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  1. ITV Report

Birmingham Pub Bombings: Inquests to begin in February 2019

Credit: ITV News Central
  • Full inquests into the deaths of 21 people in the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974 will begin next year.
  • Nine weeks of inquests will start on February 11 2019, and will include pen portraits of each of the victims.

At a pre-inquest hearing today Judge Sir Peter Thornton QC, who will hear the inquests, was also told that lawyers for some of the bereaved families are seeking unbroadcast footage of the ITV Exposure documentary which named two of the alleged bombers.

Following a legal battle, the question of identifying precisely who the bombers were will not form part of proceedings.

Regarding attribution, which at the moment is focused on the Provisional IRA (PIRA), it could conceivably involve other agencies, including the British state, should the evidence take us in that particular direction...So the watchword will be 'flexibility' until the conclusion of the inquests and we have taken care to investigate every significant issue.

– Peter Skelton QC, counsel to the inquest

In relation to the issue of disclosure, we are awaiting Jon Ware's unbroadcast footage, including that of interviews with certain individuals, including (retired West Midlands Police officer) Bill Squires and others.

– Barrister Judi Kemish, for KRW Law

Two blasts ripped apart the Tavern in the Town and Mulberry Bush pubs in Birmingham city centre on the night of November 21.

It was the deadliest terrorist attack on the UK mainland until the London July 7/7 bombings claimed 21 lives and injured more than 220 other people.

A botched investigation by West Midlands Police led to the convictions of the Birmingham Six, who were found guilty of the murders a year later.

But their convictions were overturned in one of Britain's worst miscarriages of justice.

Nobody has ever been brought to justice for the attacks, although it was claimed in the recent ITV documentary by journalist Jon Ware that at least one of those responsible was now dead.

READ: Who were the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings?

WATCH: Sculpture to honour victims