bomb attacks in Birmingham city centre in 1974 Credit: PA

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett announced today (Wednesday) that the coroner had made "no error of law" and that his decision "is not open to legal objection".

He added: "We allow the appeal and restore the original decision."

The families have two days to appeal.

The bombings in two city centre pubs, widely believed to be the work of the IRA, killed 21 people and injured 182, making it the deadliest peacetime attack in the UK at the time.

Six men, known as the Birmingham Six, were imprisoned for the murders and served 17 years behind bars in one of Britain's most infamous miscarriages of justice before their convictions were quashed.

Five West Midlands Police officers were charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with the original criminal investigation, but a judge ruled in 1993 that a fair trial would be impossible.