Coroner orders fresh inquests into Birmingham pub bombings

New inquests are to be held into the deaths of 21 people who were killed in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings.

The senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull Louise Hunt announced the decision after several review hearings and receiving "significant" new information.

During the recent hearings, families of some of those killed in the blasts in the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs put forward a claim that the British state had knowledge of the attacks planned by the IRA before they were carried out.

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Police support new Birmingham pub bombing inquests

The wreckage left at the underground Tavern. Credit: PA Wire

West Midlands Police have said the force will support the new inquests and admitted the botched investigation into the Birmingham pub bombing was "the most serious failing in this force's history".

New inquests are to be held into the deaths of 21 people who were killed in the Birmingham pub bombings in Birmingham City Centre in 1974.

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.

– Chief Constable Dave Thompson


Victim's sister in tears after fresh inquest decision

Julie Hambleton, whose older sister Maxine died in the bombings, said the decision represented "the most seismic day" for all the families.

After bursting into tears outside Council House in Solihull, she told reporters:

  • the decision was "beyond our expectations"
  • finding out the truth about the bombings "was fundamental"
  • urged the bombers to find their "moral compass" and come forward
  • called on the government to ensure families were given Legal Aid funding

Birmingham Six member 'very pleased' with ruling

Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six wrongfully convicted of the pub bombings, said he was "very pleased" with the coroner's decision.

Paddy Hill speaking after the coroner's decision. Credit: ITV News

"This is the first step that has been taken to find out the real truth and the massive cover up [between] the judiciary, the government and Birmingham police over the last 41 years," he said outside Council House in Solihull.

But he said he was still "sceptical" that the truth will emerge before going on to repeatedly attack West Midlands Police.

"Birmingham police couldn’t spell the word truth. They’re rotten.”

Asked if his faith in the authorities had been restored by the decision, Hill replied: "No way, no way - the system has got worse."


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