Jury in Birmingham pub bombings inquests retires to consider conclusions

Credit: ITV News Central

The jurors in the Birmingham pub bombings inquests have retired to consider their conclusions.

The 11-member panel sat through almost six weeks of evidence.

The coroner has already directed them to find that the victims were "unlawfully killed" but they will now decide on other issues surrounding the explosions at two pubs in 1974.

Bombs went off in the Tavern in the Town and Mulberry Bush pubs on the night of November 21, killing 21 people and injuring 220 others.

9 people died instantly at the Tavern and another two in the weeks that followed Credit: ITV News Central

The jury must also answer specific questions, including about the adequacy of the coded bomb warning, the police response to the call, and whether the authorities were tipped off.

Sir Peter Thornton QC spent all of Wednesday and part of Thursday summing up evidence which has included testimony from a convicted ex-IRA bomber, the police, rescuers, and survivors.

He paid tribute to the "many who were very brave volunteers that night" helping the emergency services.

The Mulberry Bush circa 1974 Credit: ITV News Central

The inquests, which are being held at the civil courts building in Birmingham, came about after years of campaigning by relatives of the dead for a full account into the circumstances of what happened that night.

The pub bombings were the deadliest post-Second World War attack on the British mainland, until the 7/7 London terrorist attacks in 2005.

A botched investigation by West Midlands Police led to the 1975 convictions of the Birmingham Six, but their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1991.

Opening the inquests in February, Sir Peter, the former chief coroner for England and Wales, said: "These were calamitous events and require full and fair investigation at least as far as the inquest procedures may permit, under law."

Julie Hambleton, who lost her older sister in the bombings, said before the hearings that bereaved families wanted "truth, justice and accountability".

Credit: ITV News Central