Birmingham pub bombings: No new inquiry to be held

Julie and Brian Hambleton vowed to "continue to fight until justice is done"

Related Stories

There will be no new inquiry into the Birmingham pub bombings after evidence was re-examined, police have said.

Twenty-one people were killed and 182 injured when two bombs exploded at the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town in November 1974.

Six people were jailed in 1975 but their convictions were quashed in 1991.

West Midlands Police said it had found "no new evidence that would assist us in bringing anyone to justice for the pub bombings".

Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was killed, met Chief Constable Chris Sims on Monday.

'Make or break'

Holding a photo of Maxine, she said: "We are disappointed but we are pragmatic - it is what we expected."

Scene after the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings Twenty-one people were killed when bombs exploded at the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town on 21 November 1974

It was the first time she and other members of her family had met the chief constable after first contacting him in 2009.

21 November, 1974

  • At 20:17 GMT a bomb exploded in a duffel bag in the Mulberry Bush pub in the Rotunda, Birmingham, killing 10 people
  • Ten minutes later, at 20:27, a second bomb went off in the Tavern in the Town, killing 11 more and injuring 182
  • A third bomb outside a bank on the Hagley Road failed to explode

West Midlands Police's Counter Terrorism Unit has been reassessing evidence connected with the original 1974 inquiry as well as material from the Court of Appeal and other documents.

Mr Sims said 18,500 items had been collated and preserved, 9,000 of which were analysed.

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

"I am sorry that families were not kept up to date or engaged with, as is standard practice today. Forty years ago was a different era and a different force."

Mr Sims said the case was not closed because "it is always possible that brand new and significant information could become available to us".

'Biggest unsolved murder'

Birmingham Six

  • Within hours of the explosions six Irish men were arrested - they later became known as the Birmingham Six
  • Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Johnny Walker, Hugh Callaghan, Richard McIlkenny and Billy Power were jailed for life in August 1975
  • The case was referred to the Court of Appeal, but the convictions were upheld in 1988
  • The convictions were quashed at London's Old Bailey in March 1991

BBC correspondent Anthony Bartram said there were angry scenes at West Midlands Police headquarters as the two sides argued over whether the entire Hambleton group, including two lawyers, would be allowed into the meeting.

Maxine's brother Brian Hambleton said: "Chris Sims has just rubber-stamped the fact that terrorists can come up to Birmingham, kill people and walk away.

"Birmingham is a soft touch for terrorists to come and carry out their arts, and they know the worst-case scenario is they might get arrested and sent to prison, they won't be sentenced to death."

Julie Hambleton described the bombings as England's "biggest unsolved murder of the 20th Century" and vowed to "continue to fight until justice is done".

"We're fighting for those who aren't here to fight for themselves," she said.

Firefighters outside remains of Tavern in the Town pub The two bombs went off 10 minutes apart in pubs a few yards from each other

She said that the police had told her 35 pieces of evidence were missing, including a third device that failed to explode on the night of the bombings.

Mr Sims said the force assumed the items had been disposed of in the 1980s "on the basis the case had been completed".

He said: "That feels utterly at odds with current procedure but was probably not as unusual at that time.

"We're not able to trace back when it happened and who was responsible."

Paddy Hill, who was one of six men wrongly jailed over the bombings, said he was angry but it was "what I expected".

He has set up an online petition calling for an independent inquiry.

He said: "I've said before to the relatives of those who died none of us are never ever going to get justice, it's a big cover-up.

"If we can get 100,000 signatures on the petition then we will be able to get a public inquiry or something. The truth is the very, very least we deserve."

Debris after bomb in Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham The Birmingham Six spent nearly 16 years in jail before their convictions were quashed

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

Weather

Birmingham

8 °C 3 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    10:42: Murder trial Bob Hockenhull Reporter, Midlands Today

    I'm at Wolverhampton Crown Court following the murder trial of two pensioners - Cynthia Beamond, from Halesowen, and Philip Silverstone, of London.

