Birmingham pub bombings: no new inquiry

Families of the 21 people who lost their lives in the Birmingham pub bombings 40 years ago have been told there will not be a fresh inquiry into the deaths.

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Bombing victims' relatives protest at Windsor Castle

Relatives of people killed in IRA bombings have protested outside Windsor Castle ahead of a state banquet tonight which will be attended by Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

Relatives of the victims of IRA bombings protest outside Windsor Castle Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine died in the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974 called for Mr McGuinness to be arrested, claiming he was involved in the atrocity.

Victor Barker, whose son was killed in the Omagh bombing in 1998, said he wanted people to be "reminded of McGuinness' past" as a member of the IRA.


Police: 'impossible' to re-open pub bombings inquiry

The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police has told ITV News Central that it would be "impossible" to restart the investigation into the Birmingham pub bombings without new information.

In an interview with presenter Bob Warman, Chris Sims added however that "it certainly isn't closed".

In a statement, CC Sims added that an investigation carried out between 1991 and 1994 was of a "good standard":

“Nothing would give me more satisfaction than to bring those responsible for this atrocity to justice. However we have found no new evidence that would assist us in bringing anyone to justice for the pub bombings."

– Chris Sims, West Midlands Police
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West Midlands Police: Insufficient evidence for inquiry

Relatives of the families of those killed in the 1974 Birmingham bombings met with West Midland Police today to discuss the possibility of a new inquiry into the death of their loved ones. The families were told there would be no new investigation, or proceedings.

Read: 'No fresh inquiry' into Birmingham bombings

Explaining the decision, Chief Constable Chris Sims said:

There have been questions over the years why certain individuals such as the people named by the media apparently never formed part of any investigation. I want to be open and transparent today and tell you that these men had been subject to investigation in the 1970s and the 1991-94 investigation.

There was insufficient evidence for proceedings against any person.

– Chris Sims

My professional judgement is that the 1991-94 investigation was carried out to a good standard.

– Chris Sims


'No fresh inquiry' into Birmingham bombings

The families of those killed in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings say police have told them there will not be a fresh inquiry into the attacks.

They have been speaking following a meeting with bosses at West Midlands Police today.

Julie and Brian Hambleton say they have been told there is 'no new evidence'. Credit: ITV News Central

ITV News Central Correspondent Keith Wilkinson said there was an angry response from the victims' families, following the talks.

Brian and Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine died in the bombings, said they would continue to fight on and would now be taking legal advice.

Six men were jailed for life for the atrocity in 1975, but sixteen years later, their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal.

Pub bombings timeline: How the tragedy unfolded

November 21, 1974

- Three bombs were planted.

- At 8.17pm, one of them exploded in a duffel bag in the Mulberry Bush pub in the Rotunda, killing 10 people.

- Ten minutes later, at 8.27pm, a second bomb exploded just 50 yards away in the Tavern in the Town, killing 11 more and injuring 182.

- A third bomb outside a bank on the Hagley Road failed to go off.

- Six Irish men were arrested within hours of the explosions.

August 15, 1975

- Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker were each handed 21 life sentences for the bombings.

March 14, 1991

- The Birmingham Six walk free after their second appeal is upheld. This followed years of campaigning and a number of media investigations which highlighted police failings.

'Angry exchanges' at Birmingham bombings meeting

Brian Hambleton, who lost his sister Maxine in 1974, was involved in a 'heated exchange' with police staff Credit: ITV News Central

The families of those killed in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings have been involved in 'angry exchanges' with police, ahead of a meeting with senior officers about whether to launch a fresh inquiry.

ITV News Central Correspondent Keith Wilkinson has witnessed a 'heated exchange' in the reception at West Midlands Police headquarters.

He said two legal representatives who were accompanying Brian Hambleton were initially told they would not be allowed to attend the meeting.

Mr Hambleton lost his 18-year-old sister Maxine in the bombings.

Keith Wilkinson said that after there were 'raised voices' and 'angry exchanges', the two legal representatives were allowed to go into the meeting.

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