Families of the 21 Birmingham pub bombings victims continue justice fight as hearings reopen 44 years later

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RELATIVES of the 1974 Birmingham bombings victims pleaded for the truth as the inquests resumed.

Twenty-one died in two pub blasts blamed on the IRA, and the hearings reopened yesterday after 44 years and a long battle by relatives.

Birmingham Bombings campaigners
Getty Images – Getty

Relatives campaign for justice on the first day of the reopened inquest into the 1974 Birmingham bombings[/caption]

But there was outrage that those believed to be responsible will not be named in the inquests.

Bombs ripped through the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town on November 21 but the killers were never brought to justice.

Paul Bridgewater, whose dad Paul Davis, 18, was among the dead, said before the hearings in the city: “The coroner has ruled out a lot of things but we want the truth really.”

Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine, 18, was killed, cried and said: “I’m more angry now than I ever have been because my sister is not here to be with us.”

Six men — known as the Birmingham Six — were wrongfully convicted and spent 17 years in jail before the convictions were quashed.

The terror attacks, which also injured 220, were Britain’s deadliest until the 7/7 London Tube and bus bombings in 2005.


Coroner Sir Peter Thornton told the jury they would hear evidence security forces had forewarning.

But he said the question of who planted the bombs was for police, prosecutors and the courts.

The inquests, originally opened and adjourned days after the blasts but not resumed, could last six weeks.

Mulberry Bush pub after Birmingham bombings
PA:Press Association

Remnants of the Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham, one of two pubs where bombs exploded[/caption]

Maxine Hambleton Birmingham bombings victim
PA:Press Association

Maxine Hambleton, 18, died in the bombings[/caption]

Pamela Palmer Birmingham bombings victim
PA:Press Association

Victim Pamela Palmer, 19[/caption]

Desmond Reilly Birmingham bombings victim
PA:Press Association

Desmond Reilly, 20, one of two brothers who died in the attacks[/caption]

Eugene Reilly Birmingham bombings victim
PA:Press Association

Eugene Reilly, 23, who died alongside brother Desmond Reilly[/caption]

Stephen Whalley Birmingham bombings victim
PA:Press Association

Stephen Whalley, 21, died in the blast[/caption]

Clifford Jones Birmingham bombings victim
PA:Press Association

Victim Clifford Jones, 51, of Handsworth[/caption]

Marilyn Nash Birmingham bombings victim
PA:Press Association

Marilyn Nash, 22, was one of the 21 victims[/caption]

James Craig Birmingham bombings victim
PA:Press Association

James Craig, 34, died in the pub blasts[/caption]

Maureen Roberts Birmingham bombings victim
PA:Press Association

Victim Maureen Roberts, 20[/caption]

Jane Davies Birmingham bombings victim
PA:Press Association

Jane Davies, 17, was one of the youngest victims of the attack[/caption]

John Rowlands Birmingham bombings victim
PA:Press Association

John Rowlands, 46, was killed in the blast at the Mulberry Bush pub[/caption]

Michael Beasley Birmingham bombings victim
Family handout

Michael Beasley, 30, was a victim of the terror attack[/caption]

Paul Davies Birmingham bombings victim
Family handout

Paul Davies, 17, another of the youngest victims of the attack[/caption]

Lynn Bennett Birmingham bombings victim
Family handout

Lynn Bennett, 18, died in the blast[/caption]

Stanley Bodman Birmingham bombings victim
Family handout

Victim Stanley Bodman, 47[/caption]

Charles Grey Birmingham bombings victim
Family handout

Charles Grey, 44, victim of the terror attack[/caption]

Anne Hayes Birmingham bombings victim
Family handout

Anne Hayes, 19, lost her life in the Birmingham attacks[/caption]

Trevor Thrupp Birmingham bombings victim
Family handout

Trevor Thrupp, 33, was a victim of the attack[/caption]

James Caddick Birmingham bombings victim
Family handout

James Caddick, 40, died in the Birmingham terror attack[/caption]

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