Coroner rules Birmingham pub bombing inquests can be resumed

A coroner has ruled that inquests into the deaths of those killed in the Birmingham pub bombings can be reopened.

Two bombs exploded in pubs in the city on November 21, 1974, killing 21 people and injuring 182 others.

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West Midlands Police 'supports the resumption of inquests'

West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson has said the force 'supports' today's decision from the coroner to resume the inquest into Birmingham pub bombings.

Credit: PA

I support the Coroner’s decision and West Midlands Police will assist the process now underway.

The Birmingham Pub Bombings of 1974 are one of the most serious terrorist attacks in the UK. West Midlands Police not only failed to catch those responsible but caused a miscarriage of justice. I have said and reiterate again, it is the most serious failing in this force’s history.

It is almost 42 years since these events. I understand families of those who lost their lives are frustrated, disappointed and angry.

Since 2012 and directly as a result of the campaign by families of those who died we have carefully reassessed the opportunities to bring the people responsible to justice. Despite an intense scrutiny we have not been able to see, at this time, a prospect of doing this. That has been an authentic and painstaking search for the truth.

We have not nor will not close this investigation.

West Midlands Police will support this enquiry as we have done through the recent hearings by the Coroner which determined whether the inquest should re-open. I hope the new inquest provides answers to families.

– Chief Constable Dave Thompson

Tearful families hail 'seismic day' for bombings victims

Campaigners broke down in tears outside a court in Birmingham as they celebrated the city coroner's decision to resume the pub bombings inquests.

Julie Hambleton, who lost her sister Maxine in the 1974 attacks, said it was a "seismic day" for the families of the 21 people killed.

She said she felt that "anything is possible" now in their campaign for the truth.

Today is the most seismic day, for all of us.

I hope that our fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers are looking down and they're proud.

– Julie Hambleton

Addressing the bombers themselves - who have never been brought to justice - she urged them to speak up.

"If you have any level of humanity, and any moral compass, then by rights you should come forward," she added.

Birmingham Six's Paddy Hill welcomes inquest decision

Birmingham Six: (Left-right) John Walker, Paddy Hill, Hugh Callaghan, Chris Mullen MP, Richard McIlkenny, Gerry Hunter and William Power. Credit: PA Images

One of the men wrongly convicted of being behind the Birmingham pub bombings has welcomed a coroner's decision to resume inquests into the deaths of the 21 people killed.

Paddy Hill, one of the 'Birmingham Six' who spent 16 years behind bars for the attacks before their convictions were overturned, said the decision was a victory for the families of the victims.

He voiced scepticism over whether the inquests would reveal the "whole truth" about what happened, however, accusing police in Birmingham of "lying" over the decades since the bombings.

I want this for the families. They've had their whole worlds collapse twice - once when we got convicted, and they had something to focus on, they thought the guilty people were in prison.

And then when we got released, and ever since then they've been fighting for this, for 20 years.

Not only that, since we got out, all the Birmingham police have done with the families is tell them lies.

– Paddy Hill

He went on to say he believed he knew the identities of those who placed the bombs around the city - and while a couple had since died, others were still walking free.


Pub bombings campaigner hails 'momentous day'

A campaigner who had called on the inquests into the deaths of the Birmingham pub bombing victims to be resumed has hailed a "momentous day".

Julie Hambleton lost her sister Maxine in the 1974 attack, and went on to found the Justice4the21 campaign group with her brother Brian.

Speaking before the hearing today, she said all the families wanted was "the truth".

Coroner Louise Hunt later ruled the inquests should be resumed.

Police 'warned of IRA bomb hit a week before attack'

Police were warned that Birmingham would be a target for an attack by IRA sources a week before the pub bombings which killed 21 people, a coroner's court has heard.

ITV News correspondent Mark Gough is there:

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