Today, Mrs Louise Hunt, the Senior Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, will decide whether the Inquests into the deaths of the 21 people who died in the 1974 double bombing, including 2 brothers and 2 fathers who would never see their not-yet-born sons, will be reopened. The Coroner has, in recent months, heard representations from the families who lost loved-ones and formed the the Justice 4 the 21Campaign requesting this in the interests of justice and transparency. Interestingly, West Midlands Police questioned the Coroner’s authority to re-open the Inquests and in recent months rumours have emerged alleging that the Police were ‘tipped-off’ some two weeks before the bombings …
In this video Julie Hambleton talks movingly about her sister Maxine who died in the bombings, and the importance of the Inquests:
The IRA was believed to have carried out the bombings, although responsibility has never been claimed. West Midlands Police said the investigation remains open but there is not enough evidence for a prosecution.
Since 1991 the families have campaigned for the inquests to be reopened. I find it inconceivable that they haven’t been as yet and hope that today Mrs Hunt, the Senior Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull and former nurse, and who sees herself as ‘a voice for the deceased’, will agree to the families requests.
Update: Inquests to be reopened
Inquests into deaths of 21 people in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings are to be reopened, the Coroner has ruled. Coroner Louise Hunt said there had been a ‘wealth of evidence that still has not been heard’ about the atrocities.
She said ‘significant’ new information had come to light about the blasts at the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs. The coroner also stated there were two occasions where evidence supported claims the state had advance warnings of the attacks. Outside Solihull Council House, Julie Hambleton again spoke on behalf of the families of the deceased and responded to questions from the media. It was a privilege to hear this brave and courageous woman describe a search for ‘fundamental’ truth and justice plus the hope that accountability will follow from those responsible.
The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police has issued a statement welcoming the reopening of the inquests.
2017 – Funding for families legal team now agreed
Some of the families have instructed Northern Ireland based solicitors KRW LAW LLP to prepare their representations to the inquest. Initially the firm worked on a pro bono basis but funding will be required to instruct barristers for the inquest. There was difficulty as to whether the families were eligible for legal aid and no way had been found to meet the criteria until the passing of an amendment to the Civil Legal Aid Procedures Regulations.