Thursday 26 April 2018

Three of the surviving Birmingham pub bombers 'living in Dublin'

Calls for surviving bombers to 'do the right thing and come forward'

Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister was killed in the bombings, speaking after yesterday's ruling in Solihull, West Midlands Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister was killed in the bombings, speaking after yesterday's ruling in Solihull, West Midlands Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Paddy Hill, one of the men wrongly convicted Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
The wreckage of the Mulberry Bush pub Photo: PA Wire

Richard Vernalls

Relatives of those killed in the Birmingham pub bombings have called for the surviving bombers, three of whom are understood to be living in Dublin, to "come forward".

The call comes as a coroner has ordered new inquests into the 21 deaths.

Paddy Hill, one of the men wrongly convicted Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Paddy Hill, one of the men wrongly convicted Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

It is understood three of the pub bombers are now living in the Irish capital. The identities of those responsible are believed to be known to the British security services. 

Asked what message she had for the IRA bombers, Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine was killed in the double bombings, said: "Do the right thing. If you have any level of humanity and any moral compass, then by rights you should come forward."

She was speaking after a coroner ruled yesterday that fresh inquests into the deaths would be held, following a legal bid led by Ms Hambleton and the families of two other victims.

Cowardice

Ms Hambleton has for years led the Justice4the21 campaign, calling for a new investigation into what happened on the night of November 21, 1974.

In an attack widely acknowledged to be the work of the IRA, bombs exploded minutes apart in the Mulberry Bush pub and the nearby underground Tavern in the Town pub.

The wreckage of the Mulberry Bush pub Photo: PA Wire
The wreckage of the Mulberry Bush pub Photo: PA Wire

The Birmingham Six spent 16 years behind bars following their conviction for the attack, but were freed by the Court of Appeal in 1991 after judges ruled that their convictions were unsafe.

One of their number, Paddy Hill, has backed the families' search for the "truth" and was also present at yesterday's ruling in Solihull, West Midlands.

He said the identities of those responsible were known to the British security services.

However, he said he had no faith in the ability of the West Midlands Police to bring them to justice, branding the force "rotten".

The force's chief constable has welcomed the coroner's ruling and said it would work with the coroner.

Meanwhile, Ms Hambleton accused the real perpetrators of cowardice and said it was time they showed the courage of their convictions.

She told reporters: "As far as I'm aware - because they claimed they were soldiers - if they are soldiers, soldiers are disciplined and principled.

"If they are disciplined, they should have stayed where they were and said, 'we did this, and this is why and I'm not ashamed of what I did'. But they didn't.

"They ran away like cowards and have been hiding in full daylight, amongst their fellow citizens in Ireland, apparently with their freedom, while our loved ones are dead and buried."

She added: "We're not going to allow them to die in vain, we're going to fight to find out the truth and bring some level of justice and accountability to light.

"Because what sort of a society are we leaving for future generations, where we allow mass murderers to walk free?"

Ms Hambleton, who welcomed the coroner's decision as "beyond our expectations", urged the British government to give the families legal aid.

Irish Independent

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