Group of men overheard 'planning' Birmingham pub bombings, inquests told

Credit: ITV Central

A workman told police he overheard a group of Irishmen in a pub planning explosions just hours before the Birmingham pub bombings - but the officers didn't believe him and took them 45 minutes to react

Norman Catton, who is now dead, was fixing the central heating in the Dogpool pub in Stirchley in Birmingham on 21st November 1974. In a statement to police, read out at the inquests into the victims of the pub bombings, he said he was inches away from the men who were talking about "bangs and after the bangs and about catching a train at 9.30 that night".

He drove to the West Midlands Police training college nearby to report it but said it appeared to him that the the officer he spoke to didn't believe a word he said. It took 45 minutes for police to accompany him back to the pub by which time the men had left.

He said after the bombings police showed him pictures of three men they'd arrested and he recognised them as being three of the men in the pub. Six men were convicted of the bombings but were freed on appeal after their convictions were found to be unsafe.

The inquests continue.