Home Secretary Priti Patel meets Birmingham Pub Bombings families

Credit: PA

Home Secretary Priti Patel has met the families of the Birmingham Pub Bombings victims alongside West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.

She met the families virtually this afternoon (March 17th) to hear the testimony of their fight and desire to achieve truth, justice, and accountability for their loved ones.

The Home Secretary was left moved by the personal accounts from the families and promised to come to Birmingham and meet them face-to-face.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “My sympathies are with all those families who shared incredibly powerful and moving accounts of this awful event.

“I recognise the desire of the victim’s families and the wider community to see those responsible brought to justice, and I want to thank the families for taking the time to meet with me to discuss the case.”

Priti Patel Credit: PA

 In April 2019 an inquest found that 21 people were "unlawfully killed" following explosions in two pubs in the city centre - The Tavern in the Town and the Mulberry Bush.

Julie Hambleton, who lost her sister Maxine in the pub bombings, and is a member of Justice for the 21, said: “This meeting was a long time in coming and was truly traumatic for all of our families, having to re-traumatize ourselves to express how this atrocity has impacted our lives and how we are having to continue to fight for Truth, Justice & Accountability 46 years on."

1974 pub bombings

Below is a timeline of the key events surrounding the Birmingham bombings:

  • November 1974: A series of bombs in two pubs in Birmingham - the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town - kill 21 people and injure 182 others - the dead were all aged between 17 and 51

  • August 1975: Six men, Patrick (Paddy) Joseph Hill, Hugh Callaghan, Richard McIlkenny, Gerard Hunter, William Power and John Walker, are convicted of 21 counts of murder

  • March 1976: The Birmingham Six made their first appeal against their convictions - it was dismissed

  • 1985 - a series of programmes by the documentary strand 'World In Action' cast doubt on the case against the Birmingham Six

  • January 1987: Home Office referred the convictions of the Birmingham Six to the Court of Appeal

  • January 1988: the appeal was dismissed and the convictions were ruled to be 'safe and satisfactory'

  • August 1990: The Home Secretary again referred the convictions of the Birmingham Six to the Court of Appeal as a result of fresh evidence

  • March 1991: The Birmingham Six were freed after serving 16 years in prison

  • 2001: The Birmingham Six were awarded compensation for their wrongful imprisonment ranging from £840,000 to £1.2 million

  • November 2011: Maxine and Brian Hambleton, who lost their 18-year-old sister Maxine, set up Justice4the21

  • April 2014: Then-Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, Chris Sims, refused to reopen formal inquiries into the attacks as there was "no new evidence"

  • December 2014: In a memoir, Kieran Conway, a former senior officer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), formally admitted the group's involvement in the Birmingham pub bombings

  • October 2015: a senior coroner considers whether to reopen the inquest into those killed in the bombings

  • June 2016: Senior Coroner Louise Hunt rules that the inquests should be resumed, as there is a "wealth of evidence". She highlights two occasions when police were warned of imminent IRA attacks in the city

  • November 2016: Fresh inquests into the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings get underway amid a dispute of legal funding between the families of the victims and the Government

  • July 2017: Coroner decides that the new inquests into the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings will not identify any potential suspects

  • August 2017: Justice 4the21 ask the public for money to help fight their legal case and overturn the coroner's ruling

  • January 2018: High Court rules that the suspects will be named. The coroner appeals.

  • July 2018: Appeal Court judges asked to reverse a ruling by the High Court that those suspected of carrying out the Birmingham Pub Bombings can be named.

  • September 2018: The High Court rules the coroner doesn't have to name the suspects.

  • October 2018: A documentary airs on ITV which names two prime suspects

  • November 2018: A memorial to the 21 people who died in the Birmingham pub bombings was unveiled outside Birmingham New Street.

  • February 2019: The inquest into the deaths of the 21 people who died begins at Birmingham Coroners court on the 25th of February.

  • April 2019: The inquest concluded on the 5th of April.

  • October 2020: After a number of calls for a public inquiry, the Home Secretary agrees to look into the case for one.

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