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UK court rules Birmingham bombing inquest should be broadened

21 people lost their lives in the bombing of two pubs in the attack on 21 November 1974.

Mulberry Bush The ruins of the Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham the day after the bombings, 22 November 1974 Source: PA Archives/PA Images

A COURT IN England has found that the scope of the upcoming inquest into the deaths of the Birmingham bombings in November 1974 should be broadened.

21 people lost their lives in the bombing of two pubs in the English midlands city on 21 November 1974.

The case was brought forward by 10 families of the victims and they campaigned successfully to have an inquest into their deaths.

RTÉ is reporting that the coroner leading the fresh inquest had ruled he will not deal with the issue of who the bombing was carried out by – a key aspect that the families want to be addressed.

In Birmingham today, Justice Carr said she would quash that decision and remit the case in order for the coroner to reconsider his decision, according to ITV.

Following the bombing, six Irish men, thereafter dubbed the Birmingham Six, spent 16 years in prison for the crime before being cleared of all wrongdoing in connection with it.

The men subsequently claimed that police had coerced them into signing confessions using physical and psychological torture.

The victims were killed when two bombs were detonated in two pubs, the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town, on 21 November 1974. A third bomb was found later that night but it failed to detonate.

Family reaction

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was among the 21 victims, said she hopes that the coroner changes his decision on the scope so that it no longer excludes “the bomb makers and their associates from being mentioned in any way at the forthcoming inquest”.

She said that she spoke with the coroner last year and begged him to have them included because “if it wasn’t for the murderers our loved ones wouldn’t be dead”.

Birmingham pub bombings inquest Julie Hambleton Source: Yui Mok via PA Images

If the “perpetrators” are not mentioned in an inquest, Hambleton said she sees it as a waste of taxpayers’ money and that will not provide the truth.

She also criticised the British government for the lack of work it has done into the case.

“There are laws in place but no one in government appears to have the backbone to enforce the laws they implement,” she said.

Although the IRA never claimed responsibility for the attack, they are widely believed to have planted the bombs.

Read: Birmingham bombing families to ask UK Home Secretary for inquest money

More: ‘Putting jam on the cake’: Authorities knew Birmingham Six evidence ‘enhanced’ years before release

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