'Botched IRA warning call' led to Birmingham bomb 'murders'

Birmingham bombings 1974 IRA

Family members of the victims welcomed the jury's decision.

Friday, April 5, 2019

A botched IRA warning call led to the unlawful deaths of 21 people in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, an inquest jury has found.

Two massive detonations ripped apart the packed Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs on the night of November 21, killing 21 and injuring 220 more in what witnesses described as "pure carnage".

The 11-member panel unanimously concluded an inadequate warning call by the Provisional IRA, which carried out the attacks, cost the stretched police vital minutes.

The six female and five male jurors also determined the victims were unlawfully killed.

They also found there was "not sufficient evidence" of any failings, errors or omissions by West Midlands Police's response to the bomb warning call, or in regards two alleged tip-offs to the force, giving advanced warning of the blasts.

Qualifying the jury findings in relation to the police's response, the panel's foreman told the court: "The decision was based on the balance of the evidence provided."

The inquests, at the civil courts building in Birmingham, came about after years of campaigning by relatives of the dead for a full account into what happened that night.

The pub bombings were the deadliest post-Second World War attack on the British mainland, until the 7/7 London terrorist attacks in 2005.

A botched investigation by West Midlands Police led to the 1975 convictions of the Birmingham Six, but their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1991.

Julie Hambleton, who lost her older sister in the bombings, said before the hearings that bereaved families wanted "truth, justice and accountability".

Leslie Thomas QC, representing 10 of the bereaved families, added thanks on their behalf to those who helped on the night of the attacks.

He added: "We just hope, in light of the jury's unequivocal finding that the IRA murdered 21 innocent people, that the West Midlands Police will now redouble their efforts in terms of those bombers who may still be alive to bring them to justice."

 

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