Northern Ireland

Birmingham bombings: Reopening inquest 'first step to truth'

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Media captionPaddy Hill, who was wrongly convicted of the bombings: "We never got justice"

A man wrongly convicted of the Birmingham pub bombings says a decision to reopen inquests into the deaths is a first step to finding the truth.

Paddy Hill was speaking at a press conference.

The Belfast man was convicted along with five other people of the 1974 bombings which killed 21 people. Those convictions were quashed in 1991.

He accused the "judiciary, the government and the Birmingham police" of "a massive cover-up".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ten people were killed inside the Mulberry Bush when a device exploded in a duffle bag

"We never got justice, but I'll tell you one thing that we can get, and that's the one thing we deserve the most, and that's the truth.

"It's not so much me, I know the truth, I want this for the families."

He accused the West Midlands Police of not wanting the inquest to be reopened as "there are too many skeletons in the cupboard".

He alleged police had "advanced warning" of the bombs but "they didn't take any steps to prevent them".

He told journalists he believed he knew who the bombers were.

He added he was sceptical that the full truth of what happened will emerge saying he did not think "the Birmingham police could spell the word truth."

Image copyright Sean Dempsey/PA Wire
Image caption The Birmingham Six after winning their appeal in 1991, with journalist Chris Mullin (centre)

"The cops told us right from the beginning, before they even questioned us, 'we know you didn't do the bombings, we don't get an 'f' who did the bombings, we've got you, that's good enough for us'.

"It keeps the public off our gaffer's back, and our gaffer off ours."

Mr Hill alleges he was shown a written order indicating that police were to get confessions and convictions, using "any means they had to obtain them, and they were not to worry because they were covered all the way to the top."

Mr Hill claims a police officer told him "you have been selected at the highest level of government".

"He told us we were going to be charged, we were going to be convicted, and there was only one decision to be made.

"And that was whether the trial judge gives us a natural life sentence or whether he gives us a life sentence with a 35-40 year recommendation."

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