Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham pub bombings victims had 'unsurvivable' injuries

Victims (top row left to right) Neil Marsh (silhouette), Lynn (Lyn) Bennett, Trevor Thrupp, Paul Davies, Michael Beasley, Marilyn Nash and Charles Gray (second row, left to right) Desmond Reilly, Stephen Whalley, Pamela Palmer, Maxine Hambleton, Jane Davis, James Caddick and Thomas Chaytor (third row, left to right) John Clifford Jones, James Craig, Ann Hayes, Stanley Bodman, Maureen Roberts, Eugene Reilly and John Rowlands
Image caption Twenty-one people died when two bombs were detonated in Birmingham in 1974

Victims of the Birmingham pub bombings suffered injuries which they would not have survived even with current advanced medical treatment, jurors at the inquests have heard.

On 21 November 1974, two bombs ripped through the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs, killing 21 people.

The injuries sustained by the victims were described as "unsurvivable".

The IRA is believed to be responsible for the bombings, but no-one has ever taken responsibility.

Jurors at Birmingham Civil Justice Centre heard expert evidence from Home Office pathologist Dr Nat Cary and Professor Jonathan Clasper, clinical lead at the Centre for Blast Injury Studies (CBIS).

Of the 21, 19 of the victims died on the night of the bombings, while Thomas Chaytor died on 27 November 1974 and James Craig on 9 December 1974 following hospital treatment.

Mr Peter Skelton QC, counsel for the coroner, read from a report from a team drawn from the CBIS.

Reading conclusions the team had reached in respect of the 19 who died on the night, in each case Mr Skelton said: "(The) injuries were unsurvivable even with current advanced medical treatment."

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Image caption Ten people died in the first blast at the Mulberry Bush, below the Rotunda building

In the cases of Mr Chaytor and Mr Craig, jurors heard it was "highly likely" they would have died regardless of any different treatment.

Addressing Dr Cary and Professor Clasper, Mr Skelton said: "Can you say with confidence that all of those who died, died from multiple injuries caused by a bomb explosion. That includes those who died following hospital treatment?"

Both men responded to say they agreed.

Who were the Birmingham pub bombings victims?

Jurors also heard of the "prompt" hospital response, with some patients admitted within 30 minutes of the blasts, described by Professor Clasper as a "very good performance".

The inquests continue.

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