    The accused, Leo Barnes was found dead in his cell on Sunday.

    Proceedings are just about to get under way. The prosecution team has just asked for the jury to be brought in.

     
  2.  
    10:32: Have your say Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

     
  3.  
    10:21: 'Accused was being monitored' Caroline Gall BBC News

    I've just spoken to the Ministry of Justice who have confirmed Leo Barnes was being monitored in his cell at HMP Hewell in Redditch for self-harm.

    Leo Barnes

    The 33-year-old, who denied murder, was found hanged in his cell on Sunday.

     
  4.  
    10:03: Flight returns to airport Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    I've just spoken to Birmingham Airport which confirms a flight leaving the airport this morning heading to New York-Newark at about 09:00 has returned back to the airport.

    The United Airlines flight UA 026 returned to Birmingham at about 09:45. The reason for the return is currently unknown.

    I've put a call into the airline's press office for more details and will bring you information when we have it.

     
  5.  
    10:00: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    In the news at 10:00 on BBC WM: An investigation is underway after a Birmingham man accused of murdering two pensioners has been found dead in his prison cell.

     
  6.  
    09:45: Birmingham's first 'Instameet' via Facebook

    Birmingham Updates posts: Birmingham Instagram exhibition launches following official Instameet success.

    Around 50 intagramers from across the city and beyond gathered at the Library of Birmingham on Saturday (24/01) for Birmingham's first official Instameet. Read more on Storify.

     
  7.  
    09:28: Woman jailed after dogs starved Express and Star

    A pet owner from Halesowen has been jailed for five months after she failed to care for her two starving two dogs - with one dying as a result of her neglect.

    Jodi Russell, from Hillwood Road, was sentenced at Dudley Magistrates Court after magistrate Neville Jinks described the animal cruelty case as 'one of the worst the court had seen'.

     
  8.  
    09:11: Villa 2-1 Bournemouth BBC Sport

    Aston Villa have joined West Bromwich Albion in the last 16 of the FA Cup after a 2-1 home victory yesterday afternoon over Championship leaders Bournemouth.

    Aston Villa's Carles Gil

    Carles Gil's stunning goal helped Aston Villa avoid another FA Cup fourth-round giant-killing.

     
  9.  
    08:56: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    A double murder suspect from Birmingham has been found dead in his prison cell.

    In the news at 09:00 we'll get reaction from Juliet Lyon from the Prison Reform Trust.

     
  10.  
    08:43: Rail problems

    London Midland tweets: Owing to signalling problems between Northfield & Longbridge services are currently having to run at reduced speed.

     
  11.  
    08:32: Delays on the roads BBC Travel
    • One lane is closed on the M42 northbound between junctions 5 and 6 due to a broken down vehicle.
    • The A4123 Birmingham Road is closed in Wolverhampton due to an accident.

    Read about the latest disruptions on BBC Travel.

     
  12.  
    08:17: Murder accused found dead

    A man currently on trial for the murder of two pensioners has been found dead in his prison cell.

    Cynthia Beamond

    Leo Barnes was accused of murdering Cynthia Beamond (pictured), from Halesowen, and Philip Silverstone, of London, on consecutive days in June last year.

    West Midlands Police say the 33-year-old, who denied murder, was found hanged in his cell at HMP Hewell in Redditch yesterday.

     
  13.  
    08:06: Today's forecast Sara Blizzard Weather Presenter, BBC East Midlands Today

    Rain across the region at first will clear quickly this morning. It will then be dry with sunny spells, the best of which will be in the south and east.

    Sara Blizzard

    Cool in a northwesterly breeze with a high of 9C (48F).

     
  14.  
    08:00: Good morning Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    I'm in the BBC Birmingham newsroom bringing you the very latest news, sport, travel and weather for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    If you'd like to get in touch with the BBC Local Live team today - email or tweet @BBCWM.

     

Features

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.