IT HAS BEEN 25 years since the Birmingham Six were released from prison.
Hugh Callaghan, Paddy Joe Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker all spent 16 and a half years of their lives in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.
After being taken into custody by the West Midlands Serious Crime squad all of the men were seriously assaulted.
Speaking on RTÉ’s The Ray D’Arcy Show earlier today, Paddy Joe Hill, one of the Birmingham Six, recalled how the first words spoken to him by Detective Sergeant Ray Bennett – a man who would go on to have a major involvement in his case – were:
Soon you little bastard, soon. You’re mine.
Hill then went on to describe to host D’Arcy the treatment that he received while in police custody before facing trial.
Describing the journey from Heysham back to Birmingham, he said that one police officer, Detective Chief Inspector John Moore, put his gun in his mouth during the journey.
“Halfway down the motorway Moore turned round in his seat, and he took his gun out,” said Hill.
He turned around and he said to me, I’ve had enough of you. Either you’re going to make a statement or I’m going to blow your head off.
And he said ‘open your mouth’ and I wouldn’t open it, and he whacked me on top of the head with the barrel of the gun and I went ‘ah!’ and he rammed it into my mouth.
“And then he rattled it around all of my teeth, and that’s why all my teeth are gone. Split all my teeth and knocked some of them out.”
He said that Moore then placed the gun in his mouth twice and against his eye socket, each time pulling the trigger with the gun empty.
Hill then went on to described the trial and their conviction for the murder of 21 people which they didn’t commit.
The exact anniversary of the group’s release will fall on 14 March.